[CES 2022] HP OMEN 45L review: Still a beast with a new design and better cooling

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CES 2022 SMALL

CES 2022 is underway and the new device announcements are in full swing. Fortunately for us, a few companies send out products for us to take a first look or full review of before the show. HP is one of those and sent us their latest gaming desktop along with a complete package of peripherals and the HP OMEN 27c gaming monitor. We’ll be reviewing a few of those over the coming weeks, but today we’re looking at the desktop itself.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Our HP OMEN 45L review takes a look at a beast of a gaming desktop that has a separate, unique liquid cooling Cryo Chamber for the CPU, offering a big improvement over last year’s OMEN 30L. In addition, HP will be selling just the chassis by itself for those looking to build their own system. Read on for our full review and see why it earned our Best of CES 2022: Gaming Desktop award!

Specifications

The HP OMEN 45L we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):

Processor12th Generation Intel® Core™ i9-12900K processor with liquid cooling
Processor speed3.20 GHz
Cache30MB Cache
Memory• HyperX® 64 GB DDR4-3733 MHz XMP Heatsink RAM (4x16GB) (expandable to 128 GB unbuffered with 32 GB DIMMs)
• 4 DIMM (288-pin) total slots
Internal storage2x 2 TB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 Solid State Drive
Video graphicsNVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3090 graphics card with 24 GB GDDR6X dedicated memory
Network interface10/100/1000 Base-T Network
Wireless connectivityWi-Fi 6 (2×2) and Bluetooth® Combo (Supporting Gigabit file transfer speeds, MU-MIMO supported)
Sound 5.1 surround sound
Expansion slots• PCI-E Gen 4 x16 (unavailable)
• PCI-E Gen 3 x4 (available)
• 3x M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSD slots (two available)
Expansion bays• HDD: 2 internal 3.5″
• SDD: 2 internal 2.5″
External ports• Headphone/Microphone Combo, Microphone Jack
• Front I/O: 2x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate, 2x USB2.0 Type-A
• Rear: 1x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate, 1x SuperSpeed USB Type-A 10Gbps signaling rate, 2x USB 2.0 Type-A, 1x SuperSpeed USB Type-C® 5Gbps signaling rate, 1x SuperSpeed USB Type-C® 10Gbps signaling rate(42)
• HDMI
• 3 DisplayPort™
Multi-display capableDisplayPort and HDMI capabilities, NVIDIA® Surround™ multi-display technology, support for Microsoft® DirectX® 12
Mouse and keyboardHP 310 black wired keyboard and mouse combo
Power supply800W 80 Plus Gold certified ATX power supply
FinishTempered glass front bezel and side panel with EMC protection
Operating systemWindows 11 Home
Additional features• OMEN Cryo Chamber: enables liquid cooling with fresh air to cool CPU
• OMEN Gaming Hub: one place for everything to make your gaming experience better
• OMEN Light Studio: personalize lighting options using a variety of effects like ambient, wave, interactive and more through one app
Dimensions8.03 in (W) x 18.50 in (D) x 21.85 in (H) approx.
Weight49.82 lb approx.
Warranty and support• 1-year limited hardware warranty. Additional information available at www.support.hp.com
• 1-year limited technical support for software and initial setup (from date of purchase)

What’s in the box

  • HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop
  • HP 310 black wired keyboard and mouse combo
  • Power cable

Design

As is typical with ATX style cases, the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop is rectangular in shape. It stands just over 8″ wide, about 18 1/2″ in depth, and just over 21 3/4″ in height. What is different than other ATX desktop cases is the gap. About 17 3/4″ up, there is a 1 5/8″ gap between the main unit and the 2 1/2″ Cyro Chamber. This chamber is the new cooling feature from the company. With grilles on the bottom and top, a pair of fans and a liquid cooling system cool the CPU with fresh air pulled up from the bottom of it. As a result, HP claims the CPU runs up to 6°C cool at full load. While our review unit had two 120mm fans, the system can handle anywhere between one and three fans and a liquid cooler up to 360mm. The fans can be easily upgraded as the top panel pops off easily. In addition, this gap doubles as a convenient carrying handle, making it easy to move the OMEN 45L around.

The bottom gap for airflow into the CRYO CHAMBER on the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop
The bottom gap for airflow into the Cryo Chamber on the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop.

The front of the system has a glass panel and three RGB LED fans. Again, there is a small 3/8″ gap up the left and right side of the front panel, allowing for fresh air intake. Located on the top of the front is the OMEN wordmark and RGB LED OMEN diamond. On the top of the system, just in front of the Cryo Chamber are a headset jack, microphone jack, four USB Type-A ports (two SuperSpeed, two USB 2.0), and the power button. While the ports here are convenient, due to the height of the case it can make for a bit of a messy setup when you have peripherals connected to them.

On the left side of the case, the HP OMEN 45L features a tempered glass side panel with the words 45L printed in black on the bottom left. Just under the Cryo Chamber on either side is a quick release “Internal Access” button. When pressed, the left and right side panels pop off easily, allowing easy access to the internal components. On that note, the system as configured came with a motherboard that has plenty of expansion slots and bays including a PCE-E Gen 4 x16, PCI-E Gen 3 x4, three M.2, and four 288-pin DIMM slots, as well as two internal 3.5″ HDD and two 2.5″ SSD bays. Just under the top of the case is an internal LED strip for ambient lighting. The CPU is liquid-cooled and there are a total of four 120mm fans in it, although the system does support up to seven. The left panel is metal, and when popped off, gamers can access the LED lighting control unit with aRGB support to add more RGB LEDs.

On the back of the computer, you’ll find even more ports. These include two more SuperSpeed USB Type-A ports (one 5Gbps, the other 10Gbps), two USB Type-C ports (again, one 5Gbps, the other 10Gbps), two USB 2.0 Type-A, an Ethernet port, and three headphone/microphone jacks. In the case of our review unit, it also had one HDMI and three DisplayPort video outputs. Finally, the standard power plug is located near the bottom of the system.

The left side of the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop with side panel removed
The left side of the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop with the side panel removed.

HP really highlighted customizability and future-proofing with the OMEN 45L. While I covered some of it above, a complete list of the potential upgrades include:

  • up to 7x 120mm system fans (3 front, 1 rear, 3 Cryo Chamber)
  • Up to 360mm CPU liquid cooler, up to 170mm liquid cooler pump clearance
  • Up to 380mm graphics card support with 3-slot design
  • Up to 200mm ATX power supply support
  • 4x DDR4 memory DIMM slots
  • 2x M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSD slots
  • 2x 3.5″ SATA HDD tool-less trays behind PSU shroud
  • 2x 2.5″ SATA SSD tool-less trays behind the motherboard for end user upgrade
  • 1x PCEe x4 expansion slot
  • Motherboard industry standard for Micro ATX (244 x 244mm) or Full ATX (244 x 305mm)

As you can see, the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop has a solid design with lots of cooling and upgradeability options. They also have a handy (albeit long, but thankfully bookmarked if you hit the actual video on YouTube) video on how to repair/upgrade the various components in the system.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsHKsMrSqhI

Software

The HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop is the first system we’ve tested that comes with Windows 11 Home on board. While Windows 10 is a solid operating system, Windows 11 is now here and offers some pretty interesting upgrades for gamers. I won’t go too much into detail on these as that may be a post for another day, but there are some pretty cool features. These include Auto HDR, Xbox Game Pass integrated with the Xbox App and Xbox Cloud Gaming, DirectStorage that makes load times even shorter on SSDs which allows for faster loading times, and more. Overall, Windows 11 works well for gaming and for the most part, offers similar performance to Windows 10.

As for other software, the HP OMEN 45L also ships with HP Enhanced Lighting, HP PC Hardware Diagnostics, HP Privacy Settings, HP QuickDrop, HP Smart, HP Support Assitant, HP System Event Utility, and the OMEN Gaming Hub. The latter is one you’ll use the most as it allows you to configure your lighting, view system stats like CPU and GPU temperature, overclock your CPU and memory (where supported), control your fan speeds, boost your network for gaming priority, and adjust the power mode. Users can also install the optional OMEN Light Studio which gives you even more control over your system lighting.

Performance

There’s no doubt the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop sent us to review is a beast. With its TODO, I expected nothing but stellar gaming performance from it. Fortunately, I have a number of different screen resolutions to test it on and test it I did. Here are the average framerates for the games I tested on their highest graphics quality settings:

FHDQHDUWQHDDQHD4K UHD
Call of Duty: Warzone178 fps153 fps138 fps90 fps98 fps
Dirt 5162 fps138 fps117 fps93 fps94 fps
Forza Horizon 4226 fps210 fps198 fps163 fps160 fps
Forza Horizon 5120 fps107 fps97 fps73 fps81 fps
Gears Tactics190 fps139 fps112 fps82 fps76 fps
Heroes of the Storm300 fps260 fps220 fps195 fps200 fps
Middle-Earth: Shadow of War208 fps173 fps189 fps130 fps136 fps
Tomb Raider425 fps299 fps249 fps185 fps156 fps
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Riverside)263 fps213 fps 183 fps141 fps172 fps
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Lab X)179 fps181 fps177 fps143 fps175 fps
World War Z (with Vulkan enabled)324 fps242 fpsunsupported unsupported133 fps

As you can see, this gaming desktop (as tested) offers up a wide range of resolutions with higher framerates. It was pretty quiet for the most part, although the fans did ramp up a few times. The system never got overly hot either, even after extended gaming sessions. Both the fan above the Cryo Chamber and the inside of the case felt fairly cool, cooler than the fan exhaust I’ve felt on other systems in the past.

The ports on the top of the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop
The ports on the top of the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop.

Price/Value

The HP OMEN 45L starts at US$1899.99. This configuration includes a Ryzen 7 5800X, integrated graphics, 16GB of HyperX 3733 RAM, and a 512GB NVME M.2 SSD. A similar configuration with an Intel i7-12700K and RTX 3060 will also be available starting at $1999.99. Our review unit, which HP indicated was a special build, rolls in around the $5000 mark so the sky’s really the limit with this gaming desktop as far as components are concerned. If you’re not interested in the Cryo Chamber, you can also pick up the new, smaller 40L starting at $1809.99.

While the HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop can be purchased pre-configured, the company will also be selling the 45L ATX chassis by itself, allowing gamers to build and configure their own system.

Wrap-up

If you’re looking for your next gaming desktop or ATX case, the HP OMEN 45L is a clear winner. Not only does it have a solid design, but the separate Cryo Chamber offers additional and better liquid-cooling for your CPU. Easily expandable and customizable, this desktop should last you for quite a few years should you pick on up. These features and more made the OMEN 45L an easy shoo-in for our Best of CES 2022: Gaming Desktop award.

Last Updated on January 7, 2022.

HP OMEN 45L

US$1899.99+

Design

9.5/10

Software

9.0/10

Performance

10.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Solid design
  • Unique Cryo Chamber adds extra CPU liquid-cooling
  • Plenty of ports/expansion slots
  • Easily upgradeable
  • Different configurations avaialble
  • ATX case available as standalone purchase

Needs work

  • Still need a separate app for HyperX memory RGB (OMEN Gaming Hub to be updated soon)
  • While conveniently located, the front port positioning would be better suited on the front or side
HP OMEN 45L gaming desktop
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