The blackbird is a gorgeous piece of work, no doubt. But $6,000 is a lot of money to invest in a system that most hardcore gamers know is not top of the line in every respect by any means.
Most gamers I know personally can build a similar system for close to half the price which will at least equal the performance of the Blackbird, if not surpass it.
I think Voodoo was headed in the right direction; perhaps they needed the deep pockets HP has for capital. But HP is not at all respected for building gaming systems. And HP needs to accept that profit in specialty areas like gaming rigs should be made in volume, not on a per sale basis.
Finally, gamers are a different breed of consumer. For years they have learned to design and tweak their own systems for opitimal performance because much of what they needed wasn't in stock on a retail shelf somewhere.
I realize that HP targets a slightly different style of gamer; a group less technically inclined who might find it difficult to fine tune each detail of a build to perform among the top dogs.
That group may be in a personal lifestyle that affords them the opportunity to justify such an exhorbitant price to play with the big boys without getting thermal paste under their nails.
HP, buy yourself a magazine like MaximumPC complete with staff. Have them design your rigs in conjunction with Voodoo staffers. Accept the fact that you'll take a lower percentage of profit based on volume sales, and one day you may own this segment of specialty rigs. Oh, yeah, one more thing: staff your customer service department with people who know what the words "gaming performance" mean. Teach them courtesy and a desire to actually HELP the customer who has plunked down several grand in advance and is merely trying to find out what happened to his order. Have them learn at least a portion of the expertise their customers possess. Other than these few things, you're doing fine.
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