Even better than the Velocity Micro's application scores are its gaming test results. On both Crysis and Unreal Tournament 3, the Edge Z15 outperforms both the AVADirect and the stalwart Maingear systems, and on Crysis by a wide margin. We attribute this speedy gaming performance to the Velocity Micro's pair of Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards, each with 512MB of RAM. That it flirts with the hallowed ground of 60 frames per second on Crysis is a testament to both the graphics cards and the system as a whole, which are extremely robust for PC gaming.
If you have plans to boost this system's capabilities after purchase, we have more good news. The first is that Velocity Micro uses an NForce 750i SLI motherboard to support AMD's ATI Crossfire dual graphics-card capability. That means you can upgrade to either AMD or Nvidia multicard configurations down the road. There's also plenty of room to add more internal hardware. The outward-facing hard drive bays make it easy to add more internal storage. You also get a pair of extra RAM slots in this configuration, as well as room to add two more PCI expansion cards.
Optional extras in our review configuration include the Velocity Micro mouse and keyboard, a media card reader, and 3DMark's Vantage 3D graphics-benchmarking software (test along at home!). Like all Velocity Micro PCs, you get a T-shirt thrown in, and our system also came with a variety of software, including Cyberlink PowerDVD, OpenOffice, and a BMW racing game. By virtue of the motherboard there's no external Serial ATA port for fast external hard drives, but it does at least have S/PDIF-audio output.
Velocity Micro's service and support does not feature onsite service like we're seeing again from Dell and HP. Otherwise, its standard coverage is on par with the rest of the industry. You get one year of parts-and-labor coverage. Phone service is toll-free, and it operates from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. You can pay extra for various upgrades, and the Velocity Micro Web site remains an uncommonly good resource for troubleshooting your PC yourself.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Apple iMac (24-inch, 2.8GHz)
Apple OS X 10.5.2; 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics chip; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit; 3.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450 (overclocked); 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX graphics card; (2) 500GB 7,200 rpm Western Digital hard drives; 150GB 10,000 rpm Western Digital hard drive
Falcon Northwest FragBox 2
Windows Vista Home Premium; 3.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8400; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT graphics cards; 500GB 7,200 rpm Samsung hard drive
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300; 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800 GT graphics card; 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive.
Velocity Micro Edge Z15
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 3.4GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550; 4GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; (2) 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards; 750GB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive