But the real surprise comes with the revolutionary re-think of its design, with the growing OMEN family getting a top-to-bottom revamp.
“The gaming industry has evolved and its users have grown a sensitivity to not only to performance and design, but to the total experience of their device,” said James Cha, industrial designer, consumer notebook and desktops at HP. “They want to look at it as a trophy piece when it’s sitting on their desk.”
HP had leveraged existing computers and outfitted them with gaming-ready parts on past iterations. But it’s changed tack to focus exclusively on the needs of gamers, with inspiring design and functional features that set the newest OMEN products apart.
The reinvented OMEN lineup not only brings best-in-class performance to casual, eSports, VR and immersive gaming experiences, they feature improved thermals, distinguished industrial design and user-friendly innovations.
“You really have got to listen to gamers when designing products for them,” Cha said. “They are sophisticated consumers who look at how the product is built, the story behind it, and how it meets their preferences for everyday use.”
Top priority for HP was designing for OMEN devices that not only looked cool, but run cool.
"Instead of taking an existing chassis and building around its constraints, we started with the thermals and built a chassis to house them,” said John Ludwig, gaming and VR product manager at HP. “By redesigning the layout of the machine, we can greatly increase the airflow, which has a big impact on performance.”
Take, for example the OMEN by HP Desktop, which features fighter jet-like notched corners that give it an angular, forward-leaning look. Not only does it have a different profile than other gaming towers, those angular chevron cutouts enable more air intake and improve ventilation.
“The goal was for this thing to run nearly-silent and much quieter than our competitors,” he said. “Gamers want to push the limits on their GPU and CPU without the fans running loud.”
The desktop also has a number of other thoughtful features, including a carrying handle that’s designed to let gamers tote their rigs to friends’ houses for competitions and also a cleverly angled set of hidden double doors for easy access to the hard drives.
Thermals also figure into the recently unveiled consumer version of HP’s virtual reality backpack, the OMEN X Compact Desktop, which until now has been marketed as a backpack and only been available in a developer kit.
It puts a gaming PC on the user’s back and pairs with a VR headset, offering enthusiasts an untethered, more immersive experience by enabling the player free movement away from the snaking cables of a hefty gaming rig or TV.
HP took feedback from users and reduced the pack’s weight and redesigned the straps to be more ergonomic. The newer design maintains airflow between the device and the user’s back to prevent the wearer from getting too warm.
HP also boosted its performance with an Intel Core i7 processor and added a small form-factor docking solution for customers that wanted to use the VR pack as their main PC. The VR pack pairs with an HTC Vive headset and also the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset, which is sold as a developer’s kit.
New to the lineup is an external GPU dock, OMEN by HP Accelerator, which zeroes in on PC gaming via Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. The accelerator is paired with a (non-gaming) notebook PC for ultimate versatility. It can also accommodate nearly all of the graphics cards on the market today and pairs with any HP laptop or other Thunderbolt 3-certified notebook.
“You get the best of both worlds: An amazingly mobile notebook for everyday tasks, and high-end graphics processing power to play games when you dock,” Ludwig said.
For the revamped OMEN devices, it was important that smallest details weren’t overlooked.
“We wanted to make sure every, single part you see is a curated experience,” Cha said. “All of the internal components, even down to the littlest sockets, are accounted for in terms of. Gamers appreciate that they are buying a machine where everything inside is built for them.”
For a full rundown of all things OMEN by HP, visit hp.com.