Omen X desktop review: Supercharged computing but at a price
HP’s Omen X desktop computer makes me not want to play games on a console or even my current desktop PC ever again – it’s that powerful and that beastly.
Actually, the Omen X is a beast, both in respect to the hardware inside and the sheer size and weight of the thing. Seriously, this thing is a monster so make sure you have the room for it.
The review unit came running an Intel Core i7-6700 CPU [@4Ghz], 32Gb of memory, and – get this – two (yes, two) nVidia GTX1080 GPUs. That’s a helluva lot of computing power, especially when placed alongside my home PC, which is running an Intel i7, 8Gb of memory and a many generations old GTX660Ti.
Design & features
The Omen X’s cube shape isn’t going to endear itself to everyone with the way it looks but it’s nice to see a PC manufacturer looking outside the square (excuse the pun) when it comes to case design.
As the image shows, the Omen doesn’t sit on a side but is tilted on an angle thanks to a build-in stand at the bottom.
Once I’d found the right spot for the Omen [on the floor, next to my day-to-day PC], it didn’t look too out-of-place in the lounge were my normal PC lives and blended in with its surroundings, at least until I turned on the in-built LED zone lighting that illuminates it with a variety of colours, that is – then it became a visual focal point.
The lighting is controlled by a desktop app and you can have all four front panels shining the same colour or have a different colour for each one. It’s a nice touch, even if the app is a little finicky when you try to fine tune the colours using a wheel interface.
HP has thought about all the heat such a monster PC will generate as well and thermal management includes a tri-chamber design to separate components and optimise thermals with dedicated cooling in each chamber. The Omen X also includes support for up to three 120mm liquid cooling radiators with top mounted exhaust vents.
The way the Omen X sits on its stand also helps with airflow, meaning your gaming beast will stay [relatively] cool when the frame rates are ramping up.
A monster PC needs monster testing, so I found the most graphically demanding game I had to thrown at it. So, I tested the Omen XP on games Titanfall 2 (EA), Battlefield 1 (EA), the new Tomb Raider and Gears of War 4, and benchmarked it using 3D Mark’s Timespy and Firestrike tests and UniEngine’s Heaven and Valley bench marking tools. All games were tested at a resolution of 1080p as that’s the maximum my LG IPA monitor can handle.
With Timespy, the Omen XP returned a score of 87.65 frames per second on the first graphics test and 77.63 on the second graphics test. The lowest frame rates it reached was 16.42. Firestrike returned a graphics score of 36, 949 and a physics score of 12, 033.
In UniEngine’s Valley benchmark, the Omen XP returned a score of 5222, with maximum FPS of 183.3, average FPS of 124.8 and a minimum FPS of 38.7. All tests were done in Direct X 12 unless that wasn’t available, where DirectX 11 was used..
In terms of games, the Omen XP was able to comfortable handle perhaps one of last year’s most graphically demanding PC games, EA’s Battlefield 1 with aplomb, running the game at its Ultra presets in DirectX12 without skipping a beat. I guess with two GTX1080s it should be able to do that without running up a sweat.
Top be honest, the Omen handled Gears of War 4, Tomb Raider and Titanfall 2 all with the graphics settings at the highest possible, making for some stunning visuals, something my GTX660Ti can’t come close to.
I loved the Omen X: It’s a beast of a gaming PC that in the review configuration will have no trouble playing any current or future game at its highest graphical settings. I like that HP has taken a risk with its design, too.
That power comes at a price, though.
The Omen X retails in NZ for $5999 [Noel Leeming currently has the single GTX1080 Omen X 900-070a for under $5000], but the review unit – which isn’t available in NZ with the configuration it came in – would set you back $6999 [if you could get it here, of course].
Yes, the Omen X was blazingly fast and I loved playing games on it – and it was sad going back to my usual desktop with its ages old GPU – but maybe I’m out of touch with how much a top-end PC costs [because I’m old?] but personally, $7000 is a crazy money to me to pay for a computer. If you shopped around for components, chances are you could build a comparable PC for a much, much less.
That said, I doubt HP are targeting the PC building crowd: It’s targeting gamers who want a blazingly fast gaming PC with top-end components, that looks a little different and is prepared to pay for it. I’d happily replacing my current PC with the Omen X but in the harsh reality of the real-world, my budget doesn’t stretch to it, sadly [I’d have to do a lot around the house and buy a few bunches of flowers to score enough brownie points with my wife to even pluck up the courage to ask if I could buy one!]
It’s clear that HP’s Omen X isn’t aimed at everyone but for those with the money, the Omen X is a fantastic option in terms of computing power and interesting design.