Hewlett-Packard moved into the bare-bones computer arena on Monday when it launched a customizable PC for gamers at the E3 trade conference in Los Angeles.

The Compaq X Gaming PC lets users choose the components they want to suit their gaming needs, HP said. They can choose from a range of fast processors, including AMD's Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX series and Intel's Pentium 4500. The choice of graphics cards includes NVidia's GeForce 6800 Ultra.

The PC is available with 7,200 or 10,000 RPM drives, either single or RAID 0 and a choice of 8x DVD+RW, 16x DVD-ROM and 48x combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM drives. Up to 2GB of DDR400 memory or DDR2 memory is offered.

With an AMD processor, users can add a wireless 802.11g adaptor.

All of the Compaq X Gaming PCs will come with a Cooler Master Wave Master chassis, a 9-in-1 memory card reader, Serial ATA on all hard drives, PCI Express or AGP 8x interconnect technology, eight USB ports, a wired keyboard and Windows XP Pro, HP said.

Thumb screws on the side panel and a removable motherboard tray make access to the PC easier for users wanting to make their own changes. Access to the USB ports on both the top and back of the computer makes it easier to connect joysticks and MP3 players, HP said.

HP is offering a one-year hardware warranty and 30 days replacement of defective software, it said.

The PCs will be available in the second half of 2004, and will initially only be offered in the US, an HP spokeswoman in the UK said. Prices will depend on the specification but are likely to start from $1,799 (around £1000), HP said.