Velocity Micro Edge Z30 (Intel Core i7) review:

Velocity Micro Edge Z30 (Intel Core i7)

The gaming scores are slightly less dramatic, but still positive. We don't expect a $1,350 PC that pitches itself as a gaming box to set benchmark records, but we do expect it to provide decent performance on the more demanding games out there. The Edge Z30 lives up to that expectation, and again outperforms the more expensive Dell, with scores above our 60-frame-per-second litmus test on Far Cry 2 at 1,440 x 900.

Interestingly though, Velocity Micro can't overtake the $1,199 Asus Essentio CG5290-BP007 on the 1,920 x 1,200 Far Cry 2 test. The Edge Z30 is close enough to 60 fps that we're not too concerned about its performance, but if you have a 24-inch LCD in mind for this system you might have to sacrifice a few image quality settings in order to play at full resolution with smooth frame rates. A 22-inch display at 1,680 x 1,050 might be a surer bet to pair with the Edge Z30, at least for more demanding games.

We've already mentioned the internal expansion options. And while the exterior connectivity of the Edge Z30 is similarly unremarkable, at least it's more or less complete. You get eight USB 2.0 ports on the back of the case, along with 7.1 analog audio jacks and a pair of digital audio outputs. The graphics card has two DVI out ports, so you'll need an adapter if you want to connect to an HDMI display. External storage options include FireWire 400 and a single eSATA jack. That should let you connect pretty much anything you'd like to this system.

Juice box
Velocity Micro Edge Z30 Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 3.17
Sleep (10 percent) 5.5
Idle (15 percent) 117.44
Load (15 percent) 286.78
Raw kWh 577.53
Annual energy cost $65.55

Annual cost chart
Velocity Micro Edge Z30

We found some interesting results in our power testing. On balance the Edge Z30 is as efficient as we expect, drawing no more power than its relative performance might indicate. What's interesting are its individual power scores. Its average off and idle power draw are more than twice those of the Falcon Northwest Talon. It's only the Velocity Micro's draw under load that keeps it from surpassing Talon, whose load measurement came out to 391.4 watts on average, compared to 286.78 for the Edge Z30. Time constraints (and, we suspect, a lack of broad audience interest) prevent us from hunting down the component-level power consumption figures, so we'll leave the real detective work to the vendors. But while the Velocity Micro will technically draw less power than the Falcon Northwest system over the course of a year, it still seems as if the Edge Z30 has some efficiency to gain.

Like Falcon Northwest, Velocity Micro offers in-house technical support via a toll-free phone number, in Velocity Micro's case open from a reasonable 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT during the week, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. It also has what it calls its Concierge service that it says will try to accommodate nonstandard requests. Velocity Micro's Web site offers a comprehensive set of support resources, and the system itself is backed by a one year parts-and-labor warranty.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Asus Essentio CG5290-BP007
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 920 (over clocked); 9GB 1,066 DDR3 SDRAM; 896MB GeForce GTX 260 (216 core); 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive

Dell Studio XPS 435
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.67GHz Intel Core i7 920; 6GB 1,066 DDR3 SDRAM; 1TB ATI Radeon HD 4870; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive

Falcon Northwest Talon
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.39GHz Intel Core i7-860 (overclocked); 8GB 1,330MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2) 896MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 275; 80GB Intel X-25M solid state hard drive, 1TB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

Maingear Pulse
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit; 2.83GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550s; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT Eco graphics card; 320GB 7,200rpm Western Digital Scorpio hard drive.

Velocity Micro Edge Z30
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.22GHz Intel Core i7-860 (overclocked); 8GB 1,330MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 896MB Nvidia GeForce GTX 260 (216 core); 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive

What you'll pay

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