Introduction

Whether it's cars, aircrafts, houses, motorcycles, or computers people always seem to like hearing about the most exotic products on the planet. HP's latest and greatest desktop computer offering bears the name of one of the most mystical aircrafts of all time, the SR-71 Blackbird. We can't say for sure whether the choice of name actually comes from the famous surveillance aircraft or not, but we would venture to say this is the case. See, besides the name, the two have quite a few other common attributes.

The SR-71 Blackbird was on the cutting edge of technology, pushing the boundaries of what was deemed achievable. It was the first aircraft that was designed to reduce its radar signature, and while it would fail in this respect it helped pave the way for future stealth aircraft. Perhaps more notably, the Blackbird was the fastest aircraft ever produced, officially reaching speeds of Mach 3.2 and unofficially reaching even higher. The actual top speed remains classified to this day. The extremely high speeds required some serious out of box thinking to achieve, so the Blackbird was built from flexible panels that actually fit loosely together at normal temperatures; only after the aircraft heated up from air friction would the panels fit snugly, and in fact the SR-71 would leak fuel while sitting on the runway before takeoff. After landing, the surface of the jet was so hot (above 300°C) that maintenance crews had to leave it alone for several hours to allow it to cool down.


So how does all of that relate to the HP Blackbird 002? In terms of components and design, the Blackbird is definitely on the cutting edge of design and technology, and it features several new "firsts" in computers. When we consider that the Blackbird comes from a large OEM that doesn't have a reputation for producing such designs, it makes some of these firsts even more remarkable. Talking about the temperatures that the SR-71 reached during flight was intentional, because the Blackbird 002 can put out a lot of heat. No, you won't need to let it cool down for several hours after running it, but the 1100W power supply is definitely put to good use. If electricity is the fuel of the 002, saying that it leaks fuel while sitting idle definitely wouldn't be an overstatement. And last but not least, the Blackbird 002 is fast - extremely fast - easily ranking among the best when it comes to prebuilt desktop computers.

Where did all of this come from? We are after all talking about HP, a company that has been in the computer business for decades, and during all that time they have never released anything quite like this. Flash back to about a year ago, when HP acquired VoodooPC, a boutique computer vendor known for producing extremely high-performance computers with exotic paint jobs and case designs - with an equally exotic price. The HP Blackbird 002 represents the first fruits of this merger, and while it may not be quite as exotic as the old VoodooPC offerings in all respects, it certainly blazes new trails in the world of OEM computers. There's clearly a passion for computer technology behind the design, and even if we might not personally be interested in purchasing such a computer, we can certainly appreciate all the effort that has gone into creating this latest "muscle car" - or pseudo-stealth aircraft, if you prefer.

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  • Sabresiberian - Monday, October 08, 2007 - link

    Hewlett-Packard used to be synonymous with high quality small computing and scientific gear, but have become something less than that. It is nice to see them produce something that is once again aimed at the high-end market.

    I can understand why they didn't go with 64-bit, it's still early for that, but I agree it should have had 4GB ram. Easy to fix, but why should you have to fix anything in a $5500 system?

    I'd buy one just to support HP's efforts if I could afford one :)
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 17, 2007 - link

    No idea how great this encoder is (video isn't my thing) but http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html">Super claims to convert to H.264 Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 25, 2007 - link

    Seems to work fine, except it definitely doesn't support quad-core and possibly not even fully dual-core. :( Reply
  • Zak - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    Since when Radeon HD X2900 XT 1GB is the fastest card on the market? I'm confused. All reviews I read say that it's about as fast as 8800GTS 640MB. Because all that super fast memory doesn't give it any benefit since the GPU is lagging behind. It was beaten by 8800GTX and Ultra in all reviews, except for one game, I forgot which one. Can someone elaborate? I'm going to buy a new video card soon and I was intrigued by this card: 1GB of GDDR4 sounds impressive and the price is right. But then I started reading reviews and they cooled me off, this card is competing against 8800GTS, it's not even close to GTX or Ultra speed.

    Z.
    Reply
  • wolfman3k5 - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    Regardless of what reviews say, because many reviewers are biased, I can tell you that I've tested a Sapphire HD2900XT 1GB GDDR4 and it's performance lies between a 8800 GTS 640MB and a 8800 GTX 768MB. Never mind touching the Ultra. Best bang for the buck is the MSI 8800 GTX, Anand will agree with me. Take care and good luck. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    quote:

    Since when Radeon HD X2900 XT 1GB is the fastest card on the market?


    I'm not sure that I ever intended to give the impression that the HD 2900 XT 1GB is the fastest card on the market - in fact, at several points I specifically say the opposite. However, I'm sure that AMD CrossFire is merely an option and is not required. Obviously, the Dell 720 H2C comes out ahead in quite a few of the gaming tests, even with older drivers.

    Also, a https://h20435.www2.hp.com/Default.aspx">"special edition" Blackbird went on sale today for $5500, and only 518 (don't ask me why 518!) will be made. That version includes dual 8800 Ultra cards and the Half-Life 2 "Orange Box" bundle, plus pretty much everything seen here. Not a bad price for the components, really, but still more than most people are willing to spend.
    Reply
  • Zak - Sunday, September 16, 2007 - link

    Thanks. I was just confused. I thought I missed something. Also, thanks to the other poster who replied. I will most likely get the 8800GTX then. 8800Ultra seems like a waste of money at $100 more. But I just got a 24" monitor, I may need all the graphics power I can get. SLI is out of question though, too expensive.

    Z.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    Apparently I messed up the link. Let's try that again:

    https://h20435.www2.hp.com/Default.aspx">HP Blackbird 002 Dedication Edition
    Reply
  • Zak - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    I have to say I'm shocked to see this come out of HP, the most boring computer maker on the planet. The price is prohibitively high, but if I was on the market for computer of this grade I would very seriously consider this vs Dell or Alienware.

    Z.
    Reply
  • Toronto699 - Thursday, September 13, 2007 - link

    Blackbird Tech Support will be handled by Voodoo PC in Calgary Alberta Canada, Canadas Oil Capitol Reply

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