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HP Blackbird 002 LC

Three High-End Gaming Systems Compared

The unique design of the HP Blackbird 002 case relies on a large foot to allow ventilation from underneath. Inside, this chassis supports industry-standard ATX components and HP chose what it feels are the best-available off-the-shelf parts for its market.

In addition to the base system’s slim DVD burner, HP adds a Blu-Ray burner with HD-DVD reading capabilities to the test configuration. Burn speeds of up to 4x BD-R and 2x BD-RE for the LG GGW-H10N multi-format optical drive are good, but 8x burns for old DVD±R formats are less impressive. The slim DVD burner is also limited to 8x writes, so users looking to burn DVDs quickly will probably want to order a different optical drive configuration.

A multi-format card reader pops up from atop the Blackbird 002 case, with the expected front-panel connectors beneath it. The entire assembly faces forward, easing use for those who prefer to place their computers on top of a desk.

HP employs a rather large air duct to assure directional airflow for its paired SLI graphics cards. Removing the cover reveals two EVGA-branded GeForce GTX 280 units, clocked at 621 MHz GPU with GDDR3-2268 memory.

HP uses Asetek’s “Low Cost Liquid Cooling” maintenance-free cooling system, with a twin-fan radiator. Screws with tension springs keep the pump/water block assembly in constant contact with the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor, which HP has mildly overclocked to 3.60 GHz.

Corsair sells several models of overclocked memory, but HP didn’t bother to custom-configure the installed DDR3-1600 CAS 8 sticks. Instead, the modules were left at their detected DDR3-1333 CAS 9 settings.

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