Design & Build Quality
The Edge Z55 comes in a variety of different full-sized desktop cases, with or without removable front doors or side windows, and in either black or silver color schemes. Our system came configured with the "LXe-W Black - Velocity Micro Signature Aluminum Case - removable front door, side window."
The case's black matte finish tended to attract fingerprints, but they were fairly easy to wipe away. A fan mounted in the front of the system--located behind the Velocity Micro logo cutout--contains a blue cold-cathode light. The light is barely noticeable when viewed from the front and does very little to light up the inside of the case. Those looking for a little more visual wow, might want to consider one of the case light upgrade options ($20 for one light, $40 for two).
The case is well built and strong. While it is not light, it could conceivably be carted to and fro LAN parties. If that's how you roll, then we would suggest also investing in the optional $30 wheel set for the case.
The Edge Z55's ports include two PS/2 ports, which are becoming less and less common on systems these days. Also less widespread of late are the inclusion of both parallel and COM ports. How quaint. Four USB 2.0 ports are located on the back of the system, and another two on the front bottom edge of the case—note, however, that the motherboard actually supports up to eight USB connections (more on this later). There are also two 1394a Firewire ports--one on the back and one on the front. In addition to the six, programmable, "jack-detecting" audio connectors on the system's backplane, there are also both coaxial and optical S/PDIF connectors. The front of the system has standard 1/8-inch mic and headphone jacks. Rounding out the ports on the back of the system is a single RJ45 Ethernet 10/100/1000Mbps port. The system is also available with gaming-specific Killer NIC card options from Bigfoot Networks ($189 to $265), and Velocity Micro also offers a $25, 802.11g PCI-based WiFi adapter option as well.
The front door of the case opens to reveal four 5.25-inch drive bays, two of which are populated with the optical drives. Below them are two 3.5-inch bays, one of which houses a 1.44MB floppy drive. You can choose to populate the 3.5-inch bay instead with an 8-in-1 media reader/floppy drive combo at no additional cost. Assuming you choose to leave the removable door on the case, the door includes a lock, which prevents access to the drive bays, power button, and reset switch. Two keys are included with the system. A little WD-40 would probably do the trick, but we were somewhat annoyed by the squeaking noise the front door made whenever it closed.