In the begging, there was only Alienware and the other few couple merchants that offered customizable gaming PCs. Then came Dell with the XPS gaming line, and now, PC maker HP is climbing aboard the bandwagon, with its new Blackbird gaming system.
OK... so everybody and their grandma is boasting their gaming PCs... but what are they really worth? HP hasn't started shipping the Blackbird yet, so not much is known about it, but according to it's product page, it's out to kick some serious ass. On the outside: it sports a weirdly shaped case, with a stand to hold the thing up. Although the only available edition right now seems to sport a slick black finish with some sort of abstract paint job, I wouldn't be surprised if HP were to offer more chassis options for what comes to color options, something the other makers still lack. Besides being nice, the same kind of nice that XPS cases are, it could still very well be a nice shell for a crap machine. But wait. QX6850, Corsair XMS series RAM, and dual 8800 Ultras, watercooling (optional?), and an industry first, a 1100 watt power supply that could actually be useful... could this be an Alienware killer?
For now, the Blackbird is only available in one pre-order version, the Dedication edition, which is the fully pimped version with all the features I mentioned above. However, HP promises that the Blackbird system was invented with flexibility in mind, so as soon as the first models start shipping we should expect more customized versions to be available, which is great considering that the preorder version isn't exactly affordable at just a tad under 6000$CAD.
Only one this has me skeptic: the quality of all the components involved. Sure, liquid cooling is great, but I'd be damned if HP hooked up with Danger Den for the components. Also, HP seems to be showing off their uber-flexible BIOS that is according to them ideal for overclocking, but nowhere did I see a mention of what motherboard and chipset are used. A dual 8800 rig running off 570 SLI on a crappy board.... I think not.