Ryzen hits the pre-made market.
HP is best known for its reliable range of office and productivity PCs. It’s lesser known for is its gaming range, but over the last few years the company has really been pushing to get into the gaming market. The Omen desktop we’re reviewing here is the latest example, and best of all, it’s the first pre-made Ryzen system to cross our test bench. It’s also chock full of other high-end components, but it certainly comes at a cost, four grand to be precise.
Unlike HP’s usual subtle and simple cases, the Omen Desktop is obviously a gaming machine from the first time you see it. The sharp angular lines are accented by glowing red LEDs and a huge glowing Omen icon on the front, all in the colour red. While the sides are made from streel, the top and front are both plastic, necessary to get the intricate detailing of the design. The ultra-slim optical DVDRW drive is cleverly hidden behind a panel that is basically invisible, while the left panel has a Perspex window to show off the hardware within, with a subtle red light highlighting the AIO water cooling. Connectivity on the front I/O panel is excellent, with twin USB 3.0 Type A, plus another two USB 3.0 Type C inputs. There’s also the usual microphone in and audio out, as well as a 7-in-1 card reader. At the rear I/O panel is another four USB 3.0 Type A, twin USB 2.0, HDMI out and VGA out. Obviously the graphics card also has its own outputs, with triple DP 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b and DVI-I out.
It’s what’s inside the box that really shines though. As mentioned, it’s fantastic to see the likes of HP offering an AMD powered machine, and this box comes with the eight cored Ryzen 7 1800X. With a base speed of 3.6GHz and boost speed of 4GHz, this monster of a chip is fantastic for content creators and those who run multithreaded software. While our earlier reviews have shown it’s still not quite as good as the i7-7700K, the increased adoption of DX12 should see all those extra cores put to work, and the fact they use SMT to offer two threads per core means this machine can handle 16 threads at once. The CPU is cooled by an AIO water cooler, and remained whisper quiet throughout all of our tests.
We’re not sure who has provided the motherboard, and there’s also no obvious way to access the BIOS. When we were trying to enter the BIOS, we were prompted to enter a password, but we weren’t supplied with one with the review unit. It’s pretty obvious HP doesn’t want buyers messing around with overclocking via the BIOS, instead relying upon AMD’s software. We do know it uses the B350 chipset, which is hardly the performance version of that series. Given the price, HP should have gone for a top of the line X370 chipset based motherboard though.
Quad memory support is included, but only two 8GB modules are installed, running at DDR4-2400MHz. There’s plenty of long term storage included, with Samsung 256GB SSD and a 2TB Seagate mechanical hard drive. The final piece of the puzzle is the GeForce GTX 1080 8GB graphics card, which provides plenty of grunt. As you can see from our benchmarks, the performance was admirable, though 4K is definitely not a reality with this machine.
At this price, it’s be easy to build a comparable system for a grand less, but the Omen desktop is aimed at those who don’t want to fuss around with building or finding faults. These customers are happy to pay extra for a machine that they simply unpack, plug in, and it works. And if something goes wrong, HP will be there to fix it in a flash. It’s great to see the likes of HP supporting AMD, and the overall mix of components is perfect. Welcome back to the desktop AMD, and thanks to AMD for helping make it so.