With component prices so terrible right now, computer builder are starting to eye prebuilt PCs as the quickest way to replace an aging system—or scratch that itch for a brand-new gaming rig. We ourselves have even recommended buying a prebuilt PC instead of going DIY as a strategy.
But some DIY builders remain skeptical of prebuilts, especially those from big companies like Dell and HP, and for good reason. Not so long ago, prebuilt gaming PCs came equipped with proprietary motherboards and power supplies, making common DIY upgrades difficult. (You couldn’t easily swap in a beefier graphics card, for example.) The parts in those same prebuilts often didn’t perform as well as what you could get off-the-shelf for a DIY build.
But as you’ll see in the video above, we cracked open an HP Omen 30L to find that times have changed. Not only does the Omen line sport configurations with high-end hardware like Core i9 processors and RTX 3080 graphics cards, but the 25L and 30L models are designed for easy upgrades down the line. Getting into our 30L’s case was a snap, and components like the CPU cooler and power supply are simple to replace. Adding more storage is a breeze, too.
That’s true for both experienced DIY builders and complete PC novices. HP designed the Omen to steer newbies in the right direction, while not getting in the way of seasoned veterans. Not only can you download a service manual from the company’s website, but the key areas in the PC are simple to access or clearly labeled. Conversely, areas that could get an inexperienced builder in trouble are more out of reach. This training-wheels approach feels smart, especially for anyone who has to provide remote support to a friend or family member trying to do upgrades on their own for the first time.
This thoughtful design isn’t the biggest plus of the Omen 30L, however—unlike smaller boutique builders like iBuyPower and CyberPower PC, prices haven’t risen as quickly on HP’s premium gaming PCs. That advantage held by juggernauts like HP and Dell has always existed, but it’s a real boon in combination with the fresher, more DIY-friendly approach. You can see all the details in our video, and check out the available configurations (which change based on real-time supply) at HP’s online store.
Alaina Yee is PCWorld's resident bargain hunter—when she's not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she's scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.