HP's Envy Phoenix desktop is a pre-built PC that I might actually want to buy. Sure, that might sound crazy from someone who's always built his own systems. Unlike some Godzilla-villain-alike systems available from other companies right now, though, the Phoenix offers a subdued exterior with just enough blinginess to suggest powerful components under the hood. HP says it worked with HTC to make this system ready for the Vive VR headset when those goggles become available, too.
For the most part, the base specs of the Phoenix (at least those of the 860-170VR model that we're concerned with) don't betray its sinister-yet-stealthy shell. CPU options are limited to a liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-6700K right now. HP says owners can overclock the unlocked Skylake chip. A Radeon R9 390X is the only choice available on the graphics-card front, but HP indicates that a GeForce GTX 980 Ti will become an option in the future.
8GB of DDR4 memory and a 1TB mechanical hard drive are a little disappointing for this machine's $1299 base price, but buyers appear to be able to add an M.2 SSD or 2.5" SATA drive of their own after purchase. HP offers a 256GB M.2 SSD as an option for $175, and there appear to be provisions for up to three 3.5" mechanical drives inside. For its part, HP says the Phoenix is easily upgradeable.
The Envy Phoenix also comes with a pair of customizable light bars on its front panel for extra gamer cred, some vague Bang and Olufsen audio mojo, DVD or optional Blu-ray drives, and a built-in card reader.