There’s an easy way to tell whether someone you know is a truly committed, diehard gamer: simply ask them whether they play on a console or a PC. Sure, the current consoles on the market are comparatively cheap and easy to set up. But if you’re determined to experience the latest games at their absolute best – at their highest resolutions, yet running with rock-solid stability – you’ll have to get a gaming PC to run them on.
But in the past, there has been a problem with gaming PCs: portability.
Gaming laptops aren’t new, but they’ve always been seen, with justification, as poor relations to desktops. Lacking the space which desktops have for cooling and upgrading components, they have failed to convince the most particular gamers. Which has been a major blow for those who wish to play games on the move and in a variety of venues.
However, with its latest range of Omen gaming laptops, Hewlett-Packard has finally consigned all doubts over gaming laptops to the past. Here’s why.
Overclocking comes to gaming laptops
Overclocking is one of the most hardcore techniques used by the most cutting-edge PC gamers. It’s a simple concept: running a PC’s processor (and possibly other components such as the graphics processor) at clock speeds faster than its official rating, in order to extract even more performance. But overclocking makes a component run hotter, so it requires beefed-up cooling which, previously, has been beyond the capabilities of gaming laptops.
However, HP’s Omen X gaming laptop is the first portable machine from the company that allows overclocking. That’s because it marries two high-performance fans and four 3.5mm heat pipes with – on some configurations – an integrated vapour chamber, to suck extra heat to four huge radiators.
Gamers moving up the e-sports ranks can gain a crucial edge by having the fastest PC possible, so for the first time, they can get their hands on an overclockable gaming laptop – which they can carry around as a matter of course, unlike a desktop – which lets them fully showcase their skills, in the form of the HP Omen X.
Cutting-edge graphics and processors
All of HP’s Omen gaming laptops – from the impressively affordable Omen by HP 15-ce024na upwards, which weighs in at under £900 – make use of Intel’s fastest 8th-generation Core i7 processors. The two Omen X laptops in the range are built around Intel’s Core i7-7820HK quad-core processor, a chip which is liable to make the most hardcore PC gaming enthusiast drool. But if you see any HP laptop with the Omen legend on it, you can be sure that it has the processing power you need.
Likewise for graphics accelerators: nVidia’s GTX graphics processors are the ones that all PC gamers crave, and also happen to be the ones you will find in HP’s Omen gaming laptops. The top-of-the-range Omen X by HP 17-ap003na boasts nVidia’s near-mythical GeForce GTX 1080, while the other members of the Omen and Omen X ranges are equipped with either GTX 1050s, GTX 1050Tis, GTX 1060s or GTX 1070s. So HP’s Omen laptops have the maximum graphic performance for every budget.
Desktop features on gaming laptops
HP’s Omen gaming laptops have plenty of features which you wouldn’t normally expect to find on anything other than desktop PCs. For starters, they all have the mechanical keyboards which serious gamers demand – with bags of feel and the perfect amount of travel – rather than the rubbery efforts you find on normal laptops. And those keyboards are backlit, with colour-coded zones, just like the top-end keyboards designed for gaming desktops.
Amazingly, HP Omens also give gamers the chance to upgrade various components, notably DDR4 memory, SSD solid-state hard disks and magnetic hard disks, all of which can be accessed through a single pane by users and swapped out. Such design flexibility is more or less unheard-of in the laptop world.
Any gamer will tell you that audio is hugely important: hearing an enemy sneaking up you – and knowing which direction they are coming from – in PUBG, say, or Overwatch can give you the crucial edge you need to close out a successful round. Again, HP’s Omen gaming laptops have precisely what hardcore gamers desire: super-crisp audio by legendary hi-fi brand Bang & Olufsen and DTS Headphone:X for perfect directional 3D sound.
Display-wise, HP’s Omen gaming laptops conform to standards that are much more commonly found in desktop PC monitors. They have super-fast 144Hz refresh rates and full HD 1080p resolution, and run nVidia’s G-Sync technology, which synchronises the screen’s refresh rate with the graphics processor, to ensure the most rock-solid visual stability.
Bringing compromise-free gaming on the move
So, by crafting a range of Omen gaming laptops which bristle with the precise features and specifications that even the most hardcore gamers dream of, Hewlett-Packard has finally cracked the conundrum of how to take PC gaming mobile, without introducing the merest hint of compromise. If you’ve always dreamed of taking your gaming on the road, now you can.