capsule review

Velocity Micro Vision 64

At a Glance
  • Velocity Micro Vision 64

    PCWorld Rating

    Fast, SLI-ready dual-core system suits advanced gamers and graphics enthusiasts.

Velocity Micro Vision 64
Artwork: Rick Rizner

The Vision 64's case may not have the stylish curves or large windows found on other expensive gaming and graphics PCs, but inside, it definitely has the hardware and expandability to keep pace with the best of them. A fancy blue light shines through a cutout of the company's logo on the front panel; apart from that touch, though, the Vision 64 is all business.

This system is fast. Thanks in part to a dual-core, 2.4-GHz Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU and 1GB of DDR400 RAM, our Vision 64 review unit posted a WorldBench 5 score of 115, the sixth best we've seen. And it really shines in graphics and gaming performance: Its PCI Express EVGA E-GeForce 6800 GT graphics card with 256MB of on-board RAM helped produce the second-best frame rates yet on our Return to Castle Wolfenstein tests at 1280-by-1024 resolution. The only machine with a better score on that game--the MTower 64 AGE-SLI from Xi Computers--had the same CPU and motherboard, a nearly identical 256MB GeForce 6800 Ultra-based graphics card, and 2GB of system RAM instead of 1GB.

The best thing about this PC isn't just its out-of-the-box speed, but the fact that you can make it even faster. The Asus A8N-SLI motherboard supports nVidia's SLI technology, so you can add another EVGA E-GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics card to the motherboard's second PCI Express x16 slot and enjoy the combined processing power of two graphics cards.

Other upgrades are also easy: There are six free SATA connectors, and the hard drive housing has room for three more drives. Two 250GB hard drives are already installed in a striped RAID 0 array. After I removed two thumbscrews, the drive housing slid horizontally outward to expose the interior.

I easily reached the two open RAM slots, two open PCI slots, and two PCI Express x1 slots; expansion cards are secured to the chassis by thumbscrews--a real improvement over conventional Phillips head screws. There's one upgrade hindrance: Access to the top drive bay, one of the two open external bays, is obstructed by power cables and a metal plate that traverses the top three inches of the case.

Connecting devices was no problem: Two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, headphone and microphone jacks, and a six-in-one media-card reader are on the front of the system. Four more USB 2.0 ports, two ethernet ports, an S/PDIF port, and a SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS sound card can be accessed on the back. The Microsoft Internet Keyboard is a bit too lightweight for my taste, but it does come with a number of programmable Internet shortcut buttons.

Star Wars looked terrific when played on the 16X DVD±RW/6X DVD±R double-layer drive. The crisp glass-like clarity of the 19-inch NEC MultiSync LCD1970GX flat-panel monitor with its OptiClear screen really seemed to make colors more vivid, but text viewing suffered from patches of severely uneven contrast. Creative's Audigy 2 ZS sound card and Inspire P5800 speakers produced great surround-sound audio on playback of both DVD movies and audio CDs.

The manuals and driver software come in a handy box with organizers, but they are mainly for the experienced user. A brief general manual covers the bare-bones basics of PC use and maintenance. Separate manuals for the motherboard, power supply, and monitor provide more technical detail.

This fast, pricey system is an excellent choice for the advanced gamer or graphics enthusiast who frequently opens up the PC case.

Kirk Steers

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Fast, SLI-ready dual-core system suits advanced gamers and graphics enthusiasts.

    Pros

    • Strong performance on graphics

    Cons

    • Mundane design
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