HP OMEN Obelisk Review: Powerful, Easily Upgradeable Gaming PC

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HP OMEN Obelisk Review: Final Thoughts On This Pre-Built Gaming PC

It's obvious HP put a lot of thought into the OMEN Obelisk’s chassis design. Its easy to work on, with plenty of room for cooling, power supply, storage and graphics upgrades down the road. We appreciate the simplistic styling, clear side window and tool-less access. This is a DIY chassis that’s on par with a budget case from NZXT, Corsair or similar.

Teaming up with HyperX for the preinstalled memory is a nice touch as well that gives the HP OMEN Obelisk additional DIY-cred. Too often we see pain vanilla memory sticks, sans heat spreaders, in many OEM pre-built systems. However, the other hardware HP chose to go with in our machine leaves us puzzled in spots. Despite the DIY-friendly chassis, the choice of motherboard limits upgradeability. It’s a micro ATX form factor that has room for four expansion slots, but you’re unable to add any expansion cards, like a high-end sound card or streaming / capture card, due to the placement of the PCI Express x16 slot. There are only two DIMM slots too, which is disappointing because there’s plenty of empty PCB space. This decision limits future RAM upgrades, requiring you to replace the existing DIMMs that are installed. 

HP Obelisk 10

That said, there's a higher-end variant of the machine with an Intel Core i9, four DIMM slots, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics and a 750-watt power supply that was announced at CES, but you shouldn’t have to go for a higher spec and costlier system for more DIMM slots in our opinion.

Another consideration, as always, is pricing. HP charges $2253.99 for the Obelisk as our test system was configured, with an Intel Core i7-8700, 32GB of HyperX DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, 1TB HDD and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. Pricing out a similar DIY system with an ASRock H370M Pro4 motherboard (four DIMM slots and usable expansion slots), a Samsung 960 Pro SSD, NZXT H400i mATX case and EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card, you'll discover, as with any pre-built system there's a bit of mark-up here, though it's not excessive. Building your own could save you some coin but that's not the point of HP's off-the-shelf and warrantied convenience. 
HP Omen Obelisk Glass Panel Exploded
Overall, if you’re looking to get your feet wet with PC gaming but don't want to go the DIY route, the HP OMEN Obelisk is a good choice. There is excellent performance to be had here, a chassis that should last through a few upgrade cycles and easily lead you down the DIY rabbit hole as you learn. It’s a stylish but straight-forward pre-built systems with just a few limitations in its lower-end configurations mostly.
hothardware recommended
 hot not 
  • DIY-Friendly, Simplistic, Stylish Chassis
  • Quality HyperX DRAM
  • Can Accommodate Water Cooling
  • Excellent Performance
  • Clean Cable Routing
  • Lots Of Configuration Options
  • Limited Memory And Expansion Slots

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