Not a bad Omen

This dedicated gaming PC has a lot to offer, but without ultra-HD resolution capability it's a bit of an also ran

In a world where even laptop computers are coming out of the box with 4K capabilities, I found it a little discouraging that the HP Omen Desktop 880 couldn't support ultra-HD resolutions (we received the 021d model for review). Don't get me wrong: it's certainly as powerful as you'd expect from a dedicated gaming PC, capable of running even graphically-intense games like Total War or GTA V at maximum settings without so much as a stutter. It also comes in a sleek, sci-fi-esque chassis that is actually more practical than it looks, one that houses an impressive AMD Ryzen7 1800x processor and 16GB of RAM.

However, with a price as high as 65,000 baht, it is steep, considering you can get a custom-built, 4K-ready desktop with a new-gen Nvidia graphics card for less than 50,000 baht (though of course HP is HP). Let's take a look at the bells and whistles the Omen 880 has.

Design

Aside from the obnoxious glaring Omen logo on the front, the 880 is probably one of the more attractive gaming desktops I've seen. There are certainly still some noticeable futuristic features thrown in, characteristic of gaming computers, with the exaggerated LEDs and angular profile, but the overall aesthetic is not quite as egregious as other dedicated-gaming computers. The chassis is mostly made of flat, matte-black panels, with a red LED light shining from the inside when turned on. You can also look into the workings of the computer from one of the side panels. You'll definitely want to place it under a desk, or somewhere the red LED won't stab into your eyes every time you turn it on.

On the angular front face of the Omen 880, you'll find an LED-lit Omen logo, a concealed CD drive on the top corner and two inward-blowing fans that suck cool air into the machine. Towards the top, you'll find the standard line of USB (2.0 and Type-C) and audio ports, as well as a hatch that allows you to easily remove and replace the device's hard drives. By flicking a nub on the back, you'll also be able to remove the device's side panel, likewise giving you access to the computer's components without the need for any tools. This makes the Omen 880 incredibly easy to upgrade and maintain, which should be very helpful for those who like to upgrade their hardware regularly.

The Omen 880, being a HP product, also has a couple of DisplayPort ports, for use with the monitors in the Omen line (which HP also kindly provided us). There is also an HDMI port, though I curiously could not get that to work with the Omen monitor I received. The unit I received also did not have any legacy ports for older monitors, which may also be something to keep in mind before you buy the desktop.

Function

As is to be expected, the Omen is capable of running most modern games at optimal settings while still maintaining consistently steady performance. Most games I tested achieved steady frame-rates of well over 60fps (the ideal frame-rate for games) at high-to-maximum settings. Especially when coupled with the chassis' highly customisable design, the Omen 880 will definitely be your go-to gaming machine for the foreseeable future if you decide to get one of your own.

The device is also surprisingly cool (at least for a gaming machine), sitting at an average temperature of about 80C when gaming. Most gaming machines regularly touch temperatures of over 90C, so this is definitely a plus for the Omen 880. The desktop's two 120mm fans work with the numerous vents placed around the desktop, allowing cool air to be pulled in and the hot air to be pushed out. They're also surprisingly quiet, which is doubly impressive. HP has also designed the inside of the desktop to support optional liquid cooling, which should become necessary as you replace the components with increasingly powerful and heat-emitting upgrades.

Speaking of upgrades, I feel like the lack of 4K support is something that deserves to be mentioned. While HP does offer the option to upgrade to 4K-capable specs, the price increase brings the cost of the Omen 880 to almost 90,000 baht, which is higher than the 4K-capable Omen 17 laptop I reviewed from January this year. Granted, the Omen 17 did drop quite drastically in performance when 4K is enabled, something the Omen 880-014d (the line's top model) most probably will not do. Nevertheless, the Omen 880 as it is (model 021d) is still more than capable of handling most modern games.

Verdict

For most people, the decision to buy a desktop computer -- especially one dedicated to gaming -- means getting the best there is to offer. Ultra-HD capable, VR-ready machines are usually what people expect to get from desktop computers (and even many laptops) these days, and a computer that is only capable of running flawless full-HD games just doesn't feel that exciting anymore. Many custom-built PCs can achieve comparable or even higher specs at a lower price, even if they don't come with the slick, well-designed chassis.

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