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HP Omen 870-260In Desktop PC Detailed Review

Earlier this year, HP announced its new line of gaming hardware under the Omen sub-brand. The company also showed accessories – a monitor and the HP Omen desktop. I was there at the event and if you go through my . is going first impression, you would know I was a little skeptical about the higher price tag of the Omen desktop. In the months since, neither the price tag nor my thoughts on the machine have changed. That said, price has never been a limiting factor in the gaming world. What PC gamers are interested in is the performance numbers and whether it can run our favorite game titles, because that’s what it’s all about in the end. To start with, the specs look promising, but there are still a few questions that I think need to be answered.

Specifications of our test unit
Processor: Intel i7-7700K
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB)
Storage: 128GB SSD + 2TB HDD
power supply: 420W
Weight: 10.52 Kg
Warranty: 3 years

Design and construction: stylish
The first thing that came to mind when I saw the machine was whether this is a serious gaming machine or just another HP workstation with gaming specs and RGB lighting. I mean, the usual red and black gaming colors are missing and there are no angular sides. It even lacks an insanely edgy design. Still, the HP Omen desktop looks cool in its own understated way. It’s a tad smaller than a normal mid-tower case and is comparable to the NZXT S340 case in size. The front panel has a brushed aluminum finish with built-in RGB inlays. The sides of the front panel also feature RGB lighting under the unobtrusive gill-shaped design. The case has all of its I/O ports in a recessed area on the top, which reminds me of the Cooler Master Centurion 690 II case I used to have. Similarities aside, this is a good looking mid-tower.

Going to the side panel, I think HP should have gone with a clear side window just to make the whole case look cooler. To put things in perspective, my three-year-old ‘underpowered’ PC tower looks a lot more interesting from the side profile. When I take a closer look at the HP Omen, I’m glad the company didn’t. The reason behind this is that HP uses custom parts for this desktop, rather than sourcing it from various third-party suppliers. For example, the 3GB variant of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 offers serious performance, but doesn’t look as good as the regular card. You can see this in the image below.

HP Omen with side panel off

My 3 year old PC

In addition, HP is also missing the ongoing trend of making the desktop smaller, or if you prefer, console-like. Compared to the Asus ROG G20CB which I reviewed late last year, this feels kinda bland and almost twice the size.

I/O: Good enough

On the front, or rather on the top, it has two USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one of which supports faster charging. Then there’s a combination of a microphone/headphone jack and an SD card slot.

On the back you have the standard line-in, line-out, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet connection. I’d say a machine this big and powerful should have had 4 USB 3.0 ports in addition to a USB 3.1 Type-C port, but with a preconfigured desktop there is always going to be a trade-off. However, all of the rear I/O is located in the bottom half, reducing the clutter behind your desk.

Performance: Good for 1080p gaming and then some
The HP Omen Desktop brings a very powerful Intel Core i7-7700K to the table, which in this particular case is water cooled by an unknown single 120M radiator. This means gamers can overclock their chips right out of the box, without even calculating the load and heat dissipation ratios. Although, if you do this, I would still ask you to do it carefully. The Z170 motherboard HP uses on this machine is a standard microATX laid upside down to bring the I/O at the bottom and leave the 420W power at the top.

You get 16 GB of DDR4 RAM in the machine. I think the motherboard would support up to 64 GB of RAM. The heart of this gaming PC is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, which in its stripped-down (stock) 3GB version looks pedestrian, but performs well. Plus, looking at the chassis, it looks like you can upgrade to a better GPU later if needed.

I hooked up this whole setup to our Asus fixed 2K display and the PC gobbled up almost every game I threw into it with ease. I’ve seen some demanding games drop below 60fps when playing in 2K, but drop the resolution to 1080p and you’ll have a grin on your face. Here’s how the HP Omen desktop performed during our gaming sessions.

This brings us to cooling and like the pricing, I was a bit skeptical here too, because in addition to the main components including the CPU, GPU and the PSU, which have their own cooling, the rest of the case is passively cooled. This doesn’t seem to be a problem, as the temperatures on the storage drives never went above 45 degrees Celsius, even under load. The Intel Core i7 usually also maintains temperatures below 60 degrees in heavy gaming. However, the GPU quickly hits 70 degrees and goes further, up to 100 degrees Celsius under heavy load. Because of this I didn’t see any lag in games, but in a few games an occasional frame drop was observed.

Extras: keyboard and mouse

With the HP Omen desktop, HP will also add their Steelseries keyboard and mouse combo, which isn’t bad. The keyboard here is the standard Steelseries Apex 350 with the Omen badge and the mouse is the Rival 300. The Rival 300 is one of my favorite mice. Although I personally would have preferred a mechanical keyboard over the membrane-based Apex 350.

Who should buy it?

With all its pros and cons, the HP Omen makes a case for itself in terms of performance. That said, I still believe you can make a better looking gaming desktop. Yes, you don’t get a housing with built-in RGB strips and a dedicated SD card slot, but that’s the compromise you should make.

The larger form factor is also one thing that pinches me, as HP uses a MicroATX motherboard. HP could have made the whole case smaller. On the plus side, the CPU, GPU, RAM, and storage are user-replaceable, which is a big plus for PC gamers.

Then you come to ease of use. I think this will appeal to a certain group of people who want to invest in a 1080p gaming PC and don’t want to bother making one. HP provides a three-year warranty on the machine, which is appreciated.

Overall, the HP Omen desktop is a good alternative to a regular gaming desktop. It’s a bit overpriced considering the hardware. You get plenty of performance, a housing with RGB studs and peace of mind for at least 3 years.


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