It's big. It's powerful. It's cube-shaped.
The Omen X ($1,200 at Amazon) desktop from HP is one of the boldest PC designs of the year, taking what could have been a cool but not exactly groundbreaking cube shape and standing it on one edge for a sharp, angular look.
The first thing everyone does when they see the Omen X is reach out and ever so gently give it a shake. Even though it looks precariously perched on a single edge, the stand is actually rock solid, and there's zero danger of it tipping over.
Why is this desktop balanced on one edge? It's actually a pretty brilliant idea that makes it very easy to access the ports, the drive bays, and even the interior of the system. With standard desktops, you usually have to (carefully) lie them down on their side, or else crawl up next to them on the floor. That makes removing the side panel difficult to start with, and also makes working inside the case, swapping out hard drives and graphics cards, a hassle.
In the Omen X, you just pop off the side cover, and everything's already at an ergonomic 45-degree angle and easy to reach. It's easiest on a desk or table, but works fine on the floor as well.
Three ways to get into the Omen
The configuration reviewed here is a pretty basic build, with an Nvidia 1080 card, an Intel Core i7 CPU and a 256GB SSD and 2TB HDD storage combo. It runs $2,499 on HP's website right now, a similar configuration sells for £2,499 or AU$4,499 in Australia. And it comes with a handful of CPU, GPU and storage options.
But, that's not the only way to get the Omen X experience. As the big, airy case is sure to appeal to DIY-style system builders, HP offers the case itself, minus any components, for $599 or £549. It's not currently available in Australia, but that price converts to about AU$800. To address the elephant in the room right away: That's an insane price for a PC case, even one as nice-looking and feature-filled as the Omen X. It's hard to imagine spending more than $200 on an empty case, even at the high end.
If you want something really high-end with speciality components, extreme overclocking and a custom paint job, HP is going to kick you over to a well-respected gaming PC custom builder named Maingear. They'll take the basic Omen X case and build you the very expensive gaming desktop of your dreams, starting at $2,999 -- that's about £2,365 or AU$4,025.
HP Omen X
|Price as reviewed||$2,499|
|PC CPU||4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K|
|PC Memory||16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080|
|Storage||256GB SSD + 2TB HDD|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.?|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Enter the cube
There's plenty of room for two graphics cards and even liquid cooling in the main compartment, and that's because this cube is cut into separate quadrants. The power supply is tucked away in its own zone, and all the hard drives are in a separate zone -- makes cooling and cable management much easier.