There are high-end gaming rigs, and then there are high-end gaming rigs
. Then there are those systems that are so high-end that they defy categorization. Leave it to boutique systems manufacturer Voodoo to give us the $7,000 Omen. By the way, $7,000 is the starting price
for the system, depending on the configuration. Similar to Voodoo's, soon to be released, ultra-high-end Envy
laptop, the Omen represents a new direction for Voodoo: catering almost exclusively to those who never need to check their bank account balance or worry about credit limits on their charge cards.
So what makes the Omen so expensive? Is it gold-plated and encrusted with diamonds? Hardly. But the 22-inch-high, tower case is made of hardened, brushed aluminum and features an integrated 7-inch, 800x480 widescreen display. Inside the case, Voodoo does some thermal trickery: the Asus Striker Extreme II (nVidia 790i) motherboard is turned 90 degrees, which according to Voodoo:"...takes advantage of vertical thermal diffusion: air is allowed to flow completely unobstructed from the raised bottom panel of the system over the core components, and out the top--a Voodoo innovation, and a first for any desktop PC."
The system uses a quad-fan radiator and copper cooling pipes that are built directly into the chassis. Voodoo claims that this solution not only keeps the system's internals cool, but also makes the system run very quietly. Because of how the motherboard is placed, Voodoo says that all the cable connection points are located at the top of the system and are all easily accessible by simply removing the top cover off of the tool-less chassis. The chassis can be painted one of Voodoo's custom 14 colors, for an additional expense.
Depending on whether you opt for air- or liquid-cooling, the Omen comes with either a 1,150-Watt or 1,300-Watt power supply, respectively. CPU options are either a 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad Core QX9650 or 3.2GHz QX9770. Memory options range from 2GB to 8GB and feature 1,600MHz Cosair PC-14400 DDR3 SDRAM. Graphics options are Nvidia GeForce 8800 Ultra SLI or ATI Radeon HD3870 CrossFireX--all liquid cooled, of course.
The Omen's storage options are where things really start to get out of hand. A total of six drive bays can house a combination of SATA hard drives (with a few 10,000-rpm options), solid state drives (up to a total of 384GB of storage using six Samsung 64GB SSDs), various CD and DVD drive options, and a few Blu-ray writable drive options. There are a couple of Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer high-definition audio options, albeit no mention of bundled speakers.
(Click on the image to the right to get a gander at some of the Omen's configuration options.)
A Voodoo representative tells us that Voodoo will start taking orders for the Omen in late August and that the system will start shipping sometime in September. Chances are, the Omen is well out of most people's price range. That doesn't necessarily mean, however, that some of the system's unique features will forever be out of most people's reach.
Voodoo and parent company Hewlett-Packard promote what they call "VoodooDNA
"--a clever marketing name for the synergy between HP and Voodoo R&D. One such example of Voodoo and HP's meeting of the minds is the HP Blackbird 002
high-end gaming rig. Selling between $2,500 and $6,500, depending on configuration, the Blackbird 002 is no bargain, but it is far more affordable than the I-need-a-home-equity-loan-to-afford-it
, Omen. If the Blackbird 002 is any indication, we'll be seeing Omen-like features trickle down to (at least slightly) less-expensive offerings from HP. (Insert your own "Omen
" joke here...)