updated 08:30 am EDT, Mon June 9, 2008
HP Blackbird 002 at Retail
HP this morning revealed ahead of a larger announcement in Berlin that it will bring its Blackbird 002 gaming system to retail. The previously online-only system will ship in a trim level targeted at the higher end of the performance spectrum with a liquid-cooled 2.66GHz Core 2 Quad, two of NVIDIA's as-yet unannounced GeForce 9800 GT video cards paired up in SLI mode, and a 500GB hard drive; the graphics are set to replace the 8800 GT and improve the clock speed of the earlier card without affecting heat output.
The system will come with 4GB of memory and ships with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit to take full advantage of the memory as well as leave room for further expansion.
The design itself is fundamentally identical to the original Voodoo PC-made platform with an elevated but ATX-standard case that allows easier expansion with five hard drive bays and a 900-watt power supply strong enough to handle multiple add-ons. HP makes the Blackbird retail model available later this summer for $3,299 and says it will reveal more specifics as to launch dates on June 29th. Amazon, Best Buy, Newegg, and several other vendors are set to carry the system.
NVIDIA hasn't said when it expects to launch the GeForce 9800 GT, though it's expected in separate reports to appear in the next few weeks.