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It’s been a while since I did any gaming on a PC. After years of crawling around the inside of my computer trying to figure out what component to upgrade next, I decided life would be easier with a console.

But a few months ago, I went back to a PC. My laptop, a powerhouse when I bought it in 2014, is just “OK” now, but it struggles to handle today’s graphics.

It was time to do a little research and see what passed for a gaming machine these days. I reached out to the folks at HP, and they were kind enough to send over the Omen, a 17-inch screen beast with an Intel i7-7700 chip set, a NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics ship and 32 GB of RAM.

Great specs, but not necessarily the best on the market. The CPU is a Seventh Generation i7 instead of Intel’s new i9 chip. If you’re a hard-core gamer who just has to have the latest tech, expect to spend Dh12,000 for a top-of-the-line i9 powerhouse, but you can get a fully loaded Omen with an i7 for about Dh8,000 online. And for that price tag, I got consistently solid gameplay with no noticeable reduction in frames-per-second (fps), even when wandering in the areas with a lot of particulates, such as water or smoke.

It also deals well with the heat. If you’re not a regular gamer, a PC can put out a lot of heat when running the latest game. Too much heat, and the computer will shut down.

HP has clearly put some thought into this. The Omen comes with HP CoolSence, software that is supposed to control the temperature of the machine and prevent it from overhearing. I am a little suspicious of the software since I was never able to get the core CPU temperate to read above 0 degrees, even when the temperature in the GPUs was over 60C and the machine’s fans were making noises that suggested take-off was imminent.

But, it never gave me any reason to think a shutdown was imminent. Also important, unlike other machines I’ve used, HP remembered to put the heat exhaust in the back of the machine, so it blows away from me.

Bottom line, the Omen is an excellent, well designed machine with specs that won’t break your budget.