Friday, December 3, 2021

Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 (2021) Review

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Desktop ClassGaming, Workstation
ProcessorIntel Core i9-12900K
Processor Speed3.19 GHz
RAM (as Tested)16 GB
Boot Drive TypeSSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)2 TB
Graphics CardNvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
Operating SystemWindows 11

After reviewing a couple of Velocity Micro desktop builds over time, we contemplate the Virginia boutique agency to be among the many prime performance-focused builders round. The brand new Raptor Z55 (begins at $2,824; $4,599 as examined) re-asserts that declare with Intel’s new 12th Technology “Alder Lake” processors (a tip-top Core i9-12900K chip, in our unit) and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics. Because of a super-clean construct, customized tuning, and these high-end components, the brand new Raptor Z55 is a chart-topping performer for heavy productiveness and gaming at any decision. The construct might not be as visually flashy as different boutique rivals; however, it would match proper in for workplace and professional use, and it’s put collectively and supported with care. For pace hounds with demanding knowledge, content material, or 3D workloads, the Raptor Z55 is among the many finest customized builds accessible, bolstered by Intel’s new-day CPUs.

Pristine Skilled Styling

We’ve seen this (and related) chassis from Velocity Micro for years, so we received spend an excessive amount of time right here. This PC maker is performance-focused, and lots of of its machines go to skilled non-gaming makes use of, resulting in this understated (however nonetheless stylish) design. The tower is entirely aluminum, high-quality construction that simply blends in, save for its outstanding aspect window.

If the outside didn’t tip you off to concentrate on a clear {and professional} look, the inside view will. “Clear” might be even an understatement; Velocity Micro builds are pristine, with all silver and black fittings, and never a cable misplaced. There may be some rigorously chosen bluish lighting in all followers, as effectively, for some aptitude. The eye to element and tuning pays off within the efficiency, as we’ll get to a bit later, so it isn’t all for the present. 

As such, this desktop is becoming for any setting—it might slot in unnoticed at a workplace or authorities constructing, and the just about stoic look is an announcement in its means for players preferring a much less flashy look. The tower’s footprint will take up some room, more significant than some Raptor towers we have reviewed earlier (that is the corporate’s GX6 case); however, it’s not out of the strange for an ATX construct. It measures 20.25 by 8.25 by 20.5 inches (HWD).

The windowed panel pulls away simply; you may end up in search of one thing to unscrew; however, it, in truth, pops merely off with a significant tug, held in place by a collection of pegs. Placing it again on is a matter of lining the pegs as holes and urgent it into place, making upkeep a breeze.

The front-panel ports are top-panel ports because the entrance itself is flush. On the highest edge, you’ll discover two USB 3.1 ports, a USB-C port, headphone and mic jacks, and the ability button. Many of the ports are round again, together with 5 USB 2. zero ports, 4 USB 3.1 ports, two USB-C ports, an Ethernet jack, and audio strains.

Elements and Configurations: Introducing Alder Lake

The massive query, after all, is what components are lurking behind that aspect window. As talked about, this construct exists for Alder Lake, Intel’s new 12th technology of desktop chips. The actual processor on this construct is the high-end Core i9-12900k, which we additionally examined within the Alienware Aurora R13. This offers us a pleasant level of comparability for the efficiency testing in a second.

The Core i9-12900k is a 16-core, 24-thread processor touting many new efficiencies Intel’s been engaged in. For anybody following the PC and processor industries, AMD had stormed to a lead on this entrance in the previous few years, growing a lineup of fairly spectacular Ryzen processors throughout all efficiency tiers, one thing Intel has struggled to maintain tempo with. The last few Intel generations have been modest bumps in pace; however, Ryzen chips have been comfortably the best way on productiveness and media workloads. 

We’ll get into the efficiency outcomes of this technique beneath; however (spoiler alert), Intel has succeeded in making a giant leap ahead this time around. For way more on the Alder Lake structure and the efficiencies Intel is using, take a look at our overview explainer on the new chips, in addition to our in-depth overview of the Core i9-12900K itself. We even deep dive into the new Z690 chipset, which matches a reasonable distance in boosting efficiency.

Becoming a processor member is 16GB of reminiscence (DDR5-4800), an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card (notably EVGA’s FTW Three Extremely with 12GB of VRAM), and a no-slouch 2TB Samsung SSD 980 Pro drive. The liquid cooler is Velocity Micro’s closed-loop 360mm cooler, and we’re delighted to say the system by no means bought too loud underneath load, particularly contemplating the ability it pushes. The power provided is mounted on the backside, with top-mounted followers pulling air out of the system and the same old rear vents. The triple-fan 360mm radiator is mounted on the right-side panel, bringing the full to 6 followers.

This configuration is priced at $4,599, so there’s no pretending that is some worth play. As talked about, this desktop exists for heavy-duty workloads, with gaming solely certainly one of many use circumstances. It is a pro-grade system in design and gear, and exclusively people who want this energy ought to contemplate this loadout. Additionally, price noting: Velocity Micro would cost a lot moderately have despatched 32GB (or extra) RAM with this loadout, and advocate that quantity, however, had been constrained by time and its provide of DDR5 modules for this overview unit, resulting in the 16GB capability.

The bottom-cost Intel-based Raptor Z55 GX6 begins at $2,824 for a way more modest construct (12th Gen Core i5 and a GeForce GTX 1650 Tremendous card), which is arguably much less of terrific worth. To be truthful, that also components within the value premium are a knowledgeable construct, in-house tuning, an aluminum case, domestic-location help, and other facets; however, it’s dear for that mixture of CPU and GPU. The $4,599 construct is, dare I say, extra reasonably priced regardless of that premium, falling proper in step with the equally geared up mass-market Alienware Aurora R13.

And sure, for the DIY heads on the market, it will be cheaper if you happen to construct a system with identical components yourself. Nevertheless, that’s not what {most professional} customers do, nor are these buying en masse for an organization or the federal government. Velocity Micro additionally helps the system with a one-year half alternative guarantee included, in addition to lifetime cellphone help and labor protection. (As a Virginia-based firm, support comes from the US.) After all, you’re also paying for the clear construct and customized tuning that occurs earlier than it’s shipped to you, which is part of the efficiency edge these programs provide.

Without additional ado, let’s get to the eagerly awaited efficiency outcomes.

Velocity Micro and Intel Alder Lake: A Blissful Marriage of Efficiency

Since switching to an extra trendy suite of benchmark exams, we’ve solely reviewed a couple of high-end desktops, so the record of comparability models is small. Nonetheless, they will function good factors of comparisons right here, so take a look at their names and specs beneath…

Test System Configurations

VelocityMicro Raptor Z55 (2021)IntelCore i9-12900K (3.19GHz)Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (12GB)16GBRAM2TBSSD
AlienwareAurora R13IntelCore i9-12900K (3.2GHz)Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 (24GB)64GBRAM1TBSSD; 2TB HDD
MaingearTurbo (2021)AMDRyzen 9 5950X (3.4GHz)Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 (24GB)32GBRAM1TBSSD

The Maingear Turbo is the AMD consultant right here, and with its high-end Ryzen 9 chip and RTX 3090, it makes an extraordinary level of comparability. The Alienware Aurora R13 is the opposite new Alder Lake-based system, with barely completely different supporting components. The Aurora R13, for what its price, could be very equally priced to the Raptor Z55 at $4,679.99; the Raptor is the cheaper of the two regardless of, the earlier disclaimers about boutique vendor premiums.

Productiveness Exams

The principle benchmark of UL’s PCMark 10 simulates many real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows to measure total efficiency for office-centric duties comparable to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, internet looking, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to evaluate a desktop’s storage’s load time and throughput.

Three benchmarks concentrate on the CPU, utilizing all accessible cores and threads, to charge a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses that firm’s Cinema 4D engine to render a posh scene, whereas Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5. Four Professional simulates common apps starting from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine studying. Lastly, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1. Four to transform a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p decision (decrease occasions are higher).

Our ultimate productiveness test is workstation maker Puget Methods’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which makes use of the Inventive Cloud model 22 of Adobe’s well-known picture editor to charge a PC’s efficiency for content material creation and multimedia functions. It is an automatic extension that executes many essential and GPU-accelerated Photoshop duties, starting from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving a picture to using masks, gradient fills, and filters.

There are two primary takeaways from this batch of outcomes: Alder Lake is the real deal, and Velocity Micro is aware of constructing a quick laptop. Intel’s 12th-gen answer (lastly) manages to finest its Ryzen counterpart on CPU duties, placing up more significant scores on each productiveness test right here. That’s a significant reversal from the AMD dominance we’ve seen, making environment-friendly use of the E-core and P-core hybrid structure and Thread Director expertise that Intel has been engaged on for this platform. It’s maybe not the full image of Ryzen 9 versus Core i9 (once more, see the overview of the chip itself), however right here in a shopper desktop, there’s a noticeable distinction.

As for the Raptor, Z55 as a desktop outperformed the Aurora R13 on PCMark 10, and Cinebench R23 nearly tied it on HandBrake and Geekbench and misplaced it on Photoshop. Once more, these two share an identical processor, so an in-depth race is predicted; however, the Raptor Z55 was hamstrung by simply 16GB of reminiscence. It acquitted itself effectively and has the quickest storage of the bunch. We’ll additionally jump over to the graphics exams subsequent earlier than drawing complete conclusions.

This implies good issues for Intel and Velocity Micro: It is an easy, ready-to-go workhorse for skilled customers. The producer earns its popularity for efficiency, whereas Intel is again within the operating for power-hungry customers after an interval of AMD dominance, making for an extra fascinating and aggressive processor market. AMD’s subsequent launch will probably be intriguing to observe.

Graphics and Gaming Exams

We test Home windows PCs’ graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark: Nighttime Raid (extra modest, appropriate for laptops with built-in graphics) and Time Spy (extra demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs). 

We also run three real-world recreation exams utilizing the built-in benchmarks of F1 2021, Murderer’s Creed Odyssey, and Rainbow Six Siege. These symbolize simulation, open-world action-adventure, and aggressive esports shooter video games, respectively. Odyssey and Siege are run twice (the previous at Medium and Extremely high quality preset, the latter at Low and Extremely high quality), whereas F1 2021 is run twice at most settings, as soon as with Nvidia’s performance-boosting DLSS anti-aliasing turned off and as soon as with it on. 

Be aware that we usually run the newer Murderer’s Creed Valhalla as a substitute for Odyssey; however, the brand new chips are experiencing conflicts with some titles, rendering them unable to launch. This occurred to us on several 12th-gen programs with Valhalla. As most OK we can inform, and having spoken to Intel concerning the challenge, the issue originates with Denuvo DRM, which Valhalla makes use of. A repair must be within the works; however, for now, we can solely challenge the warning that some titles could not run on Alder Lake builds, at the very least in the interim. Now, onto the outcomes.

You can be forgiven for forgetting that the Raptor Z55 is the one system out of the three that isn’t utilizing an RTX 3090 since its RTX 3080 Ti leads the best way on each test besides F1 2021. The RTX 3090’s benefits aren’t essentially in gaming, granted; however, the Raptor Z55 additionally leads on the artificial exams (the 3090 is extra prone to increase graphics-based skilled workloads to better heights).

Velocity Micro’s efforts with the cooling setup, tuning, and inside the structure are displaying right here underneath these sustained gaming exams, holding a not-insignificant lead over the Aurora R13 on several exams contemplating their similarities. On essentially the most strenuous title right here, Odyssey, it averaged 11fps larger than the R13 at full HD, 7fps larger at 1440p, and 6fps larger at 4K. 

It additionally has the very best body charges throughout all three resolutions on Rainbow Six Siege and is the one system to hit 200fps at 4K. The Maingear Turbo is the superior performer in F1 2021; however, the Raptor Z55 once more beats the Aurora R13 right here. Gaming might not be the primary motive most buyers would go for the Raptor Z55; however, it makes a robust case if that’s additionally one thing you wish to do on the system. 

Verdict: Pace Hounds, Look No Additional

The brand new Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 options clear and engaging visible design runs comparatively quietly, is simple to keep up and improve, and delivers chart-topping body charges. Each desktop and Alder Lake appear to be successful, placing Intel again within the dialog for efficiency hounds at this tier. All of this leaves little room for criticism so far as the Raptor Z55 is anxious. It’s a dear construct; however, you get what you pay for.

The one space place the Raptor Z55 could lose factors is that the visual design could not scream “Practically $5,000 Laptop!” in contrast with costly, flashier choices from Maingear, Origin, Falcon Northwest, and different boutique PC makers. Even so, it might be extra to your style aesthetically, matches effectively in any professional setting, and the efficiency is unassailable. When you’re looking for work or personally supplementary into the uncooked pace and would moderately go away the weird case designs at the house, the Raptor Z55 sits atop the efficiency heap.


  • Blistering efficiency
  • Obtainable “Alder Lake” Intel Core i9, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti choices
  • Pristine customized construct
  • Skilled aesthetic
  • Sturdy US-based help


  • Expensive, notably for base mannequin
  • Conservative, skilled design could flip players off
Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 (2021) Review


Velocity Micro delivers on its popularity for performance-first builds within the new “Alder Lake”-based Raptor Z55 boutique desktop PC, which beats all comers in our Core i9/GeForce RTX 3080 Ti configuration.

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