How to Save Money and Upgrade Your Gaming Setup With HP
Is it cheaper to upgrade to a pre-built gaming PC or should you build your own? In the past, it was an easy answer leaning heavily toward DIY — granted, you had both the time and the know-how to build your own computer. But this year has introduced a new challenge to the equation: What happens when the components you need to finish your computer aren’t available on the market?
This is the state of graphics cards in 2021.
The demand for the newest line of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards is currently through the roof. Retailers like Best Buy and Newegg sell out almost instantly whenever the cards are listed online, and scalpers are ballooning prices to ridiculous numbers on the aftermarket. Unless you’re willing to pay the scalpers their due, finding the graphics card you want for your build will be slightly inconvenient as the market sorts itself out.
Navigating through all the build options to customize the best machine for the price can be a bit challenging, though. But don’t worry! We’ll walk you through the ins-and-outs of our recommendation of the best pre-built gaming setup by HP below. Building your own computer was the undisputed best way to save money, but at this point in time pre-built setups are also worth your attention.
The Best HP Pre-Built Gaming Setup
OMEN 30L Desktop, Starting at $1,149.99
This guide will focus on the OMEN 30L Desktop and our picks on what to upgrade. Below, we’ll highlight each component, from the GPU and CPU to the ram, storage, and more.
Please note that the Omen 30L Desktop was available during HP’s President’s Day sale and the product details, prices and deals listed throughout may have changed since. With that said, HP is running their HP Days Sale on the week of March 7th, making it a great time for you to find the best HP deals on current stock.
Keep in mind that the prices and deals listed throughout are subject to change.
Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, +$340
Let’s get the most exciting item out of the way first: the graphics card. This piece is a big reason why someone who knows how to build a computer might still buy a pre-built one in 2021.
The reason the graphics card market is so hot right now is because new models that can handle 4K gaming have been released at consumer-friendly prices. Real-time ray tracing is the future of improved computer graphics, and the sophisticated way this card handles lighting, shadows, and reflections is jaw-dropping. The two cards leading the way this generation are the Nvidia GeForce 30 series and the AMD Ryzen Rx graphics cards, and HP has the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 card available on their HP Omen 30L Desktop.
Upgrading to the RTX 3070 card is 100% essential. It sets you on the current generation of graphics cards and gives you a 65% performance boost over the base GTX 1660 Ti card. If the RTX 3070 card were to go out of stock, do not upgrade to the RTX 2080 Ti—more expensive in this case does not mean more desirable. While the RTX 2080 Ti card outperforms the RTX 2060 Super, it isn’t as future-proof as the RTX 3070. The only reason it’s more expensive than the RTX 3070 is because it’s no longer being manufactured and supply is running out.
CPU: Intel i5-10600k
The graphics card may be the most attention-grabbing component of a computer, but picking the right CPU is just as important. The processing power of a CPU chip is what allows your computer to retrieve and interpret instructions, and complete tasks. When building your HP desktop, you will have to decide whether you want an Intel or AMD processor, and it’s a fairly even battle. Those who are only focused on gaming would do fine with an Intel i5 chip, but AMD is considered to be a more well-rounded chip that can also handle tasks like streaming and video editing.
Our initial pick would have been to go with the AMD Ryzen 5 3600 chip due to its versatility in handling different workloads, but during the writing of this guide the package was removed from the HP website.
Now, the discussion pivots to whether you should stick with the Intel i5-10600k chip or upgrade to the i7-10700k chip for $170. For a pure gaming experience and nothing more, the six cores in the i5 are more than enough to fuel your gaming. Users who are looking to use production softwares for design, 3D modeling, or music production could feel the extra speed with the i7.
Memory: HyperX 16 GB, +$110
There was a time when 8 GB of memory guaranteed fast gaming speeds, but as programs grow more complex, 8 GB is now the bare minimum for gaming. The average computer user is multitasking for most of their session, and each program that is running takes a little bit of temporary memory that eventually adds up. Are you someone who regularly has 20 tabs open on your internet browser while alt-tabbing between gaming sessions and watching Netflix on your second monitor? If so, your RAM is hard at work.
To guarantee smooth gaming sessions, do yourself a favor and pay the extra $110 for the HyperX 16 GB option. The 16 GB threshold can safely handle even the most demanding games. If you’re using video editing software or music production software, you might have the case for upgrading to 32 GB. Just keep in mind that the Omen 30L desktop is customizable and you can upgrade your RAM at a later date if you somehow outgrow the 16 GB.
Storage: Western Digital Black 1 TB SSD, +$140
If you’re a gamer, more storage space is always a must. But where is the sweet spot of necessity versus luxury? Here’s another question: Did you know that Call of Duty games are often close to 200 GB in size? If you regularly play triple-A games or have a big collection of games, this outright excludes the base 256 GB SSD right off the bat. Even the 512 GB option might not be enough for gamers who play multiple titles.
Because larger SSDs generally perform better and faster than smaller SSDs, it’s clear that the $140 Western Digital 1 TB SSD upgrade is the best option for most gamers. SSDs also reduce the loading times of games, so having a high-performing solid-state drive can really make a difference in your gaming experience.
For users wanting extra storage, upgrading to the 2 TB SSD option is more than double the price of 1 TB. Unless money isn’t an option, a more cost-effective way to beef up your storage would be by adding a secondary 1 TB SATA hard drive for $40.
Total Cost to Upgrade Your HP Gaming Setup
When it’s all said and done, your machine will come out to $1,520.99 plus tax, with a savings of $369 on the total order. If you still have some cash leftover after completing your build, check out some of the following accessories to round out your purchase.
Recommended Gaming Accessories
Monitor: OMEN 27i, $499
Now that you have a 1440p capable machine, take advantage of your 3070 RTX graphics card with a high-refresh monitor that is up to the task. The HP OMEN 27i Monitor is G-Sync certified by Nvidia and ensures smooth, tear-free gaming with a 165Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time in overdrive. The Omen 27i is very competitive at its price point and a choice that many gamers make for their gaming monitor.
Headset: OMEN Blast, $79.99
The HP OMEN Blast are a great introduction to gaming headphones. They’re large, in charge, and comfortable around the ear. Despite their imposing size, they aren’t as heavy as they look and make for a cozy experience during long game sessions. The headset comes with a retractable noise-canceling microphone for clear communication when playing with friends, and the 7.1 surround sound audio is immersive enough to keep you gaming for hours on end.
The HP Omen Blast headset is currently out of stock, so keep your eyes peeled on HP's website for updates on a restock. Also, it may be worthwhile to check out similar headphones with top-notch quality, such as the OMEN Headset 800, HP X1000 Wireless Gaming Headset, and OMEN by HP Mindframe Prime Headset.
Gaming Mice: OMEN Vector, $29.99 or OMEN Photon, $129.99
If you’re looking for a basic everyday gaming mouse, the OMEN Vector Essential Mouse for $29.99 is a solid choice. For a more sophisticated wireless mouse with great battery life and 11 programmable buttons, the OMEN by HP Photon Wireless Mouse for $129.99 is HP’s answer to high-performance gaming.