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PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI review: PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI

PC Club's Enpower Velocity 05 SLI combines powerful hardware, a strong price, and a distinctive design into a compelling gaming PC. The design isn't for everyone, you'll need to do to some research to pick the right power supply (hint: go 850 watts or higher), and PC Club's online support is comical, but on balance, this desktop will meet the needs of many gamers.

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Rich Brown
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Rich Brown

Executive Editor / Reviews - Home and Wellness

Rich moved his family from Brooklyn to Louisville, Kentucky, in 2013 to start CNET's Appliances and Smart Home review team, which includes the CNET Smart Home, the CNET Smart Apartment, and the Appliances Review lab. Before moving to Louisville, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D-printed guns to Z-Wave smart locks.

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6 min read

First, the robot. Like most custom work, some will love it, some will hate it. We like it, and we've certainly seen worse robot motifs on a PC case. PC Club will throw in this paint job for free for one month from the release date. After that, it will expand the design selection to include a few more options, and the company says it will also accept customers' own images, which will cost an unspecified additional amount to paint on. Many desktop vendors offer custom painting, but we like that PC Club isn't even offering a plain old case here. PC Club could have gone even further with the design and found a way to incorporate the front panel drives and drive doors, but that would have also driven up the cost. Perhaps if you contact PC Club with a custom image, the company might be able to take special requests to color those parts, as well.

7.3

PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI

The Good

Unique case graphics have a certain appeal; strong high-end gaming configuration; plenty of room for expansion.

The Bad

Default 600-watt power supply isn't enough to make this system into an SLI box; PC Club's Web site offers little help in selecting a power supply based on your configuration; other online support elements are almost entirely useless.

The Bottom Line

PC Club's Enpower Velocity 05 SLI combines powerful hardware, a strong price, and a distinctive design into a compelling gaming PC. The design isn't for everyone, you'll need to do some research to pick the right power supply (hint: go 850 watts or higher), and PC Club's online support is comical, but on balance, this desktop will meet the needs of many gamers.
We have to give PC Club credit, its Enpower Velocity 05 SLI gaming desktop comes in a distinctive package. Not everyone will want a blue-and-pink pastel fighting robot decorating their PC, but then not everyone will be able to shell out $3,140, the bare minimum you'll have to pay for the privilege. Our review unit came with a quad-core Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 chip and a single GeForce 8800 GTX 3D card that bumps the price up to $3,799. With that price and those specs, this desktop competes fairly well against similar gaming PCs. We wish PC Club's online configurator was more helpful, as novices could easily configure a system with an anemic power supply that limits upgrading. But if you know what you're doing and you like robots, the Enpower Velocity 05 SLI offers the polish and performance we expect from a multithousand-dollar gaming desktop.

For many of you, as long as your PCs are fast, the outside could have pink ponies on it (and some of you might even prefer pink ponies). According to its specs, the Enpower Velocity 05 SLI should be a barn burner. It addition to the quad-core chip and the state-of-the-art graphics card, PC Club also sent this box with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM and a single 500GB 7,200rpm hard drive, all connected to an Nforce i680 SLI-based motherboard. PC Club left all of the parts running at their stock speeds, which makes this system nearly identical to the Polywell Poly i680 SLI, the only major difference being the Polywell's pair of faster 10,000rpm hard drives and slightly faster 800MHz memory. Our two review units even have the exact same $3,799 price tag.

With the Polywell unit as our main comparison system, you can see what kind of advantage its faster hardware gets you. On some tests the Polywell was faster than others, but overall, it beat the PC Club on nearly every benchmark. Neither of these systems is a dog, but if we were in the market for a fast gaming PC, we'd opt for performance over a baby-blue robot. PC Club offers the option for a 150GB 10,000rpm hard drive for an $82 premium over the current 500GB 7,200rpm model. You can also add a second hard drive to give the system more storage capacity.

Multitasking test (simultaneous McAfee antivirus scan, DivX video encode, CAB file extraction)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Multimedia multitasking test (simultaneous QuickTime and iTunes encoding)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Adobe Photoshop CS2 image-processing test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

Apple iTunes encoding test
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
In seconds  

CineBench 9.5
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering Multiple CPUs  
Rendering Single CPU  
Gateway FX530XT
1696 
516 
Apple Mac Pro
1604 
494 
Dell XPS 710
1309 
429 

Quake 4 performance (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600x1,200 (8x AA, 16xAF)  
1,600x1,200 (4x AA, 8xAF)  
1,280x1,024 (4x AA, 8x AF)  
Polywell Poly i680SLI Quad Core
101.3 
123.5 
126 
PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI
99.5 
98.2 
108.4 
Dell XPS 710
80.4 
109 
107.9 

F.E.A.R. performance (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600x1,200 (SS on, 8x AF)  
1,280x1,024 (SS on, 8x AF)  

The interior of the Enpower Velocity 05 SLI is as well assembled as you can expect from a modern PC. It seems that the origami cabling that was once the trademark of Falcon Northwest and Voodoo PC has become near universal (cough--except for Gateway--cough). That means clean airflow throughout the inside of this PC, as well easy access to drive bays and expansion slots for upgrading. Our configuration has two free memory slots, as well as room for three more hard drives and three more optical drives or other 5.25-inch bay hardware.

Card expansion is a little trickier. Technically, the motherboard has two additional x16 PCI Express slots and two free standard PCI slots. The spare PCI Express slots mean you can turn this PC into a dual-graphics-card, SLI gaming monster, but in order to do that not only will you need to pay an additional $325 for the second GeForce 8800 GTX card, you'll also need to put up another $162 or $257 for an 850-watt or 1,000-watt power supply, respectively. The default 600-watt power unit won't be able to handle two 8800 GTX 3D cards (although you could use it with a pair of lower-end 8800 GTS cards). It's also frustrating that if you don't know the power-supply info going in, PC Club's Web site offers no help in matching a power supply to a particular configuration.

That brings us to our final point: a gripe about PC Club's service and support. The warranty is fine; the default plan gets you a single year of parts-and-labor coverage. Phone support appears nonexistent, however. None of the included documents has a phone number to call, and the only place we could locate PC Club's main number (888-9PC-CLUB) was in the information on its Web site about how to obtain an RMA number for a return. Other support info on PC Club's Web site is hilariously out of date. If you want to figure out how to install a modem on your Windows Me machine, it has you covered. But if you're looking for a graphics card driver or any information that pertains to recent hardware or software, you're out of luck. To be fair, Polywell's online experience isn't that much better. Perhaps the boutique PC vendors have something to offer after all.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:

Apple Mac Pro
OS X 10.4.8; 2 x 3.0GHz Xeon 5160; 1,024MB DDR2 FB-SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB ATI Radeon X1900; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm SATA/150

Dell XPS 710
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo X6800; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; (2) 512MB Nvidia GeForce 7950 GX2 (Quad SLI); (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0); 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm Serial ATA hard drive

Gateway FX530XT
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 overclocked to 3.2GHz; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; (2) 512MB ATI Radeon X1950 XT (CrossFire Mode); (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

Polywell Poly i680 SLI Quad Core
Windows XP Professional SP2; 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 768MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTX; (2) 150GB Western Digital 10,000rpm Serial ATA/150 hard drives (RAID 0)

7.3

PC Club Enpower Velocity 05 SLI

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 8Support 4
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