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HP to launch custom gaming rigs

Watch out, system builders

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HP is to challenge on system builders next month when it launches the Compaq X, a high-performance gaming oriented PC that the company will custom-build for buyers.

HP's pitch is that the Compaq X will be offered with a far wider range of component options than its more mainstream desktops. That, it hopes, will attract the attention of gamers who might otherwise buy from a specialist games system builder, such as Alienware or VoodooPC, or even build their own system.

Not that the desktops will be totally customisable. While HP isn't saying quite how many options it will offer, it did admit that some components, in particular the motherboard, are likely to be standard across all machines depending on whether buyers choose an Intel or AMD CPU. Intel systems will be based on PCI Express chipsets from launch - AMD boxes will gain PCI Express over time. Ditto DDR 2.

HP will be using Cooler Master's Wave Master case, which incorporates eight USB 2.0 ports and a nine-in-one memory card reader. For the innards, HP said it will offer a variety of optical drives, Serial ATA hard drives in single or RAID configurations, and graphics cards from ATI and Nvidia.

The company said the machines and the purchasing web site behind them will go live in June or July. Clearly HP is waiting for Intel to offer its Grantsdale and Alderwood chipsets - hence the references to PCI Express and DDR 2. ®

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