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!
Table of contents
The HP OMEN 45L we reviewed has the following features and specifications (configurable when ordering):
|Processor||12th Generation Intel® Core™ i9-12900K processor with liquid cooling|
|Processor speed||3.20 GHz|
|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 storage||2x 2 TB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 Solid State Drive|
|Video graphics||NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3090 graphics card with 24 GB GDDR6X dedicated memory|
|Network interface||10/100/1000 Base-T Network|
|Wireless connectivity||Wi-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)
• 3 DisplayPort™
|Multi-display capable||DisplayPort and HDMI capabilities, NVIDIA® Surround™ multi-display technology, support for Microsoft® DirectX® 12|
|Mouse and keyboard||HP 310 black wired keyboard and mouse combo|
|Power supply||800W 80 Plus Gold certified ATX power supply|
|Finish||Tempered glass front bezel and side panel with EMC protection|
|Operating system||Windows 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
|Dimensions||8.03 in (W) x 18.50 in (D) x 21.85 in (H) approx.|
|Weight||49.82 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
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
|Call of Duty: Warzone||178 fps||153 fps||138 fps||90 fps||98 fps|
|Dirt 5||162 fps||138 fps||117 fps||93 fps||94 fps|
|Forza Horizon 4||226 fps||210 fps||198 fps||163 fps||160 fps|
|Forza Horizon 5||120 fps||107 fps||97 fps||73 fps||81 fps|
|Gears Tactics||190 fps||139 fps||112 fps||82 fps||76 fps|
|Heroes of the Storm||300 fps||260 fps||220 fps||195 fps||200 fps|
|Middle-Earth: Shadow of War||208 fps||173 fps||189 fps||130 fps||136 fps|
|Tomb Raider||425 fps||299 fps||249 fps||185 fps||156 fps|
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Riverside)||263 fps||213 fps||183 fps||141 fps||172 fps|
|Wolfenstein: Youngblood (Lab X)||179 fps||181 fps||177 fps||143 fps||175 fps|
|World War Z (with Vulkan enabled)||324 fps||242 fps||unsupported||unsupported||133 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 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.
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.
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Last Updated on January 7, 2022.
HP OMEN 45LUS$1899.99+
- 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
- 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