Peripherals & Accessories
Velocity Micro goes to great pains to point out that each system is built by hand and gets individual attention. In fact, each system includes a document that states: "This system has been built according to our highest standards of quality and craftsmanship and has been thoroughly tested to ensure peak performance and reliability." The document is signed by the system technician who built the system and the production manager who inspected it.
All the system documentation and software were neatly assembled together in a blue folder. This included a generic user guide, warranty details, a quick setup guide, and the original motherboard manual. The original motherboard and graphics card driver discs were included, as well as a custom "drivers and updates" disc with the specific audio, chipset, and video drivers for our configuration. Also included were the Windows Vista disc, the CyberLink PowerDVD disc, and the software disc that comes bundled with the Asus motherboard. (By the way, Blu-ray movies looked amazing during our testing when we viewed using an Asus MK241H widescreen 24-inch display.) The applications on the Asus disc include Norton Internet Security 2007, Corel Snapfire Plus SE 1.2, and a trial version of Intervideo DVD Copy 5--but none of these apps come pre-installed on the system. In fact, the only software that comes preinstalled is PowerDVD and FutureMark 3DMark Vantage - Velocity Micro Basic Edition. In a time when vendors tend to pile on as much bloatware as seems humanly possible, we find this minimalist approach a breath of fresh air, as it gives us that much more available hard disk space to install the apps and games we want and not the ones the vendor thinks we might want.
The Edge Z55 also came with an accessory bag that included the following:
As we mentioned earlier, the system supports up to 8 USB 2.0 ports, but it is only configured with six ports. You could install the 2-port USB backplane into an available slot location on the back of the system and connect it to the motherboard's USB header to get a total of 8 USB 2.0 ports.
The Edge Z55 also comes with Velocity Micro-branded version of the Creative Spectre Gamer Keyboard. The keyboard's color is black, which matches well with the system's black and silver color scheme. The keyboard feels solid, as opposed to the flimsy, low-end keyboards that often ship with new systems. The keyboard includes five programmable hotkeys and a full set of multimedia controls. Instead of printing the characters onto the keys, the characters are actually cutouts, which allow the keyboard's blue backlight to illuminate the keys. A toggle switch on the keyboard allows you set to set the brightness to one of two levels or turns off the backlight. Unfortunately, we found that unless the room was very dark, the characters on the keyboard were often difficult to see. As not all of us are touch typists, some of us need to peer down at the keyboard periodically to get our bearings. There is also a button that toggles on and off a light at the bottom of the keyboard, meant to illuminate the space in front of the keyboard. We see the merits of the keyboard for gaming scenarios in a darkened room, but find the approach lacking for us hunt-and-peck typists during non-gaming computer use in a well-lit room.
The system comes with a Velocity Micro-branded Creative Gamer HD7600L mouse, which is also black in color; although the mouse comes with replaceable silver and blue covers as well. The HD7600L has a number of innovative features, including two additional programmable thumb buttons and blue LED backlighting. Most impressive, however, is that the mouse's resolution can easily be changed on the fly using the top-mounted DPI Resolution dial. A set of four LEDs indicate which of four resolution modes the mouse is currently set to: 400, 800,1600, or 2400 dpi. We found having such easy and quick access to the mouse's resolution quite a boon during game play.