The Good The Velocity Micro Edge Z55 offers some of the best bang for the buck I've seen in an upper midrange gaming desktop.
The Bad I wouldn't call this desktop overly quiet.
The Bottom Line The Velocity Micro Edge Z55 is a laser-focused gaming PC with a relatively attainable price, and it's an easy system to recommend to enthusiasts.
Velocity Micro Edge Z55 (February 2012)
Last year I fell for the, an upper midrange gaming PC that still impresses on our performance charts. As much as I still like that system, Velocity Micro's Edge Z55 is my new gaming PC of choice. It's possible this Core i7-2700K-based desktop will look out of date when Intel's Core 3000-series Ivy Bridge chips launch in a few weeks, but multiple vendors have told me that Ivy Bridge isn't as overclockable as Sandy Bridge. If that's the case, expect the 2000-series CPUs will still be available in performance gaming PCs. For those of you shopping for such a desktop, the Edge Z55 is the best deal going for under $2,500.
Velocity Micro hasn't updated its desktops' exterior design in years, but I can't say there's anything particularly wrong with it. The square angles and vented front panel might seem plain-looking, but I'd take Velocity's unobtrusive design over the more garish gaming desktops out there any day.
If this system has one quirk it's that it's noisy. Each of the two graphics cards has its own fan, with a third, standalone fan mounted above them for added airflow. The liquid cooling apparatus attached to the CPU also has a particularly noisy fan. The Edge Z55's full-tower chassis precludes it from fitting into your living room, but if you had any other concerns about its space-appropriateness, be sure to factor in its loud operating noise.
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Dual-core desktops hit the market
Dell, Alienware and Velocity Micro begin offering PCs with Intel's dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition 840 chip. Photo: Say hello to dual cores