Refreshed Omen laptops come with a side of Accelerator

It seems that every hardware manufacturer these days has a gaming-oriented sub-brand, and HP is no exception. The computing giant has updated its Omen lineup with a ton of new gear, which we'll be taking a look at today. The Omen gaming laptops are fresh out of the oven with new CPU and graphics card options, and there's also an Omen Accelerator external graphics card enclosure available to add some extra polygon-chewing oomph to an existing machine.

For processing power, the refreshed machines pack a selection of Kaby Lake Core-series CPUs. The mid-sized Omen 15 has graphics card options up to an AMD Radeon RX 550 or an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 in a Max Q setup. Its bigger brother the Omen 17 can pack up to a GeForce GTX 1070 from the Nvidia camp, or a Radeon RX 580 from the AMD army. The systems can be configured with as much as 32 GB of DDR4 memory. There aren't many details on storage configurations, though HP says that there will be options for PCIe SSDs and dual-storage setups.

As for the laptops' monitors, HP offers a choice between a 4K display (presumably at 60 Hz), an overclockable 120-Hz 1080p panel with G-Sync support when coupled with a Nvidia graphics card, or a FreeSync-infused 60 Hz panel with 1080p resolution for systems with a Radeon card inside.

HP also says that the cooling system for the updated Omen laptops was redesigned and packs a multi-fan and multi-exhaust system to keep the temperatures down. The keyboards offer red backlighting, a highlighted WASD block, and 26-key rollover. The audio section has support for DTS Headphone:X surround virtualization. In a nod to system tweakers everywhere, HP says that the machine offers easy access to the storage devices and RAM through a single removable panel.

On the connectivity front, the machines are pretty packed. There are three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C connector with Thunderbolt 3 support, an SD card slot, a Gigabit Ethernet connector, and HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs. As for carrying bulk, the Omen 15 is 1" thick (or 25 mm) and has a weight of 5.7 lbs (2.6 kg). The bigger Omen 17 is slightly thicker at 1.3" (33 mm) and quite a bit heavier, tipping the scales at 8.2 lbs (or 3.7 kg). For either model, the listed weight will vary by configuration.

The Omen laptops above are certainly interesting, but may be not to everyone's taste. What are prospective gamers to do when they just need a little extra graphics oomph for their desktop PCs or laptops? Get an Omen Accelerator, that's what. This Thunderbolt 3 graphics card enclosure has a 500W power supply, extra room for a 2.5" storage device, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB hub with three USB 3.0 Type-A ports and a USB 3.1 Type-C connector. The Accelerator can charge an attached laptop, too. HP will sell the enclosure empty, or preconfigured with a 1 TB hard drive or 256 GB SSD, and a selection of Radeon or GeForce graphics cards.

Pricing for the Omen 15 laptop starts at $1000, while the bigger Omen 17 can be configured starting at $1000. Both machines will be in stores by June 28. The Omen Accelerator external enclosure will be around in August starting at $300.

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