If you're in the market for a pre-built PC, HP is one of the big names that you'll end up taking a look at. But unlike some of the desktop options out there, the HP Omen 45L remains upgrade friendly. It's big, imposing and attention grabbing, yet doesn't cross the line into garishness.
The HP Omen 45L is ostensibly an off-the-shelf PC, yet it doesn't look like one. Unlike a bespoke Alienware PC that could never be mistaken for anything other than an Alienware PC, the HP Omen 45L reminds me of systems housed in cases from the likes of Lian Li or Corsair.
The Omen 45L is available in a wide range of configurations. If you have the money, you can get one with a Core i9 12900K and RTX 3090, though if you've got that kind of money, waiting a few weeks or months for next-gen options would make more sense. Our review sample came with a well-balanced configuration including a Core i7 12700K and RTX 3070 Ti graphics card. The $2,279 pricing in the US is pretty straightforward, especially with regular discounts, but at AU$4,999 it's an expensive proposition in Australia.
Again, though, do check for some periodic discounts to get some money off. When that happens, especially as we get closer to the launch of next gen products, it becomes a lot more palatable in the AU$3,500 to AU$4,000 range.
As is almost always the case when buying a pre-built desktop, you'll usually be able to build your own PC for cheaper, but it requires a technical knowledge that many enthusiasts take for granted. Some people just don’t want to spend hours assembling it, installing windows, troubleshooting and generally worrying about their investment.
The market for powerful plug and play desktops isn't going away as long as the PC gaming remains popular.
Perhaps the most distinct attribute of the Omen 45L is its so-called Cryo Chamber. It's a separate chamber at the top of the case that houses a 240mm AIO radiator. This allows it to pull in cooler air from outside the PC and expel it from the top. It's not the first time something like this has been attempted, but to see it from a large OEM is refreshing. Cooling hot 2022 era components can be overlooked (I’m looking at you Alienware).
We'll see later how this affected temperatures and noise levels.
The chamber adds a lot of extra height to the case and it makes it one of the biggest gaming PCs you’ll come across. It's a whopping 55cm tall so if you're planning to put it on top of a desk, you'll need to be tall to access the ports at the top. Kids might struggle to reach the power button and it weighs a hefty 22Kg!
Our sample came with the aforementioned 12700K and RTX 3070 Ti. This is a well-balanced spec that's priced far below the top options. It offers a strong gaming performance and better performance per dollar. The 3070 Ti is a reference design, as proven by the inclusion of a 12-pin power connector. The model number of this specific model is GT22-0450t in the US or GT22-0016a in Australia.
It can be configured, as here, with 32GB of DDR4-3733 Kingston Fury RGB memory. It's not the strongest stuff around with 22-22-22 timings but that won't have much effect on real world performance. It's joined by a WD Black 1TB SN730 PCIe 3.0 SSD and a 1TB Blue SATA SSD. I believe that HP and other OEMs should allocate a few extra dollars to a much more useful 4TB HDD. If you're going to pay over 4 grand for a PC, an extra $50 or $75 for a quadruple sized HDD seems like a small price to pay.
If you peer through the tempered glass side panel of the Omen 45L, you'll notice that it looks much like any other PC does. HP deserves credit for attempting to incorporate upgradeable components. The Z690 motherboard includes a well-labeled spot for a second NVMe SSD, and there are four SATA ports. It's not quite at the level of a Z690 board that you'd buy off the shelf, but for its target audience, allowing up to six drives is definitely above average.
As the board includes DDR4 slots, you're unlikely to ever upgrade from 32GB or RAM. Perhaps the inclusion of DDR5 support would have been a step too far at a time when DDR5 was exorbitantly priced and lacking supply. No worries there.
Underneath the RTX 3070 TI is a PCIe x4 slot for installing an expansion card. I'd expect the percentage of users making use of the slot will be very low (just a guess) but it's good to have the option.
So, how about that Cryo-Chamber? It houses a 240mm AIO that's a good choice for cooling the demanding 12700K. I saw a peak temperature of 81°C, which in my opinion, is a good result for a 12700K. It remained generally quiet at all times. HP has done a great job with the cooling, striking a nice balance of acceptable temperatures while not allowing the cooler to run away and pummel your ears. Well done!
Speaking of cooling, HP clearly understands that Z690 VRM systems can be demanding on cooling, and so it has equipped the motherboard with functional—if a little unattractive—heatsinks. I'll take maximum surface area over aesthetics any day, but if you're going to have a tempered glass panel and RGB lighting, a little more thought to the design of the heatsinks wouldn't go astray.
The rear I/O ports are a bit lacking. You get six USB ports consisting of one Type-C 5Gbps, one Type-C 10Gbps, two Type-A 5Gbps and two Type-A USB 2.0. Once you add something like a printer, an external HDD, a keyboard and a mouse, all of your Type-A ports are gone already. An extra few would be nice. At least you get four on the front panel, made up of two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 5Gbps ports.
There's little else to speak of at the rear, with just audio ports and a Gigabit LAN port. 2.5G LAN would be welcome at this price. The system includes Wi-Fi 6 which will probably be more relevant to buyers of this system.
HP could offer a little bit more when it comes to system connectivity and I/O options.
A system that costs this much is going to have to offer a good level of performance, and with a 12700K, RTX 3070 Ti and 32GB of RAM, it's looking good on paper. So, onto the benchmarks, beginning with a look at general system performance.
Of the systems I have personally reviewed, the nearest competition for this spec Omen 45L is the Aftershock Ultracore and Alienware Aurora R14 Ryzen Edition. They are equipped with a 5800X3D and RTX 3070 Ti and 5900X and RTX 3080 respectively.
The 12700K of the Omen 45L generally matches or beats the 5900X in the encoding and rendering tests. That’s a testament to the strength of Intel’s 12th Gen architecture.
Hitman is interesting, as the extra cache of the Aftershock’s 5800X3D CPU gives it a nice boost, though the 12700K gives a much faster minimum FPS result. The storage result is revealing too. The Omen 45L’s aging PCIe 3.0 SSD causes it to fall behind systems with faster PCIe 4.0 drives.
Then we come to the all-important thermal performance results. The Cryo Chamber and 240mm AIO give it a nice lead over the more power thrifty Ryzen processors. The case has good airflow too. The front fans send plenty of cool air towards the GPU, and a peak temperature of 71 degrees is impressive for a relatively compact dual fan card.
Now let's see how the Omen 45L's RTX 3070 Ti handles games.
Synthetic and 1440p gaming performance
The RTX 3070 Ti is a very good choice of card if you're planning to game on a 2560 x 1440 screen. It will provide good frame rates without chugging too much power, and its cost effective. Jumping up to a 3080 or 3090 adds a lot of extra cost for relatively little benefit unless you are using a 4K monitor.
The Omen 45L's 3070 Ti and that of the Aftershock Ultracore are all but tied, though the 5800X3D of the Aftershock does manage to pull ahead on occasion. Other than the oddball Cyberpunk 2077, the Omen 45L will deliver perfectly smooth gameplay at above 60 FPS at maximum settings in most instances. Add a good quality G-Sync or adaptive sync monitor and you'll enjoy lovely smooth gameplay.
4K gaming performance
Things get a little more difficult at 4K but the 60 FPS mark is well within reach for many games. A demanding game like Metro chugs along at 55 FPS+ and will crack 60 if you dial the settings down a notch.
Is Cyberpunk 2077 this generations' Crysis or a poorly coded turd? Even next generation flagship graphics cards will struggle to run it if all of its options are turned up. Luckily, dialling back on the settings doesn't hurt visual fidelity too much.
Overall, the Omen 45L's performs as we expect a 3070 Ti system to. It will fly through games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, and provide an acceptable level of 4K performance. You can get faster cards for your Omen 45L, but they massively jump up in price and, and it wouldn’t make much sense to buy them as the launch of next gen flagship graphics cards draws closer.
The HP Omen 45L is a prebuilt PC that doesn't look like one. It looks like a PC you could just as easily have built yourself, thanks to the use of mostly standard and interchangeable parts. You will get better value and better performance if you build your own, but that requires some technical knowledge that some gamers won’t have. Don’t give a single thought to that though. You don’t have to be a PC enthusiast to enjoy PC gaming. It's the enjoyment of the game that counts!
With its 12700K and RTX 3070 Ti, this spec Omen 45L is well balanced. It performs above the level of mid-range products yet doesn’t have the steep costs of the high-end parts. You also skip the heat and cooling demands of a 12900K or 3080. This system with its separate cooling chamber and triple front intake fans means it’s easily able to handle the demands of the components within. Well done to HP for putting emphasis on the cooling of the 45L.
It looks great too. It's got a nice blend of subtlety and attention grabbing RGB good looks. It doesn't look like it belongs in a Michael Bay movie and it will blend into almost any room, though you'll need a big and sturdy desk to hold it. This thing is heavy at over 22Kg. In fact, its sheer size means it might be best suited as a floor standing PC. That way you can easily reach the front mounted I/O ports at about knee level.
If you are after a prebuilt PC, the Omen 45L is one of the better ones. It's a thoughtfully designed high-performance gaming PC. It does what it says on the box. At this price, it's very expensive, though as is often the case with these kinds of systems, you'll be able to grab it at a steep discount from time to time. It's worth ringing HP and haggling. Tell them the cost of GPUs is coming down and their prices should come down too.
Third-party systems, like the Aftershock Ultracore here is Australia, offer much greater flexibility, but building such a system requires knowledge of PC components. Some gamers just want to game while giving little thought to what's behind the side panel. If you care more about the game and less about the PC, definitely check out the Omen 45L. It's a genuinely capable and well-designed PC. But don’t pay full price, and choose your spec wisely. A system for PUBG or CS:GO doesn't need to be as powerful as one that's going to drive a triple screen sim rig.
The Omen 45L looks good, it's upgradeable, it has good cooling and a well-balanced spec. If you can get it at the right price, this spec HP Omen is a great prebuilt gaming PC.