Update: Pricing is live on HP's site. The new Exhiliration Edition starts at $6,600, and that gets you 2GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM, two 160GB 10k hard drives, as well as a separate 1TB drive for storage, along with the other specs previously mentioned. This also appears to be something of a deal, as similar specs from other vendors cost at minimum about $400 more. HP's site says "limited time starting" near the price, which we take to mean the price may go up, not that the hardware is a limited run.
Rather than adding new components piecemeal to its high-end Blackbird 002 gaming desktop, HP has decided to pick its spots a little more carefully. If you have an eye on a Blackbird 002, then, you'll be glad to know that with today's announcement of Nvidia's new GeForce GTX280 3D graphics chip, HP has finally decided that the time is right for a revamp of the Blackbird's specs.
The changes come by way of a fixed-configuration Exhiliration Edition. Included in the as-yet unannounced price (we're trying to dig it up), you get Intel's top-end Core 2 Extreme QX9770 quad core CPU, an Nvidia NForce 790i Ultra motherboard, support for 1,600 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, a pair of spanking new GeForce GTX280 3D cards, a multiformat HD-optical drive (not a burner), and 64-bit Vista Ultimate. All of that represents the latest in high-end componentry.
A few things to keep in mind before you crack open the money bin. The press release does not mention that the CPU is overclocked. Alienware, Dell, Falcon Northwest, and Maingear, among others, all offer the QX9770 Intel chip with a factory-provided speed boost, up to 4GHz from its 3.2GHz stock speed. It seems a shame that HP apparently doesn't follow suit.
The release also mentions that the 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM is upgradeable to 4GB, suggesting that the system itself comes with less (2GB, we'd guess). And of course without a price, we have no way to compare this new Blackbird with systems from others. The case may be unique to HP, but the core hardware is available from all of the major players. For example, Alienware and Falcon Northwest have both added a GTX280 option to their configurators already, and we expect the other gaming PC vendors will follow suit, as well.