After Hours

Cracking open the HP Blackbird 002 DE LCi gaming PC

Crossfire

The Crossfire connectors allow the dual ATI x2900 XT video cards to act in tandem, which increases overall video performance immensely.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

140 comments
bizboy13
bizboy13

You're kidding right ? What a ripoff. Stupid money chases stupid"gaming" rig.

timothy.jankowski
timothy.jankowski

Problem is, with most HP products, this thing will crap out and stop working after the manufacturer's warranty runs out.

rhughes
rhughes

I can't see the striker logo but I can see the ASUS Republic of Gamers Logo on the south bridge. A couple of years ago I would never of believed that there would be a Asus motherboard in a HP system.

agonzalez
agonzalez

Good looking machine, can?t say is not. BUT more than $6K for this is HP NUTS, it?s possible to make from scratch a better machine, with all the components available and the tendency of technology to become cheaper by the day there is no excuse for the tag price, except of course they are charging you for a lovely case. Anyone who considers himself a hard core gamer will never buy this, the fun and the challenge is in built your own rig with whatever you want, and that includes the personalization of the case.

haynturtle1971
haynturtle1971

Wow you think they would of used Phase change. But overall it pretty cool. So will this be the PC to beat for all us D.I.Yers. Or is there one out there that i don't know about. If there is you crazy! lol

jlafitte
jlafitte

If you're going to generate 1100 watts of heat running this beast, hey, you need to be able to use it for more than heating your room. I think that some ductwork from the power supply fan hole to a hair dryer attachment would be ecologically conscious. That way, too, your woman could dry off while you're thrashing somebody else at your favorite game. Give her something to do besides be aware of the passage of time, y'know?

James
James

How can you maintain your journalistic integrity and say that this machine can be built for 3000? Even if you could line item all of the cheapest versions of comparable hardware, you will be hard pressed to match $3000. Then you have to get it all to fit inside a case. Don't forget that the list price for this machine is exactly that, it is what is offered as a high end price so that retailers can make a buck by marketing it. You have done HP, your readers and the industry a disservice with your undocumented and unproven statement. I am one reader that you have lost your integrity with. good luck with the rest of us.

NamelessFor Now
NamelessFor Now

This is a nice computer and all...not worth $6200 if you ask me. You could easily build something comparable with the money and still have enough to buy yourself a nice 42" LCD HDTV to play your games on. I like how they ship it with a Razer mouse, Lachesis I think and the Tarantula keyboard. I dont know why they'd change the LEDs in them to red if the computer has all blue or green LED's though..thats just me I'm boring I like all one color

orc.27.dahl
orc.27.dahl

The computer is crazy but you could build it for much cheaper and two of the GeForce 8800 GTX or two of the new GeForce 9600 GT (yes GeForce 9 series is out) cards would be better cards for video. They cant be beaten by any CURRENT radeon cards that are not business 3D developing cards. The rest is nice but what is the mobo? I don't reconize it. Summary: Nice (8.9/10) but better and cheaper for self-build

duckles10
duckles10

Someone said it should have 10,000 rpm drives. Well it does. Thats what WD raptors are, and they come with a 5 year warranty. As for a drive failure, run ghost and save the backups in the 3rd single drive. Thats what all of my better raid systems do. Still I agree that I could probably build something with equal or better specs for about half as much. NOT $1500 though, the person who said that hasn't added up the costs. I would use xp 64 for the OS and 4GB of memory.

ohms@orchidsg
ohms@orchidsg

Sure, you opened it...how did it work? With that price, they should have packed it in a Louis Vuitton lugguage bag - my wife would be happy too!

mike21b
mike21b

..... inside of that trunk?

Master G
Master G

Breakfast, Lunch or dinner?? Or perhaps manage your entire household bills! I dont think a real hardcore gamer would save his/her monthly allowance to get a system like this. It's overprice and yet has some limitations as mentioned above (i.e. Ram). Beautiful and well crafted but same thing can be told about Mac. HP can be certain that this machine will be build as per buyers request. You want one you order it, wait for them to build it and send it to you. It's not a product which they can get revenue from it. It's something that was designed just not to fall out of bound on the gamers' realm.

garyreds01
garyreds01

Wow and I thought Alienware were overpriced, why would I want this system when I could build the exact same system for half the price? And I could build with a latest ATI release graphics card, the 2900 series is almost a year old.

EJB64
EJB64

it costs too much mite as well get a workstation with dual quad core Xeon cpus or AMD quad cores and 2 sli cards more power/speed ecc memory more reliable than this one

dave
dave

512GB of RAM ON A VIDEO CARD?!?! WOW!! hahaha well its still a cool system even if its only 512 MB.

dmstenhouse
dmstenhouse

I would expect for that price to find at least 2 3780's in there, not the lame 2900's. Even there not top of the 2900 range. For that price you could build a 8800 Ultra SLI setup with all the water cooling and trimmings you wanted. HP are the one's dreaming here I think. And there support is rubbish. I wonder if the water cooling is warrented if it does leak? And i bet it is stuffed full of there HP bloatware as well. Pffff get real HP lol.

britontn
britontn

Very Black!!! So much you can do with 6000. Much as I like this beast, I don't see myself buying it! Rather build my own!!! But then you are also buying the brand and thats very expensive too hey!!!

cdoran
cdoran

I've got the same mobo (Stiker Extreme), Intel Q6600 Overclocked to 3.0GHz, 4GB (XMS2 2x2GB) memory, better graphic cards (8800 GT 0C2) in SLi, 1.5 TB (2x75GB Raptors in RAID 0 for OS) storage, 750Watts power (EnerMax), a SilverStone all Aluminum case, and Zalman cooling on everything for more then 50% less money. That must be the dream machine of a SilverSpoon fed Super nOOb!!!

jjervis
jjervis

I'm sorry but for that price I could build a duel quad core Dell 690 with a true scsi raid array and spank that HP, not to mention what could be done with that kind of money in a build it yourself system.

DL
DL

The traveling case is nice. I have lights on my Dell for half the price.

3_jeeps
3_jeeps

How many ppl stare at the enclosure when using the machine? Save $2k, put it in an enclosure that is *designed* to get rid of heat, minimize electrical noise, and does not look like a an explosion in a wire and pipe factory. Then again, redesign the PC system which would necessitate a redesign of the MB, video card, sound subsystem, etc....and I'd bet you could eeek out another 10% of speed *reliably* without heat or noise related dumps of xp or vista....THEN it would be work $6K.

willcomp
willcomp

Other components are readily available, it's the case that stands out. Elevated platform with bottom intake, interior mounted water cooling, hinged door, and other custom features. That's where HP's muscle with manufacturers is most apparent. Voodoo used stock cases with outstanding paint jobs and charged similar prices. This case is anything but standard. Maybe we'll see a knockoff in the future from one of the case manufacturers.

coogrrr
coogrrr

And I still have enough to buy another car to paint the same as the PC for my real need to be UBERGEEKED out to the next LAN party. Or just save the cash for something else. The point being if you know enough to need or appreciate this computer then you know enough to build a better one for half the cost. If you dont know enough to be able to do that then dont waste your money buying this nice of a rig so you can go online and chat or update your myspace. Get a nice computer for 1200.00 and get off the Tech Republic you wannabe computer jocky. Coog

scorpion_saga
scorpion_saga

What was the purpose of the smart ass remarks about UPS & Fed X not being trustworthy? This entire article lends credence to the term "more money than brains" The reality is, its already dated equipment "worth" a fraction of what you say. Ho Hum.

ProperName
ProperName

I think that everyone has a valid point. This thing is not actually marketed to gamers cause if it was I'm sure HP would be hearing nothing but laughter down their halls. I have built my own systems for too many years to look at this without LOL. However, I am sure that there is a niche market of about ten people who could afford to throw away all that money for a computer that is already old technology. Besides, the lack of upgrade-ability of this box is going to send gamers running. HP comps have always been proprietary and very hard to upgrade without buying "HP" parts. Who wants to continue paying through the nose when 90% of us, or better, are completely capable of building something better for much, much less. Lets all just accept that HP is paying some poor schmuck a lot of money to build a big paperweight for the boss.

business.libra
business.libra

SLI, water cooling, huge power consumption, extremely expensive. Nothing but a mess in case.

afai1971
afai1971

Aside from the choice of Video Cards I would say this System rocks... i like their attention to the casing and how everything fits.... Since i build my own casings Im curious though how the air flow seperators between cpu and video cards are a real help considering its water cooled...

PrinceGaz
PrinceGaz

For US$6200 or less you could build a gaming oriented PC with: ?651: Intel Core 2 Quad Extreme QX9650 (3.0GHz, 2x6MB L2 cache) ?160: nVidia nForce 780i mobo with three PCI-Express x16 sockets ?160: 4x 2GB brand-name PC2-8000 CL5 memory ?1200: 3x nVidia GeForce 8800 Ultra ?340: 4x 1TB HD in RAID 10 configuration (for a total of 2TB storage, with the speed-benefits of RAID 0, the backup safety of RAID 1, and without the performance penalty of RAID 5) ?400: Good case & fans, plus PC Power & Cooling 1000W PSU to run it all ?200: Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit That comes to ?3,100 or roughly US$6,000. And that is after including the mark-up in the UK for 17.5% VAT (sales-tax) and the fact that computer products are generally a lot more expensive here than in the US even without that. In the US, you could probably include a 30" LCD monitor (about ?1,000) into the bundle and still come below US$6,200 (which you would want to include as the three 8800 Ultra graphics-cards are wasted otherwise). Alternatively substitute 8800 GTX cards for the 8800 Ultras and you almost get the 30" monitor for free. As for sound, a USB card can be used if required; the quad-core processor means CPU overheads for sound-processing while gaming under Vista are irrelevant and an external USB sound-card for ?100 will provide superb sound-quality. Another ?100 for a good mouse and keyboard and you've got a system which will totally blow away that Blackbird 002 in games, yet be no more expensive than it.

Sepius
Sepius

Probably put something myself together a bit cheaper, get some AMD's in instead .... But that just would not be the same. Yep this would be a big talking piece in my house ... more yelling actually, but it is nice to dream ....

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

This unit is probably going to be used to make animated features.I wouldn't rule out that these photos are from a starship.

ivan_dmitriev
ivan_dmitriev

If you work in LSI systems design & production you come by this king of stuff everyday. A good machine, I'd install some tools on it and be my own boss, except for one annoying detail Sony and HP often have proprietary hard or soft, so it's difficult to have a decent Linux distro with it.

barryhumphus
barryhumphus

$6,200 seems kind of steep, even with the shipping trunk. I just configured a Mac Pro with dual quad xenon processors (8 processors), an NVIDIA 8800 (dual DVI connectors), RAID and 1.5 TB of disk space. Comes standard with 2GB RAM. All for $5449. Throw Vista on it and fly cheaper and faster.

PrinceGaz
PrinceGaz

I could build a faster gaming box for US$3000 very easily, including the case very easily indeed. I could build a faster one for US$2000 probably, though that would be pushing it and allow no margin for retailer mark-up. As I said in a different post, for the same cost as that PC, I could build a machine that is much faster in games (3x GeForce 8800 Ultra being part of it), and at US prices could probably include a 30" 2560x1600 monitor and still be cheaper than the HP offering.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

The motherboard is the ASUS Striker Extreme nForce 680i. There is a 780i available now too.

loss4words
loss4words

you'd use XP64? interesting choice. you don't like compatibility?

kristina.hough
kristina.hough

No gamer in his right mind is going to purchase this machine. Thanks for the specs on what to build and what to improve on. Most gamers have the ability to build a comparable machine at a much cheaper price. Thanks for sharing HP!

pristle
pristle

I reckon that's the coolest thing about the whole package. For NZ$7750.....I was expecting more.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

Someone pointed out this typo already - I changed it - thanks.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin moderator

I am just reporting what it costs. Did you see the case it came in - not a cardboard box, but a storage trunk. The idea is that your very expensive PC would never be DOA. You are paying for the luxury user experience. The real question is: Is it worth it?

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

If this is just coming out now then it was probably six months or more in the development process. When they started baking that rig, the Striker Extreme was the top end of the hardware pile. Now they hit the market with the product locked into six month old specs. It is a heck of a rig but it's not going to get any gear head sales unless that case becomes available separately.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Other than the case, and it is a nice case but not 3k$ nice, the rest looks like stock parts. Now, I have heard bad stories about running a non-Windows OS agains the onboard network and sound but I can't say for sure. I'll likely be back here complaining loudly though if I have issues between the kernel and the soon to be booting Asus Striker 2 board with the newer chipset.

garyreds01
garyreds01

Or buy the parts yourself for a lot less, get an Intel Skull Trail board when that comes out, stick two quad 6600 ($249 x 2) in there, 2GB of RAM (about $180-350 depending on RAM type), a 500GB and 1TB drive ($109 & 269), DVD RW+- ($32.99) one Nvidia 8800 GTS (about $300), X-Fi soundcard ($135), and a case (anywhere from $40-whatever you want really), monitor ($469), speakers ($299 for the THX HD models), mouse ($39.99), and keyboard ($19.99) =2682.96 plus a few hundred for the mainboard that isn't out yet...around about $2900 maybe $3k, so there you go, I just built a PC matching your Mac spec with $2k less....So no I wouldn't buy a Mac nor the HP blackbird, they are both a joke when it comes to a gaming system.

mathomp3
mathomp3

Its way overpriced big time, You can build the same speced machine but with a different case on Ibuypower for about half the cost. I mean for 6 grand I would have a 32 gig solid state drive with a 7800 rpm 2nd drive with a raid controller. Instant Hard drive access for my OS and primary software aka my main game. Increase your gaming performance hands down. The bus speed is such a joke, I mean its like buying a porche and putting ethanol in the tank, it looks pretty but you're only going to go as fast as 85 octane will take you. The problem with this whole build as stated is your stuck, no room to grow. Not to mention if your water cooling the case best make it a bit more accessible. Getting to the cooling tank in a blackbird is a nightmare. Thank goodness they only recommend treating the water once a month. The whole aluminum block thing is just funny. so wait you wasted 10 lbs of aluminum instead of just buying sheets of it to cut the pattern out of. Not to mention all high dollar cooling cases are mostly fiber glass with cross grids on it to allow for max air flow even in water cooled systems. The blackbird is for the rich kid that has daddy's credit card, and doesnt know the first thing about computers. IE your 14 year old World of Warcraft gamer will drool over this, the rest of the gaming world will just place an order for our parts or with a custom builder.

Absolutely
Absolutely

My only gripe about my Intel8x0 chipset is that to get SPDIF output requires switching the corresponding channel in Volume Control [u]off[/u]! No amount of fiddling with alsaconf ever did any good, but it does work. The Yukon GB ethernet was 100% PnP.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Alsa used to always default to muted master volume for the creative cards but worked perfectly once I learned that I had to use alsaconf to first unmute the channel then it was fine after that other than some volume tuning. The ethernet is the bigger concern as I may have room for a seporate soundcard if needed but wouldn't likely have room for two additional cards beside my GPU and Hauppauge.