A large panel on the upper-front bezel hides four external drive bays, a floppy/multicard reader combo drive, and the power and reset buttons. A lower door with a Velocity Micro arrowhead cutout hides the blue LED-lit intake fan, and below the door, on the outer bezel, you'll find two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, and two audio jacks. Rear side ports include four USB 2.0, one FireWire, one Gigabit Ethernet, and sound card audio jacks.
The ProMagix DCX has lots of expansion potential. You get room for two additional hard drives and two optical drives, you also get three open PCI slots, one of which is a questionably useful x4 PCIe slot, and two available memory slots. Although the case is mostly tool-free (storage and optical drives are screwed in), access to the spacious interior is somewhat limited. The heat exchanger for the liquid-cooling system is mounted on the side panel, and its tubes are connected to the motherboard. In order to work comfortably inside the case, we had to remove the six screws holding the heat exchanger in place, and even then, we had to work around it dangling inside the case. Since the processor is the only liquid-cooled component, the system uses a total of five fans, including the power supply, to keep everything else cool. As a result, the system is a bit noisy.At the core of the Velocity Micro ProMagix DCX you'll find Intel's new dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition 840 (PEE 840) processor and an Intel 955XBK motherboard, which is based on the new 955X Express chipset. The PEE 840 not only has the distinction of having two physical processors on one chip, it is also the first overclockable Intel processor in years. Velocity put that capability to great advantage by bumping the speed up to 4.0GHz per core (3.2GHz is standard). This is the highest CPU clock speed we've seen in CNET Labs on a dual-core or any other CPU.
Our review system came with 1GB of DDR2 memory running at 667MHz, as well as two 10,000rpm 74GB Serial ATA hard drives configured to RAID 0, and an additional 7,200rpm 400GB drive designated for storage. The two 10,000rpm drives give you fast access times to frequently used files, such as the operating system and other core software, while the slower, larger 400GB drive provides plenty of additional storage--a smart configuration for a design PC.
Although the Velocity Micro ProMagix DCX does not support Nvidia's SLI graphics spec for dual graphics cards, it does come with ATI's high-end 256MB ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition video card, a great single GPU graphics card for gaming and serious graphics. Other components include a double-layer, multiformat DVD burner, a CD-RW/DVD combo drive, and a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS sound card, making this PC very digital media-friendly. Velocity sent no speakers or monitor (you can add them both at the time of purchase), but it did throw in a Microsoft Internet keyboard and optical scroll mouse. Bundled software is sparse; in addition to Windows XP Professional, the system comes with Corel's WordPerfect Office 11.0 suite and Ulead's Digital Creation Suite for disc burning, photo editing, and the like.Application performance
In the office-productivity (OP) test, the ProMagix DCX still set a record with its score of 227, but it beat the Overdrive by only 2 points on this test, making the results a virtual tie given our three percent margin of error. But on the Internet-content-creation (ICC) test, the ProMagix DCX and its score of 361 beat the Overdrive by more than 100 points. This performance gap speaks exceedingly well for the ProMagix DCX's suitability to task. Intensive graphics apps comprise the ICC test, including Adobe Photoshop and Premiere and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX, whereas the OP test uses more mainstream apps such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Our test system's SysMark scores also suggest that, as advertised, the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processor is designed to improve performance on multimedia applications.
|BAPCo SysMark 2004 rating||SysMark 2004 Internet-content-creation rating||SysMark 2004 office-productivity rating|
|Half-Life 2 1,024x768 4xAA 8xAF||Half-Life 2 1,600x1,200 4xAA 8xAF|
As we recently learned, a factory-standard Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 is not as fast as AMD's new dual-core Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU. That said, Velocity Micro did everything right in the ProMagix DCX in terms of getting the most out of Intel's chip. By bumping the clock speed up to 4.0GHz per core, the Velocity is the only system that beat AMD's white box PC and its early sample of the X2 4800+ on almost all of our dual-core benchmarks. What's interesting, though, is what Velocity had to do to get there.
The AMD white box came with its CPU running at its default clock speed with no special cooling mechanism other than its default heat sink and cooling-fan layout. The Velocity ProMagix DCX needed a restrictive $440 Vader-esque liquid-cooling contraption to stabilize its heavily overclocked CPU. The ProMagix DCX beat the AMD white box handily in our multitasking and Photoshop tests, by 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively. But the Velocity barely edged the AMD system on our Sorensen video-encoding test with a 5 percent performance differential, and the two were virtually tied on our iTunes MP3 encoding test. As a brute application performer, the ProMagix DCX seems like a clear choice, but we're wary of recommending it on its multimedia encoding performance, given that its CPU requires extreme overclocking measures for relatively little gain over a system using an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ chip. Be sure to take your workload into careful consideration before making a purchase. It's also worth noting that we still need to run SysMark 2004 on the AMD dual-core white box. It would be very interesting if that crown again changed hands so quickly.
Find out more about how we test desktop systems.System configurations: