HP OMEN Obelisk Review: Powerful, Easily Upgradeable Gaming PC

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HP OMEN Obelisk Review: A Closer Look At The Chassis

The HP OMEN Obelisk features a good looking chassis, with a somewhat understated aesthetic for a high-end gaming PC. The plastic front panel is designed with a series of triangles, trapezoids and diamond shapes with a configurable RGB Omen logo, which gives it a distinctive look without encroaching into gaudiness. There’s plenty of venting all around to keep the system running cool, too.

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An indention on the top of the case makes room for a headphone, microphone and two USB 3.0 ports that are angled up towards the user (assuming the tower is placed on the floor). The power button is placed here, too. The indention is a nice touch compared to direct front-mounted ports on some cases as it provides a safety area that prevents damage to the cable or port should someone accidentally bump it. While two front USB 3.0 ports are adequate, a USB-C port would’ve been nice. 

Moving around the back of the chassis reveals simplified rear IO – there’s audio, Ethernet, five USB 3.0, USB-C and nothing more. The GeForce RTX 2080 has the standard HDMI, VirtualLink USB-C and three DisplayPort outputs for quad monitors and single-cable VR headsets. HP also proudly displays the volume of the Obelisk chassis with a subtle 25L logo painted on the back of the case.

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Press the clearly labeled Internal Access button and the side panel pops off with ease, no tools required. There’s plenty of space inside the Obelisk chassis and HP does a decent job with cable management. The cables are all tucked and routed as best as it could without a modular power supply. Kudos to HP for securing the graphics card with an additional plastic support too, which should keep it in place for transport and prevent the card from bending over time.

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The chassis is designed with upgrading in mind and provides unhindered access to the M.2 slot, 3.5-inch drive bays, RAM slots, graphics card and CPU cooler. Despite all the open space in the chassis, there isn’t much of an upgrade path inside the Obelisk, however, as ours came configured. MicroATX motherboards can have up to four expansion slots, but the Obelisk only has one usable expansion slot that’s occupied by the GPU. The motherboard doesn’t have any other PCIe slots above or below the GPU, unfortunately. There’s only two DIMM slots when mATX motherboards can easily accommodate four.

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All of the components and upgrade options available in the Obelisk can technically fit into a smaller and more petite mini-ITX chassis. HP doesn’t maximize the potential of micro ATX and simply leaves empty space without many upgrade options. While the use of a standard micro ATX chassis is much closer to a DIY system and makes swapping out the motherboard and graphics card easier, you shouldn’t have to replace major system components to be able to install a capture card or sound card. HP addresses all these shortcomings with the upcoming Obelisk with Z390 motherboard which should be available next month with 9th Generation Core processors, but the Z390 will coexist with the H370 and command a higher asking price.

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There is one user upgrade available for all Obelisk configurations is water cooling. HP leaves plenty of space at the top of the case to fit a 120mm radiator. Installing a water-cooling system requires removing two screws to access the mounting plate. You will have to punch out the holes on the plate before mounting the radiator, however. 

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