In the time since this system hit shelves, Nvidia has released its new GeForce 8800 GT 3D card, which promises better performance and a lower price than the 8800 GTS in both of these Velocity systems. You might take that into consideration when shopping in the store, since you can't make prepurchase changes to in-store systems. Velocity Micro also has no plans to revise the current in-store configuration. It would be fair to say that Nvidia's new chips may have this system looking a bit outdated, but the ProMagix E2240 is also a better gamer in this price range than anything else on store shelves, at least, if not online.
In addition to the E2240's SLI-upgrade capabilities, we should acknowledge that Velocity Micro has also finally designed its internal hard drives to face out from the system, rather than in toward the back of the graphics cards. This design makes it much easier to replace or add hard drives, since you don't need to remove other hardware to do it. We've bugged Velocity Micro on this point for a few years, and we're glad it's seen the light. Now if only it could find a way to get those data and power cables situated on the other side of the drive cage so you could just pop the hard drives in and out...
As for software, this Velocity is in-line with the ProMagix A50, in that it comes with no extraneous adware. None of the other Windows systems in this category can make that claim. Both the Velocity Micros also come with Windows Vista Ultimate, which we're fans of because of its remote desktop capabilities (lack of Windows Extras notwithstanding). The only shortcoming might be that Dell has recently raised the bar with bundled software by including the Adobe Elements Studio software, to compete with Apple's iLife '08 digital media apps bundled with all new Macs. We have a feeling it won't be too long before we starting seeing that Adobe suite in other Windows PCs, but as of now, Velocity has nothing along those lines to offer.
Finally, Velocity Micro's support remains in-line with the industry standard. You get one year of parts and labor coverage, along with 24-7 phone support from in-house support staff. We also like their plain-written support Web site, where you'll find an easy to understand, task-based approach to system maintenance and general care.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple OS X; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7700; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive;
Dell XPS 420
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8600 GT graphics card; two 320GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drives
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 3GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8500GT graphics card; two 500GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drives
HP Pavilion Elite m9040n
Windows Vista Home Premium; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 3GB 1,066MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS graphics card; two 320GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drives
Velocity Micro ProMagix A50
Windows Vista Ultimate; 3.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6850; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 320GB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card; two 320GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drives
Velocity Micro ProMagix E2240
Windows Vista Ultimate; 2.7GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 320GB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card; two 320GB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drives