HP's newly announced Firebird high-performance desktop PC was on display at CES. We get our hands dirty with it.
The HP Firebird with Voodoo DNA is a high-end desktop PC designed for demanding applications, such as gaming and video editing. The system is unlike traditional high-performance desktops as it is considerably slim in size and relatively quiet, yet unfortunately it lacks the same expansion capabilities.
Highlights of the system include a quad core Intel processor, a Nvidia-based MXM SLI graphics solution, a 30-decibel noise level and a factory sealed liquid cooling system that keeps the processor, chipset and graphics cards cooled. Another neat feature that helps keeps the system slim and quiet is the use of an external 350-watt power supply brick, which surprisingly provides enough power to the system while remaining mostly unobtrusive in size.
The HP Firebird comes equipped with dual 2.5-inch 5400 RPM hard drives that can easily be removed from the system, 4 GB of DDR2 memory and the Nvidia nForce 760S chipset. The provided dual Nvidia Geforce 9800S graphics solution is powerful enough to run modern games smoothly, as was demonstrated, and when such performance is unneeded, the system's on-board graphics can be enabled instead to conserve power.
The system comes with two PCIe x8 MXM slots and two PCIe x1 mini socket slots, although both the PCIe x8 MXM slots are occupied by the two graphics cards. There are no traditional PCIe or PCI slots available, so the system's upgradability seems a bit limited.
There are two configurations of the HP Firebird available: the Firebird with Voodoo DNA 803 PC and the the Firebird with Voodoo DNA 802 PC. The Firebird 802 is priced at $1799, which comes equipped with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 2.66 GHz processor, a DVD drive and 500 GB of storage capacity. For an extra $300, the Firebird 803 PC comes with a faster Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83 GHz processor, slightly more hard drive space, a transparent side panel with internal lighting, a Blu-ray drive and a Creative Labs X-Fi Mini PCI audio card.