Modular off-the-shelf components
Fast Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU
Terrible airflow and temperature management
About the HP Omen 25L
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- CPU Cooler: HP Omen proprietary heatsink
- Memory: HyperX Fury 8GB DDR4 3200MHz RAM
- Memory Slots: 2 DIMM up to 16GB DDR4-3200MHz
- Storage: Western Digital Black 256GB PCIe 3.0 M.2 SSD
- Motherboard: HP ATX Moria 3 87C3 AMD B450
- Front Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 Type A; 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack; 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack
- Back Ports (Motherboard): 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2; 1 x USB C 3.0; 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1; 1 x Ethernet; 1 x 3.5mm microphone jack; 1 x 3.5mm audio out jack; 1 x 3.5mm audio in jack
- Back Ports (Graphics card): 1 x HDMI 2.0; 3 x DisplayPort
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition Custom Graphics Card
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5
- Power Supply: Cooler Master Bronze 500W ATX Power Supply
- Weight: 25.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 6.5 x 15.53 x 17.05 in
- Accessories: HP wired Keyboard and Mouse combo
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
The HP Omen 25L is a midsize modular tower gaming PC, meaning it offers plenty of support for aftermarket hardware and accessories. We tested what we consider to be the best value configuration that you can buy direct from HP, although the Omen 25L can be configured with an Intel processor and other graphics cards in the Nvidia GeForce family.
Like all off-the-shelf PCs, it comes fully built, but the inside can be accessed and modified by removing the glass side panel.
What we like
Most of its parts are easily reusable or replaceable
When you’re buying a standalone PC, you have three options: an all-in-one where the PC is built into the display (like the iMac), a DIY tower where you pick out and assemble all the components yourself, or a fully pre-built PC (like the Omen 25L) from a manufacturer.
When it comes to prebuilt PCs, there is a surprising amount of variance in how modular the parts are. Thankfully, the HP Omen 25L is easy to modify with aftermarket or replacement parts down the line. Every component in the PC is replaceable, although you will need to make sure they fit in the rather slim case. We were barely able to squeeze in an EVGA Supernova 850W ATX power supply (a.k.a a big chunky model), which may be necessary if you wanted to add a more powerful GPU down the line.
More importantly, many of its replaceable parts aren’t necessarily worth replacing for most people. Its Ryzen 5 3600 CPU is an excellent processor, as is its Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU and its HyperX Fury RAM. Because we got a model with 8GB of RAM, we would recommend getting another 8GB RAM module to fit into the motherboard’s second RAM slot.
While we did replace the power supply to see how complicated it would be, the Omen’s included power supply is decent—the 80+ Bronze Efficiency 500W Cooler Master PSU it comes with will be plenty of power for demanding AAA games. The Bronze rating means that it is over eighty percent efficient at drawing power, which keeps your power draw from spiking too high and helps your power supply and PC components last longer (as spikes can reduce their lifespan).
It has a nice aesthetic
While the Omen 25L doesn’t have the most unique aesthetic out there, it’s hard to deny that it’s beautiful. The front diamond lights up with an RGB header that’s fully customizable on HP’s Omen Gaming Center software, although it looks beautiful as the default frosty white as well. The stock CPU cooler and the top of the case also have customizable RGB lighting to make your Omen truly yours.
The dark gunmetal finish on the front panel paired with the glass side panel give the Omen the “gamer” edge that RGB fans love, but it’s also classy enough to please those who prefer a more subdued aesthetic. When you look through the glass panel, the insides of the PC look clean thanks to the tucked away cables and all-black components.
It can run 4K games at reasonable frame rates
With an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU and an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU, it’s no surprise that the HP Omen 25L is a capable gaming machine. You should have little trouble running 1080p games at very high frame rates, and even most 4K games will run at or above 60 frames per second. The monstrously demanding game Cyberpunk 2077 ran at about 45 frames per second at 4K with ray tracing enabled (if you’re new to ray tracing, it’s a power-hungry way of generating shadows and reflections that makes games look more realistic than ever).
Meanwhile, Shadow of the Tomb Raider averaged about 47 frames per second at 4K highest graphics, and Overwatch consistently hovered around 150 frames per second on 4K highest graphics. Unless you’re running Microsoft Flight Simulator in VR on its most realistic graphics settings, you probably won’t run into trouble with the RTX 3070.
For more varied tasks, the Omen’s Ryzen 5 processor is fantastic. Streaming, movie editing, and multitasking are all smooth and painless. In Cinebench R23, the Omen 25L scored a respectable 9,150 points, which puts it close to Intel’s premium Core i7 10700 CPU. Unless you’re a dedicated streamer or frequent 3D animator, you probably won’t even get close to maxing out the Ryzen 5’s capabilities.
What we don’t like
It underperforms because of terrible cooling
Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues with the HP Omen 25L, and it all starts with its underwhelming cooling performance. While the PC is clearly capable of quality 4K gaming, many elements in the HP Omen 25L hold back the powerful hardware’s potential, leaving both the Ryzen 5 and RTX 3070 to perform under expectations by 5% or more.
Within a minute of booting up Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the CPU’s temperatures surpass 85 degrees Celsius and the GPU peaks at 93 degrees Celsius—way, way too hot for safe performance, let alone optimal performance. Past 95 degrees Celsius, the CPU and GPU can both sustain thermal damage, and keeping close to 95 degrees will wear away at their lives much more quickly.
The main issue is that the cooling is inadequate for the powerful CPU and GPU, despite the case being large enough. Let’s compare the 25-liter Omen 25L’s thermal performance to my personal small form factor (SFF) PC, built in a 7-liter DAN A4 case. Normally, more liters mean more air to cool a PC, so you should expect SFF PCs to run hotter than their larger counterparts. At idle, both the DAN’s and the HP Omen’s components are about 40 degrees. When running OCCT, a benchmarking software, the HP Omen takes about 30 seconds for its CPU to climb to 95 degrees.
Meanwhile, the DAN’s water-cooled CPU never surpassed 72 degrees when it ran the same benchmarks for a full minute. Mind you, 72 degrees is still hot, and it has an unfair advantage with water cooling, but the HP Omen’s 25-liter case is more than large enough to accommodate a similarly effective cooling system to keep the temperatures at least below 75 degrees (and ideally below 70 degrees).
So, if the “large” HP Omen 25L is so big, why does it run so hot? Well, size isn’t everything: the HP Omen’s stock cooler and stock case fan push far too little air to cool everything inside the PC. Because of the case’s structure, the GPU and PSU receive inadequate airflow, and the case overall has negative airflow (which means it’s pushing hot air out without pulling cold air in). There are very few vents around the case—just one on top, one next to (but not below!) the PSU, and one where the rear fan is located. The two front grilles are only decorative.
Furthermore, there are too few spots to improve the Omen’s cooling situation yourself. The only cooling mount is the one occupied by the rear case fan, so adding additional fans means you’ll have to DIY mounts with zip ties. This isn’t normal. The average PC case has at least three fan mounts, and a good one will have more. If the Omen had mounts for water cooling—which is an excellent choice for small, air-restricted cases—then it would make the airflow situation less serious, but there are no mounts.
The case is starved for features, air, and ergonomics
Aside from the cooling situation mentioned above, the Omen 25L has many other oversights with its case. The glass panel is thankfully simple to remove (just press a big button on the top of the rear panel), but the front, top, and side panels require a lot more finagling. Additionally, if you need to swap out components with cables, like the power supply, removing the stock cables and organizing any new cables was more hassle than I’m used to with PC cases—it required a lot of tight weaving around the case in hopes of hiding the cables without squeezing them. Finally, because of the case’s negative airflow and its non-removable dust filters, cleaning it will be problematic in the long run.
Considering you can get an excellent case these days for under a hundred dollars, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to just ditch this case. Aside from the aesthetics, it doesn’t offer anything that you can’t find elsewhere, and it’s missing a lot of features that will make your life easier—removable dust filters, plenty of air vents, fan and cooling mounts, moveable risers and mounts, and a dedicated PSU compartment.
The motherboard is disturbingly flimsy
While the power supply, CPU, GPU chip, RAM, and SSD are all made by other companies, the motherboard is HP’s own handiwork. At first, I was annoyed to find only one M.2 slot on it (many boards have two or more slots for your SSDs) and not as much RAM potential as I’d hoped, but I quickly found more grave faults with the motherboard. The sloppy soldering, dirty back and exposed rails leave the user with ample opportunity to fry or bend something on the motherboard. However, the worst offense is its flimsiness.
Some flimsy or cheap components are frankly to be expected in prebuilt PCs, but the motherboard is the most important component of a PC, and this motherboard is so bendable that I was genuinely worried about breaking it every time I plugged or unplugged a connector on it. No one should ever worry about breaking parts by using them as intended, and especially not worry about one of a PC’s most critical components.
Underwhelming software package and accessories
If HP cheaped out on the PC’s most critical features, it shouldn’t be a surprise the extras and accessories were little more than an afterthought. The motherboard’s BIOS doesn’t have much on it, so you can’t mess with your components’ performance. Meanwhile, the HP Omen Command Center software is more a marketplace than a control center, with the only PC settings truly modifiable being the RGB lights. You can also monitor the CPU and GPU temperatures. Woo.
If you were hoping to save on a keyboard and mouse purchase, you’ll be disappointed to know the Omen’s included ones are less than adequate for gaming. HP packs a basic wired mouse and keyboard that were uncomfortable for me after a half hour, let alone a day, and they’re not customizable.
Recommended upgrades and modifications
If you can find a more fully-featured prebuilt PC with an RTX 3070, by all means go for it. However, if you’re in love with the HP Omen 25L’s aesthetic (that’s fair) or you just can’t find a better PC for sale around you, then there is a lot you can do to improve the experience. That’s the beauty of modular PCs.
For the HP Omen 25L, we recommend you upgrade the CPU cooler and case fan ASAP. Cooling is this PC’s greatest flaw, and fan coolers are not expensive. You should be able to replace the rear fan with any standard 92mm fan out there. We chose to go with the Noctua 92mm NF-B9 redux fan to replace the rear case fan, which is quiet, powerful, and relatively affordable.
For the CPU cooler, you will need a cooler that fits an AM4 bracket (this is the mount that AMD Ryzen 3rd and 4th gen CPUs use), is no more than 135mm tall, and has a 35mm RAM clearance (your RAM clearance must be at least the height of your RAM modules; we’ve provided you with the HyperX Fury’s height, but make sure to check your RAM’s height if you replace the Omen’s stock module). We went with the Noctua NH-D9L CPU cooler, which is 110mm tall and very easy to install.
As far as performance and features go, the Omen 25L’s case is nothing to write home about. There are a lot of excellent and fashionable cases for reasonable prices these days, like the $50 Cooler Master Masterbox Q300L or the pricier $115 Cooler Master NR200P.
Other easy upgrades to make include adding more RAM (up to 2 x 16GB of 3200MHz RAM is supported), upgrading the 256GB SSD to 512GB or more (PCIe gen 3 is supported), adding a SATA SSD or HDD, or getting a beefier power supply (make sure it’s no more than 125 mm wide and 85mm tall). HWMonitor can help you monitor your PC’s stats in greater detail, and under-clocking or under-volting your hardware can help it run cooler for more longevity. We don’t think it’s worth upgrading the CPU or GPU unless you plan to do something super power hungry (as in you’re an engineer or professional content creator), at which point a fully custom build is likely warranted.
Should you buy the HP Omen 25L?
Maybe, if you can find it on sale or you desperately want an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card.
Overall, the HP Omen 25L presents a beautiful gamer PC that will be the envy of your teenage friends: it can run demanding 4K and VR games with stunning graphics, its RGB is gorgeous, and its hardware will stay relevant for many years to come. Should you outgrow the venerable Nvidia RTX 3070 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600, you can easily swap them out thanks to the PC’s modular design. You are bound to nothing in this build, and you won’t pay a premium for it.
However, we have serious long-term durability concerns that likely can’t be solved without swapping to a new case. Because the build didn’t bother cutting corners (I mean this metaphorically and literally: the components’ corners are sharp where they could’ve been rounded out), there are a lot of jagged edges that pierce through the PC’s potential. The dangerously thin motherboard feels like it could snap, and the lack of airflow leaves the hardware running near-critical temperatures. You can modify the PC to improve its shortcomings, but you’d ultimately have to replace its two distinguishing components (the case and the motherboard) if you safely want to do anything even moderately taxing.
If you’re lucky enough to choose which prebuilt PC you can buy these days, we recommend a PC with off-the-shelf PC parts and plenty of cooling so that you can have a quality computer you can upgrade down the line. The MSI Aegis RS and the CyberPower PC Gamer Supreme desktops are both builds that meet these requirements (and look cool for a reasonable price). Custom-built PCs—like those from Microcenter or Origin PC—will cost more, unfortunately, but you can have more control over the details of your hardware.
In a perfect world, we would likely recommend those hunting for an Nvidia 3070 GPU look elsewhere. However, considering the shortages may not be over until well into 2022, we don’t think the HP Omen 25L should be avoided entirely. At MSRP, the Omen 25L is reasonably priced, and you will get a 4K-ready computer out of the box that will work just fine in the short term. It’s designed to look good in a retail store: it has the aesthetic appeal many gamers want, and it will run well enough. However, those who know better will quickly find some serious faults, and if you plan to keep it long term you should budget for a new case at least.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Adrien is a staff writer for Reviewed, mainly focused on reviewing laptops and other consumer tech. During his free time, he's usually wandering around Hyrule.
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