HP Omen 30L Gaming Desktop Evaluation

HP's Omen gaming desktops are among the most popular pre-built slot machines out there, and have been for many years, since Omen was VoodooPC.

Although the VoodooPC brand retired in 2014, it lived on as part of HP, which continued to use Voodoo's standalone tribal mask logo until recently. The new Omen logo was introduced months ago when HP was redesigning the brand. This overhaul brought new products and a more mature look and feel – we recently tested the Omen 15 Ryzen gaming laptop – and on the desktop side we have the newest systems from Omen: the 30L and 25L.

For the past few weeks I've been using the HP Omen 30L as a daily driver desktop alongside the HP Omen 27i gaming monitor (1440p 165Hz). The Omen 30L configuration we received includes an AMD Radeon 5700 XT graphics card, HyperX 16GB of 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM, and a Ryzen 5 3600, our pick for the best CPU. HP also has a WD Black 256GB NVMe SSD and a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive for all of our storage needs (with room for two additional 2.5-inch drives) as well as all of the cooling, power supply, and chassis design from Cool master delivered.

For reference, this parts list mostly matches the base configuration of the Omen 30L, which sells for $ 999, with the exception of the RAM, which is reduced to 8GB by default. This should be enough for most, but it should be a little on the low side given the requirements for next-gen gaming. So we'd probably recommend increasing this to 16GB at the first opportunity.

design

Aesthetically, the Omen 30L is a beautiful machine. The HP chassis made by Cooler Master combines metal plates with tempered glass for a sleek, minimalist look. It's not as flashy as something you might see from Alienware, but that's hardly a bad thing – in some situations less is more, and I think the 30L is a great example of that.

When the system is inactive, a vivid, white diamond-shaped LED (the new Omen logo) fades in and out behind the all-glass front. The "Omen" text, which is always visible, is engraved in the glass under the logo. It would have been nice if the text had been LED-lit too, but an etching does the job too.

When you power on the system from hibernation, the front LED fan will come to life and the Omen logo will stop blinking and remain lit. In a dark room, the lights are quite noticeable.

The streamlined appearance of the Omen 30L continues when you open the tempered glass side panel. Aside from RGB-RAM and case fan, there aren't many flashing lights here. Some may be disappointed with this, but personally I don't look at the left side of my system that often because of my desk layout.

After my time with the Omen 30L, I've only had two complaints about the design of the pc – one was a little more serious, the other is more of a personal sucker. We'll start with the former: When I first powered up the 30L and navigated to the HP Omen Command Center software (I'll get into that in a moment), I started adjusting the colors of the lighted system parts – the LEDs on the Front, the LED of the CPU fan and of course the RGB-RAM.

I quickly realized that the colors were a little different. Every LED other than the logo wasn't quite what I set them to be – when I switched them to orange they were yellow, and when I changed them to red they looked pink. This is arguably a minor issue, but given how solid the rest of the 30L design was, it was a bit irritating.

I'm not sure if there was something wrong with the LEDs or if the problem was with the software. In both cases, I just decided to put all the lights on white to avoid the hassle. Unfortunately, but not dealbreaking.

The second, less dramatic, complaint I have is with the 30L's front USB ports. It's great to have them there, but instead of looking forward or sitting on a flat surface on top of the machine, the I / O area (and power button) is in a large, recessed groove in the top cover . Some may prefer this aesthetically, but the design, in my experience, has made it easier for dust and dirt to collect.

Out-of-the-box impressions

After carefully examining all of the major components of the 30L during the set-up process, I found that they were all instantly locked into place. It is not uncommon for a graphics card connector or a RAM stick, for example, to come loose during shipping (sometimes due to poor quality assurance by the manufacturer). So I was pleased to see that I didn't have to worry about it.

HP's system manufacturers have also done an excellent job with cable management. From the case's LED cables to the GPU power cord, everything is neatly laid behind the motherboard. Compared to the spaghetti-like mess many PC newbies (including myself) are once through when they assemble their first gaming rig, it doesn't get much better.

After connecting the machine with the included power cord (which ran on a Cooler Master 500W power supply that was a bit lower than I would like), I was ready to go. Windows has been fully updated and the latest Radeon graphics drivers have already been installed.

Unfortunately, the Omen 30L comes with the usual amount of bloatware we normally see on new PCs: McAfee, an Office 365 trial, and lots of HP's own apps and software. Fortunately, all of these programs took less than 10 minutes to uninstall, and one of them, the Omen Command Center mentioned above, was actually very useful.

The program is clear and contains some nifty functions. For example, you can change and synchronize the lighting for all devices equipped with RGB or test the HP game streaming function Remote Play (it works similarly to the Steam function of the same name).

I was also able to adjust the response time and picture mode of the HP Omen 27i gaming monitor in the software, although further adjustments had to be made via the screen display of the panel. The Command Center has a few additional services that we have ignored, such as: B. Omen awards and coaching. However, users with an HP account may find it convincing.

Connectivity

Modern systems require modern connectivity solutions, and the Omen 30L won't disappoint the average user there. The top panel I / O port array consists of 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 Type-A ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone / microphone combo port.

On the back of the 30L there are 1x USB Type C port (10 Gbit / s), 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 port and four additional USB 3.2 Gen 1×1 ports. There are also the usual audio input / output jacks, an RJ-45 slot and a connection for external microphones.

All in all, that set of ports should be more than enough to please the average gamer, and it's definitely nice to see USB Type-C support here. The 30L briefly goes into wireless technology and has built-in Bluetooth as well as Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 and Realtek Wi-Fi 5.

Build quality

At 6.5 x 15.53 x 17.05 inches and roughly 28.5 pounds, the Omen 30L isn't all that different from competing machines in the size or weight departments. However, as mentioned earlier, it's made almost entirely of metal (with the exception of its four plastic feet) which adds up to most of its weight and gives it a nice, sturdy feel. Even when I put heavy pressure on the back of the 30L, I couldn't warp it much at all. The cooling grids (to the left and right of the front-facing glass pane) bend a little more, but not to a certain extent.

To some extent, great build quality is more of a pleasant than a critical feature of a PC case. After all, you are unlikely to drop or knock over a full-sized tower in the near future, and if you do, there are other things to worry about besides mere fall damage.

However, if you're spending $ 1,000 or more on a machine like this, you want something that feels like it will take a while and the 30L is for you.

In a way, the 30L's superb construction was more of a disadvantage than an advantage. When I tried to remove the back of the system case to check HP's cable management, I realized I couldn't – not easily, anyway. There were no thumbscrews, no latches, and no handles to slide the panel off. It was ingrained.

After a little research and stumbling across a support video from HP, I found that you first need to remove a special retaining screw in the case before removing the back panel. This is a cumbersome design decision that may make it a little more difficult to update the PC later.

Since even casual PC gamers will likely want to occasionally replace parts for the (hopefully) many years they would have a machine like the 30L, the process should be as simple as possible. Still, a small problem in the big scheme of things that can be easily circumvented with a quick Google search and a little extra elbow fat.

As with most pre-built systems, HP has found it appropriate to include a basic mouse and keyboard in the 30L. Unfortunately, "basic" is a generous way of describing it. The keyboard has flat laptop-style keys that some might like, but I find them less than ideal for typing or gaming. Maybe I'm just used to liking mechanical keyboards. The mouse is a straightforward three-button affair, too, and its standard one-size-fits-all design wasn't anything to write home about.

Pre-built machines rarely come with top-notch gaming peripherals unless you pay for them as a full package. Most serious pc gamers buy the rigs for the case and internals and dispose of the included mouse and keyboard kits. After all, decent but affordable gaming equipment is relatively easy to come by these days. Companies like HP are aware of this, so it's understandable that they have focused their resources here on more important parts of the machine. If HP needed to cut costs anywhere, I'm glad they did it here and not in another more critical area of ​​the 30L.

What to like

At $ 999, I think the Omen 30L is a fantastic purchase. Without taking into account the cost of the housing, power supply, Windows 10 or the included basic peripherals, you spend this amount on a similarly specified, specially built machine. If you add these missing pieces to the equation, you'll be spending about $ 200 more than buying from HP. In other words, the value in the omen is pretty good.

If you are looking in the market for a complete gaming system with reasonably modern hardware and the ability to effortlessly tackle new games, you can't go wrong with the 30L. If you are not satisfied with the basic configuration of the hardware and have additional money to burn, you can of course update the components at any time during the ordering process. You should note, however, that we're in the middle of a transition and that new CPUs and GPUs will have arrived by the end of the year, especially in the high-end space.

For a mainstream-priced machine, the Radeon RX 5700 XT is a particularly good GPU choice, and the price seems right for that omen build. By the end of the year, we wouldn't be surprised if HP upgraded the same Omen chassis with Zen 3 CPUs and GeForce RTX 3000 series GPUs, but these will of course be more expensive. If you have storage problems, the included NVMe capacity can also be increased to a maximum of 2 TB.

The Omen 30L is of course not without its problems. A 500W PSU probably won't make it with power-hungry monster GPUs, and the weird LED lightning problems I've had with my test units aren't what I would want paying customers to have.

Ultimately, however, I don't think any of those small issues hurt the Omen 30L's overall value proposition. If you run into any problems, you can always call HP support for assistance. A one-year limited hardware warranty applies in the event of catastrophic, RMA-worthy system errors.

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