As part of its push into the gaming hardware market, HP unveiled a number of redesigned and revamped gaming laptops and desktops on Tuesday — and one of them can be strapped to your back. No, it is not just a laptop in a backpack. It’s the Omen X Compact Desktop, a gaming system designed for a new type of portability.
Don’t be put off by the Omen X Compact Desktop’s unusual design. It looks that way because it is only a desktop part of the time, the Omen X Compact Desktop is actually designed to be worn on your back to provide a truly seamless (and cordless) VR experience.
Even though VR backpack PCs are still relatively new, HP saw a flaw which would likely prevent most users from even considering one as a viable option. Most of them are backpacks first, PCs second. In order to provide a versatile gaming experience, HP built a compact PC that can be removed from its backpack housing and put into a dock, where it becomes a normal gaming PC.
Do not be fooled by its small form factor and exotic build, as this thing houses some seriously powerful hardware. Featuring a factory overclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card and unlocked Intel Core processor, this portable VR machine can drive high-end VR games whether it’s docked or strapped to your back.
The backpack attachment is sold separately for $500, but it comes with two pairs of batteries and so two can be in use while the other two are charging. It’s also possible to replace the batteries without removing the backpack. This smart feature means longer VR play sessions and is sorely needed, as many VR backpack rigs struggle to last an hour.
The new Omen by HP laptop line was redesigned from the ground up with competitive gamers in mind. Both the 15-inch and 17-inch models feature a high degree of versatility and customization options.
Starting with the processor, both models feature the latest seventh-generation Intel Core processors, and they can both be outfitted with either Radeon or Nvidia discrete graphics. Specifically, the 15-inch Omen laptop can be outfitted with AMD Radeon RX 550 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics cards. While the 17-inch model can be specced out with AMD Radeon RX 580 or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards.
Even their displays can be customized, both models feature optional 4K displays with a typical 60Hz refresh rate, or for that lightning-quick-butter-smooth gaming experience, both notebooks can also be kitted out with 1080p displays capable of hitting 120Hz — plus support for Nvidia G-Sync. FreeSync is also available but only on the 60Hz 1080p display option.
In addition to building for versatility, HP also built with the future in mind. The Omen by HP laptops all feature a single back panel which can be easily removed, providing access to the hard drive bay and RAM slots, to facilitate hassle-free user upgrades.
HP’s Omen desktop line also received quite a bit of an upgrade. The latest will feature high-performance graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, from single-card entry-level machines all the way up to big dual-GPU behemoths. That is right, the Omen desktop can be outfitted with dual-GPU setups using pairs of Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards, or AMD Radeon RX 580 graphics cards.
In order to provide users with ample choice, HP will also allow users to choose between Intel and AMD processors — with support for unlocked and overclockable options on both sides. Both Intel Core i5 and i7 processors will be available in unlocked, over-clock ready configurations, right along with AMD’s latest overclockable Ryzen processors.
That is not all, as HP also radically redesigned the Omen desktop case. Built with gaming performance in mind, the new Omen case offers a completely custom build with optimized thermal engineering, and all-around edge vents to dissipate heat evenly.
The Omen by HP desktops start at $900 and starts shipping now. It is also worth mentioning that these are the desktops to be used at the Overwatch World Cup this summer. As Blizzard Entertainment’s official PC partner, HP’s hardware will be driving the world’s best Overwatch esports athletes.
Update: Added order information for Omen X VR backpack attachment.