(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|2,048x1,536 (4x AA, 8x AF)||1,600x1,200 (4x AA, 8xAF)||1,280x1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)|
You can read our review of the Widow PC IX2 SLI for a full price comparison between a similar $7,000+ PC and a cheaper Polywell system that offers a similar configuration. We'll simply say here that we feel the same applies to the Velocity Micro, but less so. The reason is because Velocity Micro throws a lot of extras into this system that the Widow PC doesn't have. Whereas Widow PC includes only a standard dual-layer DVD burner, Velocity Micro added a fast 18x dual-layer DVD burner, as well as a dual-layer DVD burner with LightScribe capability, for putting custom images on your discs. Velocity Micro also includes a higher-end Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum with the front-panel audio connection plate, making it much easier to plug in headphones and connect external audio devices. Widow PC only includes the X-Fi Fata1ty Gamer model, which helps stock the software bundle with games but at the expense of audio port convenience.
If the Velocity Micro lacks in one area, it's software. We like the Widow PC's software bundle, but it consists mainly of freeware that you can download yourself. Velocity Micro includes a 12-year subscription to McAfee AntiVirus as well as various media-editing and disc-burning programs, so it's not exactly barren. But what we really like about the Widow PC is its customized application folders in the Windows Start Menu. It puts everything into logically organized groups that make them all easy to find. That and the custom desktop theme show that Widow PC paid attention to the complete experience. It's not the end of the world that Velocity Micro doesn't include such tweaking on the Raptor Signature Edition, but that's an easy-to-implement touch that many customers would appreciate. And considering the price tag, we think they deserve it.
Finally, similar to Widow PC, we're glad to see that Velocity Micro includes three years of parts-and-labor coverage as the default service plan with the Raptor Signature Edition, as well as 24/7 phone support and a year of onsite service. We wish that every PC more than $3,500 came with a three-year warranty, but we're at least glad to see it here. Velocity Micro's Web site is also one of the most robust for help resources, with a long list of help and explanation articles, as well as driver downloads and other support aids. There's no online support chat, but it does have e-mail support services.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Alienware Area-51 7500
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.2GHz); 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; two 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA hard drives (RAID 0); 250GB Samsung 7,200rpm Serial ATA hard drive
Apple Mac Pro
OS X 10.4.7; 2x 2.66GHz Xeon 5150; 1,024MB 667MHz DDR2 FB-SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7300GT; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm Serial ATA hard drive
Polywell Poly i680SLI
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; two 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)
Velocity Micro Raptor Signature Edition (Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700)
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.2GHz); 2,048MB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; (2) 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; (4) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)
Widow PC IX2 SLI
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 (overclocked to 3.34GHz); 2,048MB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; (2) 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0); 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drive