Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Velocity Micro was founded in 1997, and while it might not be a household name, it is an established brand in the USA. Offering a philosophy of high-performance computing teamed up with quality craftsmanship; their PCs have won awards from almost all major publications. Based in my state, they contacted me and asked if I wanted to review one of their premium gaming systems. I said yes, if not just to see what they had to offer over other computer systems I review.
The Raptor Z55 uses a custom made brushed aluminum chassis with built in AIO water cooling for the CPU. The system uses an i7-7700K (overclocked), ASUS Z270M-Plus motherboard, 650W EVGA SuperNOVA PSU, 16GB of DDR4-2400MHz Crucial Ballistix RAM, an EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro SSD, a 1TB HDD, Windows 10, and a one-year standard warranty with a 3-year option available.
They offer 100% US based warranty and call center support, and their call hours are from 11 AM to 8 PM.
The 7700K is overclocked to 4.8GHz while the memory and GPU are stock. However, the system is built with off-the-shelf hardware (except for the case), so you can overclock individual parts further.
The Velocity Micro Z55 has a base price of $1,499; our configuration costs $2,799.
Packaging and System
The PC comes packaged inside another box and is well protected by foam inserts and cardboard dividers. There is also a bag which contains accessories and documentation.
Accessories include PSU power cables, a PSU jump starter, a t-shirt, and all the manuals and documentation that come with the components in the PC.
The beautifully brushed black aluminum offers a simple and sleek design. The front of the unit features a single blue backlit power button, a Velocity Micro blue-lit logo, and DVD drive bay. The rear of the unit features PS/2 keyboard, PS/2 mouse, DVI, VGA, HDMI, USB type-C, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Gbit LAN, headphone, line-in, and microphone ports. There are also three DisplayPort ports on the GPU, HDMI on the GPU, and DVI from the GPU. And AC power plug is at the top of the PC.
The right side of the PC is a bare sheet of brushed aluminum while the left side features vents for the radiator fans (they light up blue). There is also a warning attached to the left of the system, which informs users how to initially configure the system.
The top of the unit features a single exhaust fan (it also lights up blue), two USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, and microphone jack. The bottom of the unit features two air intake vents with dust covers.
All the fan vents are slightly raised above the surface of the chassis.
Teardown of the Raptor Z55
Opening the back side panel of the system reveals the wiring, which is done very neatly. The left side panel comes off very easily and reveals the intake fans and system hardware.
I suspect the CPU cooler is a Corsair H100i V2 240mm AIO, and it sits on custom designed shroud with hinges that allow it to easily swing out of the system chassis for access to the motherboard. The company's logo is backlit by a LED.
The wiring for the CPU cooler, fans, SATA, and power are neatly organized. The GPU is an EVGA GTX 1080.
The M.2 drive is a Samsung 960 Pro 512GB. The 1TB HDD sits on rails in an expandable cage.
The wiring at the bottom of the unit is also well organized and arranged.
BIOS and Software
Velocity Micro's BIOS is that of the ASUS PRIME 270M-PLUS, but with a few tweaks here and there. Overclocking settings for the CPU have been manually set, and the 7700K gets a tiny speed bump from 4.5GHz to 4.8GHz on all cores. Voltage for the CPU wasn't changed much, but voltage mode was changed to adaptive mode. I was surprised to find memory timings and voltages manually set, but the memory wasn't overclocked using XMP, which you can set if you want. Fan settings aren't changed, but CPU fan speed is set to ignore (required on ASUS boards if you don't plug one in) since the H100i V2 controls the fans itself.
Velocity Micro advertises No Bloatware, which is one of the selling points of their PCs. You get a clean install of Windows 10, and you input the product key yourself, so you end up with an unmolested Windows 10 installation.
Test Setup and Benchmarks
The system uses a 7700K overclocked to 4.8GHz, 16GB of Crucial memory at 2133MHz, an EVGA GTX 1080, an ASUS PRIME Z270M-PLUS motherboard and Samsung 960 Pro for the OS drive.
CPU, Memory, System, and Graphics Benchmarks
AIDA64 AES and HASH
HandBrake Video Encoding
PCMark8 Home Test
3DMark Cloud Gate
Ashes of the Singularity
Grand Theft Auto V
UNIGINE Heaven 4.0
Resident Evil 6
Rise of The Tomb Raider
Velocity Micro's Raptor Z55 is a very high-performance gaming machine that can tackle pretty much any game on Ultra settings, most in 4K. The overclocked 7700K is impressive and tops our charts except when in direct comparison with X99 CPUs in multi-core applications. The Raptor Z55 is one of the fastest gaming PCs I have tested thus far, and won't let you down in that domain.
Storage and Network Performance
ixChariot Network Throughput:
The Raptor Z55's SSD is the fastest we have tested so far. The Samsung 960 Pro is one of the fastest M.2 NVMe drives on the market, so that isn't much of a surprise. Its HDD is also very quick; I think it uses some caching technology to increase speeds. Network performance is where it should be for a Gbit NIC.
Temperature and Power Consumption
The power consumption of the Raptor Z55 is higher than most of the other systems on the charts, but that is to be expected with an overclocked 7700K and GTX 1080.
The Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 is cooled very well. An intake fan at the bottom is complimented by two for the AIO's radiator on the side and an exhaust fan at the top. Taking advantage of the cold air from outside and below the case as well as the natural movement of heat upwards, the PC stays very cool, even during the most grueling torture tests. However, the low-temperature operation also comes at a price, the unit isn't very silent, and even at idle you can hear it a little bit.
What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts
Here are key points about the Raptor Z55 gaming PC.
Overclocked 7700K with GTX 1080: The Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 tops our charts, and what allows it to attain this is its overclocked Intel Core i7 7700K. They did a nice job of configuring the overclock in the BIOS, and while they could have turned the knobs slightly higher, they decided not to for the sake of longevity. The Raptor Z55 is powerful enough to handle AAA titles, most at 4K. It should also be well suited to run the latest VR games with ease.
Customized Chassis: The beautifully brushed aluminum exterior and well designed and durable interior combine to produce one awesome chassis. Let's not forget the custom hinge which holds the AIO's radiators in place and allows for easy access and maintenance. I also like how the USB and other front panel ports are at the top of the case, so when it's on the ground, you have easy access. Everything from the tool-less HDD cage to the slightly raised fan vents shows Velocity Micro's dedicated attention to detail.
Top-Shelf Components: The Raptor Z55 uses the latest top-shelf components on the market, and doesn't cheap out in any area. Everything from the 7700K CPU, GTX 1080 GPU, to the ASUS motherboard are cutting edge. Many vendors wait for a generation to get the cheaper discontinued parts, but Velocity Micro has ensured that the system has the latest parts. We also shouldn't forget it also incorporates the blazing fast Samsung 960 Pro.
Warranty and Support: Velocity Micro guarantees US based support, including phone support. I also liked the attached setup guide on the side of the PC, especially because it points out not to plug your display into the motherboard but rather into the GPU. While the system comes with a 1-year parts and labor warranty, you can upgrade this to 3-years.
Not the Quietest: High performance doesn't always go hand in hand with silence. The Raptor Z55 has many fans, and they run on aggressive profiles. The good news is that you can tune these through the UEFI, or if you choose, you can install ASUS's fan control program in Windows.
The Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 is the epitome of a high-performance gaming PC, and to be honest; I am proud that this PC comes from the USA. Velocity Micro's attention to detail is evident throughout the PC. From the way the wiring is routed around and through the motherboard, to the way the case is custom designed with slightly raised vents and a custom radiator hinge I was impressed by the look and feel of the system.
The Raptor Z55 is overclocked, but I was surprised they didn't push it further. While overclocking the GPU without bloatware is almost impossible (other than factory OC), they could have set the memory to XMP and pushed the CPU up to 5GHz without too much fuss. Regardless, the system is one of the most powerful I have ever tested, and one of the best looking. I would have ordered it without the blue LEDs in the fans, but I can see the appeal of the lighting. If you are looking for a solid gaming PC with the latest in computer hardware tuned and constructed with dedication, give the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 a look.
The Bottom Line: Solid construction and elegant looks aren't the only things the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 has to offer. It's also one of the fastest gaming PCs we have ever tested.
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As a company, design our systems for the most demanding performance attainable, but it's also our obligation to give our customers the perfect balance of speed and reliability. We can certainly OC this system more, but as a brand, we have to be mindful of that balance between stability and extreme performance for our unique customer experience. Likewise our fan profiles are adjustable to suit any situation or need. We always leave the customer with the option to push even harder than our factory levels if he/she chooses, while providing a robust overall design to handle it with a high degree of reliability. We're very pleased to see that American craftsmanship counts for something and are also proud that our product comes from the USA too!