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The HP Wave is a living room PC built for killer sound

The 360-degree up-firing speaker is similar to the one in Amazon's Echo, but with an entire Windows desktop attached.

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Dan Ackerman
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Dan Ackerman

Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming

Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a semi-regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times

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When we call something a living room PC, we generally mean it's smaller than a standard tower desktop, somehow designed to fit into typical living room or entertainment center decor, and it has some special features that make it especially useful for multimedia tasks.

The new HP Pavilion Wave is a compact triangular PC, covered in a grey woven fabric. It reminds me more of a bookshelf speaker than a computer. The look just modern enough to fit in anywhere, and its speaker-like design conveys its abilities.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

While this is a standard Windows 10 desktop in many ways, it's almost more of an audio device than a computer. Like the Amazon Echo, which it vaguely resembles, the central mass is largely taken up with a single top-firing speaker, designed for 360-degree sound. A parabolic reflector on the very top pushes the sound out, and while it won't replace a big pair of powered bookshelf speakers or your home entertainment surround-sound system, it's pretty hefty sounding for a small-form-factor desktop, especially as most desktops don't have built-in speakers at all.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Inside, you'll find current-gen Intel Core i-series processors, up to 2TB of storage, and even optional AMD graphics for video editing and maybe a little light gaming, plus HP says it'll drive two 4K monitors at once.

Worldwide pricing and availability has not been announced yet, but the HP Pavilion Wave starts at $529 in the US, and will be available starting September 23.