Case Studies

In terms of appearances and design, we can without a doubt say that we've never seen anything quite like the Blackbird 002. It comes in a large, wedge-shaped case that sits on top of a stand, lifting the main chassis several inches off the ground. That might sound and even look a little precarious, but once you've actually picked up the case and moved it around your fears will be assuaged. HP states that the foot is capable of supporting up to 600 pounds, and after sitting on top of the case (yes, all 190 pounds of me!) and even bobbing up and down a little bit, we're pretty sure they're not exaggerating. Exactly why you would want a case that can support 600 pounds, we don't know, but it certainly is sturdy!

In fact, our earlier comparison of this computer with the SR-71 Blackbird probably chose the wrong aircraft, names notwithstanding. This thing is built like a tank, and an A-10 warthog might have been a more apt comparison. Much of the case appears to be made of aluminum, but a lot of the metal is so thick that you might feel the case is made of cast iron instead. The total weight is around 70 pounds for the test configuration, so all of you LAN party attendees looking to put on a little more muscle can simply haul one of these things around and kill two birds with one stone!

The case isn't the only reason for the weight, however, as HP includes a complete "maintenance free" water cooling system (designed by Asetek). There are three models of the Blackbird 002 available, and as far as we can tell only the top to include water cooling, but since the systems aren't actually available for purchase yet we weren't able to get the precise options. The model we were shipped certainly appears to be the absolute top-end design, as water cooling is used for the CPU as well as the two graphics cards. The motherboard chipset isn't water cooled, but the ASUS Striker motherboard already has an extensive heat pipe arrangement to handle that aspect of cooling.

While we're on the subject of motherboards, the use of an ASUS Striker board also represents one of the better aspects of the Blackbird 002. This isn't a special locked down version of the ASUS Striker; you gain access to pretty much everything you would get with a regular ASUS board, which means that this is one of the best overclocking motherboards currently available. That approach doesn't end with the motherboard; besides the custom ATX case (yes, ATX) everything else uses standard off-the-shelf components. We don't necessarily advocate purchasing a computer with the intent of upgrading in the future, because new products and technologies are always coming out, but at least the Blackbird is as upgradeable as any DIY system.

Index Gearheads, Rejoice!
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  • Sabresiberian - Monday, October 8, 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 :)
  • strikeback03 - Monday, September 17, 2007 - link

    No idea how great this encoder is (video isn't my thing) but">Super claims to convert to H.264
  • 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. :(
  • 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.

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


    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">"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.
  • 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.

  • JarredWalton - Saturday, September 15, 2007 - link

    Apparently I messed up the link. Let's try that again:">HP Blackbird 002 Dedication Edition
  • 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.

  • Toronto699 - Thursday, September 13, 2007 - link

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

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