Maingear has added some gaming grunt to its line of high end Home Theater PCs (HTPCs) in the form the Axess-HD Gamer. Just like its stable mates, the Axess-HD and HD PRO, the HD Gamer sports a low profile design with aluminum case and optional OLED Front Panel Display that is designed to blend in with other home theater components. However, behind that stylish exterior lies a system built for gaming, an intention made more obvious by the inclusion of the Phantom Lapboard as standard.

Built around an Intel Core i7 processor, the system can handle up to 12GB of DDR3-memory and dual NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GT graphics cards in SLI configuration. The two HDD bays allow for anywhere from 500GB to 4TB of storage space, while the optional Blu-ray drive shores up the unit’s HTPC credentials. A look at the rear of the unit reveals DVI-D, VGA, HDMI and component outputs, dual gigabit Ethernet, eight USB 2.0 ports, two 6-pin FireWire ports and eSATA. It also features remote control, on-board 8-channel audio and S/PDIF Digital.

The Axess-HD Gamer is also the first system to come with the Phantom Lapboard. Originally meant to accompany the vaporous Phantom games console, the Lapboard was nominated for the "BEST OF SHOW" at E3 way back in 2004. As the name suggests, it is a keyboard that is designed for use in your lap, so you can enjoy gaming on the big screen in the living room while sitting on the couch. It features a standard keyboard layout with a space for mousing revealed by tilting the top of the keyboard up. The keyboard also rotates a full 360 degrees, so it will suit both left and right-handers.

A base Axess-HD Gamer system can be yours for USD$1,799.99. However, ordering one with all the trimmings will set you back a little over $6,000.