Last week, HP took the wraps off its complete overhaul of the Omen brand of gaming PCs and peripherals. HP’s Omen brand comes from the heritage of the company’s acquisition of Voodoo PC back in 2007. Voodoo’s own line of PCs were called many things, but HP borrowed some of Voodoo’s naming schemes to name some of its products. Those include Omen, which was the highest-end PC Voodoo ever created. Additionally, the old Omen logo was a nod to Voodoo’s old Tribal Mask logo, which has now been replaced with a newer logo. Let’s take a look at the rebranding.
Design and improvements
The new Omen brand and design language leans heavily into a cleaner look with lots of sharp corners—both on the design of the new desktop towers and on the diamond-shaped Omen logo itself. Speaking of the new design, HP has two different gaming desktop models based on the volume of the tower itself: the Omen 25L and Omen 30L. The 30L has a volume of 30 Liters, which makes it the bigger of the two cases. HP added taller feet to the new Omen desktops as well, which gives the computer more room to take in fresh, cool air. As far as improvements go, HP also moved the location of the GPU from the second PCIe x16 slot to the first,, in order to improve airflow to the GPU and space it further from the PSU. Frankly, I never understood why anyone would do this as I’ve been installing GPUs in my own systems in the first PCIe x16 slot since PCIe started being used for GPUs.
HP also utilized industry standard components in the new Omen PCs, even partnering with industry leaders Kingston, Western Digital and Cooler Master to supply components. This means that HP Omen desktops, specifically the 25L and 30L, are highly upgradeable and do not have many if any proprietary components that cannot be sourced elsewhere. This is a very welcome change from HP—one of my biggest gripes about pre-built systems in the past was that they did not use off-the-shelf components. This made servicing and upgrading them very difficult. HP also added a 120mm Cooler Master intake fan for the 30L, which has its own compartment. This complements the 92mm air cooler for the CPU. You can spring for an optional 120mm Cooler Master liquid cooler for even better cooling performance.
Highly customizable specs
As far as gaming components go, HP is offering the best of the best. Moreover, it is giving gamers the most customizability the company has ever offered. This could potentially create some issues with scale for HP, but I’m sure the company has thought of that. Also, having off-the-shelf components helps alleviate those concerns. I really like that HP is offering both AMD and Intel CPUs, as well as NVIDIA and AMD GPUs. I think this is the right approach for HP—there are a lot of people out there that want to configure a PC without being told what they can and can’t use. Offering all of the competitive solutions available in the market also increases the possibility that someone will look at HP’s systems over competitors’ less flexible options.
Between the Intel’s Core-i9 10900K and AMD’s R9 3900X, I believe that HP hit the right max spec for a gaming system (though I’m not quite sure why it wouldn’t offer AMD’s 3950X as well, it has been out for 6 months now). In addition to the variation on CPU, HP also offers differentiation on the systems’ GPUs, with a choice between NVIDIA GTX/RTX (up to the RTX 2080 Ti) and AMD’s Radeon 5700XT (which is AMD’s fastest GPU, for now). At the time of writing, only the AMD-based CPU systems are available for sale on HP’s website, which is likely due to the fact that Intel’s CPUs are so new that they’re not ready for sale yet for OEMs like HP.
HP offers Kingston HyperX memory for all its new Omen Desktops, up to 64GB. However, I have a bit of a problem with HP’s choice of default configuration—it’s offering an 8GB RAM option to start with a single 8GB stick. It costs an additional $150 to upgrade to 16GB (2x8GB) and then an another $350 to go from 8GB to 32GB (2x 16GB). This would be less egregious if Kingston’s 3200 MHz 32GB kit of RAM did not retail for $180 on Newegg.com. I personally believe that most gamers should be building their desktops with 32GB of RAM, especially when you consider the retail price of DRAM right now. It makes little sense to me for HP to offer such inflated prices when a consumer could go and buy the base configuration and upgrade the memory for themselves for much less. This is not even taking into consideration the max 64GB spec, which is not yet listed on HP’s site.
In addition to RAM, HP also offers WD’s M.2 PCIe SSDs, the WD Black series, as the Omen Desktop storage solution. The base storage configuration is 256GB for the 30L and can be upgraded to 1TB (though HP states it will offer up to 2TB soon, as that’s the maximum capacity of WD’s current M.2 SSDs). The Omen 25L desktop starts at $899 while the Omen 30L starts at $1199. These are pretty reasonable prices, especially considering the base specification and how much most upgrades cost.
I am genuinely impressed with what I’m seeing from HP in the new Omen line of desktops. The new diamond Omen logo and branding are extraordinarily strong and still uniquely identifiable from the competition. The diamond preserves the shape of the old logo, while making it seem cleaner and more refined—the theme of the whole system. I think HP really took a long hard look at the company’s previous systems and designs and made some serious, welcome changes across the board. The systems look better aesthetically and are more customizable and user-upgradeable—all while still delivering exceptional value, if you ignore the RAM upgrades. HP’s new Omen 25L and 30L gaming desktops both look and perform how one would expect from a world leader in PCs. I think HP is really starting to get what gamers want from a gaming desktop PC, and the new Omen desktop PCs really look the part.