HP's latest Pavilion PCs are built for gamers on a budget

They promise the performance and style of gaming PCs without huge prices.

Many conspicuously gaming-oriented PCs are aimed at high-end buyers, the sort who won't flinch at splurging on top-end parts and extravagant RGB lighting. But that's not really how the gaming market works -- there are many, many people only ask for just enough performance to run their favorite games at a decent clip. And HP is most definitely aware of this. It's refreshing its Pavilion PC lineup for the spring, and the focus this time is on a new Pavilion Gaming line that offers some of the trappings of gaming PCs without venturing into the higher prices of the Omen and Omen X lineups.

Both the Pavilion Gaming tower and Pavilion Gaming Laptop ranges all have angular black designs, colorful lighting (green, purple or white on the Laptop) and practical gaming-oriented features. The 690 and 790 desktops have swing-out hard drive trays, while the portable touts dual fans and an "improved cooling solution" to keep the system running at full bore. Of course, the performance is really what you're here for -- while neither lineup will replace a custom gaming rig, they handle a surprisingly large swath of enthusiasts.

The desktops start at $549 with an entry-level 3.5GHz Ryzen 3 processor, Radeon RX550 graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive, but they scale all the way up to a $1,699 configuration of the 790 with a 3.2GHz Core i7, GTX 1070 video, 32GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 2TB spinning disk. There are options for RX580 and GTX 1080 graphics, too, as well as up to 3TB of space and more RAM (16GB on the 690, 64GB on the 790).

The Pavilion Gaming Laptop, meanwhile, will start in the US at $799 with a 2.3GHz quad Core i5, Radeon RX560X video, a 1080p display, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB disk and 16GB of Optane storage. Go all-out and you can get a $1,019 model with a six-core 2.2GHz Core i7, GTX 1060 graphics and a 144Hz 1080p display. Options can bump it up to a 4K screen and a storage combo that includes a 128GB SSD and 2TB hard drive.

Both Pavilion Gaming PC rosters should arrive throughout May and June, and they should be accompanied by a Pavilion Gaming 32 HDR Display that promises gaming-friendly AMD FreeSync (no G-Sync, alas) as well as DisplayHDR 600-rated high dynamic range, a DCI-P3 color gamut and a 1440p resolution. It arrives on May 11th for a not-too-unreasonable $449.

Oh, and there Pavilion PCs for non-gamers. A new version of the 14-inch Pavilion x360 convertible (starting at $500) sports a refreshed design with thinner bezel, a lighter weight (down to 3.5lbs), a side-mounted fingerprint reader and a rear-facing camera when you're in tablet mode. The 14- and 15-inch standard Pavilion laptops ($629 and $740) are thinner and sport a new "geometric" design, while the Pavilion Desktop ($400 and up) promises a more compact design with slicker faceted looks. All of these should also arrive in the May-to-June time frame.