Interior Design & Layout
The interior of the Edge Z55's case is roomy and neat, which helps promote effective airflow through the system. The cramped design of the motherboard and particular choice of components, however, makes accessing some parts of the system's internals tricky. At the very least, Velocity Micro took great care in routing the cables as efficiently and out of the way as possible so that the cables play a minimal role in impacting component access. At least the honking heatsink/fan assembly is mounted vertically so as to not block access to the motherboard.
The side panel slides offs easily with the removal of two thumb screws. The graphics cards' cables are routed tightly over the motherboard's power connector, which might make trying to populate the closest memory slot a tight fit. If you were to add more memory, you might need to cut a few of the zip-ties that hold the graphics cards' power cables in place.
There is room for three additional 5.25-inch drives in the internal drive cage. Additional drives, however, would likely impact the effectiveness of the system's front-mounted fan. Also, as the fan's blue cold-cathode light is the only source of internal illumination, additional drives would also cut down on the little internal light that the system has. Additional cooling is provided by a fan mounted on the back of the case, cooling fans attached to the CPU heatsink and the motherboard chipset's heatsink, and fans on each of the two graphics cards. Even with all of the fans running, the system is relatively quiet with a low hum--it is noticeable but not obnoxious.
The motherboard includes a single IDE port, which is connected to the DVD+/-RW drive. Of the motherboard's four SATA connectors, one is connected to the hard drive, and one to the Blu-ray drive. Although two of the SATA connectors are unpopulated, access to them is blocked by one of the graphics cards. The system supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD.
The two GeForce 9800 GTX cards are double-wide cards and are sandwiched snugly together. The cards populate both PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, and block access to one of the two PCIe x1 slots and one of the two PCI 2.2 slots. Even though one PCI slot is technically accessible, there is so little clearance between it and one of the graphics cards that it would be a crapshoot figuring out if you could actually fit a card into the slot or not. It should be noted, however, that PCI-based sound cards are available options for this system, so at least Creative Labs' SoundBlaster X-Fi cards will fit in the slot.