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Wednesday | September 26, 2018
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HP Omen X 900-085na

HP Omen X 900-085na

Big brands like HP aren’t known for their gaming systems, which makes it even more absurd that HP has unleashed its eye-catching Omen X.

This monster machine turns the gaming PC on its head – almost literally – in an effort to stand out and justify a whopping £2,500 price.


The Omen X looks brilliantly absurd. It’s a huge cube of galvanised steel that sits diagonally on two slim feet. It weighs a monster 28kg, and its front is divided into quarters that are ringed red lights. One of them is illuminated with the dramatic Omen logo.
The right-hand side of the tilted cube has the power button, USB ports and four sturdy, tool-free hard disk bays, while the left-hand edge lifts away entirely for interior access. HP says that the Omen’s angled design makes it easier to work inside this machine, and we can’t disagree – having the components point upwards is a pleasing way to tinker.

There are impressive touches throughout. The front-panel lighting can be customised or programmed to react to CPU and GPU temperature, and the logo panel can be removed to reveal tools and replacement screws for getting at the internals. The PSU and some of the cables are ensconced in a separate compartment, although this doesn’t make them any easier to access.

The Omen is built like a tank, it’s easy to use and it’s one of the most striking desktops we’ve ever seen, but this statement piece is hardly subtle. It’s 515mm tall, and its 504mm width makes it twice as large as many normal tower systems.

The negatives don’t stop there. The interior is untidy, with cables bunched messily – a disappointment considering HP has room in this case to store spare wires. The backplate is underwhelming, with loads of USB 3 ports and little else.

Full Specification

CPU: 4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K
Memory: 16GB 2,133MHz DDR4
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
Sound: On-board
Hard disk: 256GB Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD, 2TB HDD
Weight: 28kg
Ports: 8 x USB 3, 2 x USB 3.1, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 3 x audio, 2 x HDMI, 2 x Mini-DisplayPort
Dimensions: (W x D x H): 504 x 515 x 406mm
Extras: Dual-band 802.11ac WiFi
Warranty: 1 yr C&R


On paper, and at first glance, the HP has a solid set of gaming components. The Core i7-6700K is a 4GHz, quad-core chip with an unlocked multiplier, and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is a familiar beast: 2,560 stream processors, 8GB of GDDR5 memory and a 1,607MHz core that uses the incredible Pascal architecture.

Once again, though, looking closer reveals disappointing aspects. The K-edition processor can technically be overclocked, but tweaking the chip voids the HP’s warranty – and most British-built gaming PCs already come with that chip overclocked to 4.5GHz or 4.6GHz, with that improvement already covered by their warranties. And all this overclocking talk is a moot point, too, because the ugly, non-UEFI BIOS has no tweaking options at all.

The GTX 1080 is also stuck at its stock speed – another underwhelming result considering the overclocking headroom on this card – and altering that figure also voids the warranty.

There’s 16GB of 2,133MHz memory, which is the bare minimum in terms of speed, and the motherboard only supports 32GB of 2,133MHz DDR4 – poor when even the most affordable gaming board will handle 64GB of 3,000MHz RAM. And, as a final insult, HP has fitted the Omen X with two 2,400MHz DIMMs that can’t even run at their proper pace.

The rest of the motherboard is similarly underwhelming. There are two free memory slots and a single PCIe x16 socket free, but that’s it. It’s a plain board, with no heatsinks, tweak-friendly buttons or game-friendly audio and Ethernet. It’s the bare minimum, and it’s microATX – so normal ATX desktops will offer far more.

Storage is fine – a 256GB Samsung SM951 SSD and a 2TB hard disk – but we expected a little more from such an expensive machine. The PSU is a 600W HP model, and there’s no indication that is has a decent 80PLUS efficiency rating , which is something that rivals will all include.

This specification won’t just disappoint in benchmarks – it’s disappointing if you’ve read HP’s website. The Omen X’s page boasts about the overclockable processor and this machine’s compatibility with third-party components, but neither are supported.

The warranty itself isn’t great either. It only lasts for a year, while most British companies will offer three- or five-year deals with their systems, and they’re more accommodating when it comes to adding and tweaking components – most will cover your PC’s original components even if you fit after-market parts, and some will even fit new parts if you’d rather not.

The HP’s disappointing specification is easily bettered elsewhere. The Chillblast Fusion Wolf 3 has a similar specification to the HP, albeit with a new Intel Kaby Lake processor and with a five-year warranty, for £2,079 – or the firm’s Fusion Evolution RGB serves up a six-core Intel CPU, a GTX 1080, more memory and better storage for £2,400.

Scan offers similarly good deals. Its 3XS Vengeance 1080 has an overclocked Core i7 CPU, an overclocked graphics card, faster memory and a three-year warranty for £1,911, and the 3XS Vengeance X delivers an overclocked processor, gaming motherboard, Nvidia GeForce Titan X graphics card and better warranty for £2,420.

These machines do have Kaby Lake, but it’s worth remembering that it’s easier for smaller British companies to install Intel’s latest chips – and that the HP was released before the new Intel CPUs debuted. The Omen X may never be upgraded with Kaby Lake – it’s a minor upgrade, after all – but if HP does install the new CPUs, it’ll take months.


The GTX 1080 remains an exceptional gaming card. In every one of our 1080p benchmarks it averaged beyond 100fps in every one of our 1080p gaming tests, and it has the power to handle 4K gaming in most tests: it averaged 34fps in Fallout 4 at 3,840 x 2,160, and 49fps in Witcher 3.

Only the most demanding titles won’t run smoothly at 4K, and those games will improve with minor graphical tweaks. The power of the GTX 1080 also enables multi-monitor setups, widescreen panels and VR headsets.

However, machines with overclocked cards have an advantage, regularly adding between one and five frames in gaming benchmarks. At 4K, that could be the difference between playable and sluggish.

It’s a similar story in application benchmarks. The Core i7 processor returned huge results in Geekbench and PC Mark 8, but overclocked chips are routinely faster. The HP won’t struggle with anything – just compare it to the Zotac in our graph – but other systems will be significantly quicker.

The HP isn’t impressive in other departments. Its SSD read and write speeds of 1,918MB/s and 1,278MB/s are fine but hardly groundbreaking, and the 2,133MHz DDR4 memory delivered single- and multi-threaded bandwidth results of 20.8GB/s and 22.4GB/s – acceptable, sure, but entire gigabytes behind faster chips.

This isn’t a particularly cool system, either – even though the components run at their stock speeds and the CPU is chilled by a water-cooler with two 120mm fans. The CPU and GPU peak temperatures of 82°C and 74°C are fine, but better-made desktops will be cooler. The Omen X is quieter than most other gaming desktops, at least, but that’s only a sliver of comfort.


The Omen X attracts a lot of attention with its cubed design, angled structure and lighting. The modular interior sounds good, too, with separated components and an easier angle of entry.

In reality, though, this machine is almost always disappointing. The motherboard is basic without any decoration or gaming features, the stock-speed components can’t be overclocked, and new gear can’t be added without destroying the warranty. The memory is slow, the port selection is poor, the storage is middling, the PSU is mysterious, and the heat levels are higher than expected.

It’s fast, sure, but every rival will be faster. Every competitor will be better value, too, with better motherboards, more storage space and superior warranties.

This machine makes a big first impression, but it’s constantly underwhelming. Buy a system from a British firm instead – and leave this big-brand behemoth on the high street shelves.

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HP Omen X 900-085na
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Mike Jennings

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