Performance Analysis & Conclusion
Performance Summary: Overall the Edge Z55 gave a very respectable showing on our benchmark tests. The CPU- and system-based test results showed us the system's performance is in line with its specs. The 3D gaming results did not necessarily wow us, but then again the graphics cards were not exactly the fastest available. There were plenty of other systems that performed better on all our tests, but these were also higher-end gaming rigs with faster components and much higher price tags. The Edge Z55 is not meant to be a screamer--it is meant to offer a smart balance between performance and cost--it is what you might think of as a value-minded, high-end gaming rig. It should also be noted that while the Edge Z55 doesn't take the checkered flag for speed, the system's performance was more than enough for whatever we threw at it. If you want top-notch performance, you usually have to pay through the nose to get it--that's not what the Edge Z55 is about (for the highest-level performance, check out Velocity Micro's Raptor series gaming desktops). The Edge Z55 offers decent performance at a relatively affordable price.
As we mentioned earlier, the Edge Z55 is no longer available is this exact configuration. The most-comparable alternatives would be a 2.83GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 CPU instead of the 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Quad Q9450, and Dual 512MB GeForce 9800 GTX+ (Plus) graphics cards instead of the Dual 512MB GeForce 9800 GTX cards. Based on published reports, we would expect to see about a 4 to 7 percent performance improvement with the updated processor and about a 5 to 8 percent speed bump with the graphics cards.
We spent a full month testing and using the Edge Z55 as a workstation and gaming rig. We never ran into any major glitches with the system--not even an application crash or BSOD. If there is one word we would choose to describe the system it would be reliable. That's saying a lot these days when so many vendors are quick to shove products out the door without putting them through the paces to test reliability and compatibility. As such, we never did have an opportunity to put Velocity Micro's in-house tech support to the test. For what it is worth, Velocity Micro won a Readers' Choice award in PC Magazine's 2007 tech support survey. On the other hand, a few readers at Geek.com were not thrilled with their experience with Velocity Micro's tech support.
We liked the look and sturdy feel of the Edge Z55's chassis and were at first impressed with the seemingly roomy nature of the inside of the case. Upon closer inspection, however, we realized that the combination of the motherboard design and choice of peripherals blocked or partially blocked almost of all of the expansion slots and SATA ports. We did appreciate the plethora of upgrade options Velocity Micro offers for the Edge Z55 and therefore would rather choose our upgrades at the time of purchase to let Velocity Micro figure out how to cram the extra components we'd want into the system.
It's not often that you hear the word "value" applied to an enthusiast system, but that is exactly what the Edge Z55 represents. Yes, there are cheaper systems that will probably give you comparable performance, but they probably won't be built with the same attention to detail as the Edge Z55. And yes, you could also pay a lot more and get a hard-core, top-of-the-line gaming rig with custom painting. The old adage still applies: you get what you pay for. But not everyone has money burning a hole in their pockets--especially in today's economy. If you want a system that you can play any of today's games and also run any mainstream app, the Edge Z55 will meet your needs.