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Wednesday, May 12, 2004
HP to launch built-to-order gaming PC

Seeking to take advantage of the fast-growing video game market, HP said yesterday that it would begin to offer built-to-order custom PCs for game enthusiasts.

HP said the Web site allowing users to design their Compaq "X Gaming" machines would go live in June or July and offer a range of options with standard, off-the-shelf components. Retailers will also offer access to the machines through their own custom configuration kiosks.

Prices will start at around $1 599 after promotions, HP executives said, and peak at more than $3 000.

The announcement came at the start of E3, the annual video game industry trade show in Los Angeles. Computer hardware makers have placed increasing focus on E3 as a way to demonstrate the capabilities of their most powerful systems.

HP has been offering a Compaq gaming machine for a few months, mostly in a standard configuration sold on a limited basis by select retailers.

While HP's name is not the first on the mind of gaming enthusiasts today, Markworth said the company's long history will be its advantage as it enters the market.

The X Gaming machines will feature a standard chassis from CoolerMaster, known for its work in keeping system noise down while also decreasing heat, and red glowing lights in front and back that will make it stand out in the dark.

Pre-installed software will be kept to a minimum, so as not to clutter the machines. The company plans to aggressively support their roll-out.

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