Other internal upgrade options include adding up to two more memory sticks and four more hard drives. For the latter upgrade, we appreciate that Velocity Micro has stuck with the outward-facing hard-drive bays.
While the card expansion options for the Edge Z40 have a few limitations, we can't say the same for its external connectivity. You'll find both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports on the back of this system, as is common to every second-generation Core CPU-based PC we've seen so far. You also get eSATA and FireWire ports, along with optical S/PDIF and 7.1 analog audio outputs. For video, the graphics card provides two DVI outs and a Mini-HDMI output.
|Velocity Micro Edge Z40||Average watts per hour|
|Raw (annual kWh)||510.7956|
|Annual energy cost ($0.1135/kWh)||$57.98|
Like the other second-generation Core CPU systems, the Edge Z40 posts efficient power consumption for its performance, especially compared with the older Maingear F131 build and its first-generation Core chip. Because of its overclocking and fast graphics card, the Edge Z40 draws more power than the XPS 8300, but we expect most gamers will put up with the added monthly power charges in exchange for the Edge Z40's gaming capabilities.
Velocity Micro's service and support compare well with what other boutique PC sellers offer, though they don't match the "always-on" services of Dell and other mainstream vendors. Perhaps to its advantage, Velocity Micro relies exclusively on in-house phone support technicians, and though it doesn't offer 24-7 phone support, you can get in touch from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PT on Saturday, which is a pretty fair window. The warranty on the system covers parts and labor for a year, as well as one year of depot repair service. And Velocity's Web site has all kinds of useful support resources.
The Velocity Micro Edge Z40 earns an Editors' Choice Award for its overachieving speed and value as a mainstream gaming desktop. We're also satisfied with its design and build quality. You can find faster PCs out there, but none in this price range that offer as much bang for the buck.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Dell XPS 8300
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 5870; 1.5TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GT440 graphics card; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit; 3.87GHz (overclocked) Intel Core i7 960; 6GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2) 1GB ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics cards; 80GB Intel X25-M solid-state hard drive; 1.5TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.7GHz Intel Core i7-2600K (overclocked); 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card (overclocked); 80GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive
Velocity Micro Z40
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.0GHz Intel Core i5-2500K (overclocked); 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti graphics card (overclocked); 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive