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Integrating the High End: HP vs. Dell

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on September 21, 2007

In 2006, Dell and Hewlett-Packard both went after PC makers specializing in high-end gaming systems. Dell bought Alienware and HP acquired Voodoo. Dell’s strategy remains opaque, with a lack of clear positioning of Alienware’s desktops and laptops vs. the Dell-branded premium XPS line. HP’s marketing approach is becoming much clearer with the launch of the Blackbird 002 super-premium desktop. While maintaining the independence of Voodoo, HP’s personal systems group is using Voodoo’s mojo to bring some pizzazz to the HP desktop line.

blackbird.jpg The Blackbird 002 is an impressive beast. Almost everything about it is customizable: It features and 11 power supply, room for two oversized video cards, up to 4 terabytes of storage on a five-disk array, a maximum of 16 gigabytes of memory, and optional liquid cooling to keep the monster from melting. All this gear is housed in an aggressively styles wedge-shaped metal case and weighs in an a hernia-inducing 72 lb.

Initially, the Blackbird 002 (Blackbird was a development codename that HP simply decided to keep as the real product name) is available in a $5,500 "Dedication edition" featuring an overclocked Intel Core 2 Extreme processor, dual nVIDIA GeForce 8800 Ultra graphics adaters, 660 gigabytes of storage, and 2 GB of RAM. When the full product line goes on sale later this fall, prices will start at about $2,500 and top out at over $7,000.

At those prices, HP obviously does not expect this to be a high-volume seller. In addition to gamers, who may prefer to stick with the Voodoo brand, the target audience includes filmmakers and medical imagers.

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Reader Comments


September 21, 2007 05:34 PM

Here's a couple of useful audio/video links that talks about HP's entrance into the high end Gaming market.


September 21, 2007 06:43 PM

It's probably a good thing that Alienware isn't being pushed too hard by Dell. They have thrived as a scrappy independent who makes nice and affordable customized high end rigs. As long as Dell doesn't force AW to do things differently, it works best as a cousin type relationship.

Dell will never have the cache with hip kids and adults who want machines that beat what Dell, HP and so forth have to offer.


September 24, 2007 04:51 PM

I would never buy an Alienware, they suck. Voodoo + HP obviously makes sense, Blackbird just received PC Gamers highest score ever, they got CNETs highest score ever, and PC Magazines highest possible score. The only problem I have is the price, but I am waiting to configure one.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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