First Windows 7 rig makes a smashingly fast, and pricey, debut
It is, perhaps, fitting that Velocity Micro’s new rig is called a Raptor.
That’s because anyone who has ever seen the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor in person and on afterburner knows just how overkill the F-22 is.
The same can be said of Velocity Micro’s Raptor Signature Edition. With people overjoyed just to have a $99 Athlon II X4 620, Velocity Micro decided to go shock-and-awe on the spec lists—and the wallet.
First up is Intel’s stellar Core i7-975 Extreme Edition. With a stock speed of 3.33GHz, Velocity Micro uses a custom CoolIt Domino ALC to get the processor to a very stable 4.2GHz. To “balance” this $1,000 CPU, Velocity Micro throws in probably $1,500 in GPUs in the form of three EVGA GeForce GTX 285s. Still not impressed? How about four SLC-based Intel X25-E Extreme 64GB SSD drives in RAID 0?
Mind you, these are not the pedestrian X25-M consumer drives; they’re enterprise-class drives that offer more than twice the write performance of the X-25M version and peg the read speeds at the SATA 3Gb/s limit. If you’re afraid of a four-drive RAID 0, you might feel better that the X25-E’s are designed for server use and should have 10 times the life of a consumer drive.
Quad-core, quad SSDs, and tri-SLI make the Raptor SE one fast--and expensive--machine.
Storage is handled by a single 1.5TB Seagate and two optical drives, one a Blu-ray burner. The entire rig is based on EVGA’s X58 SLI Classified motherboard. RAM is left to 6GB of Kingston DDR3/1600 modules. And, of course, there’s Windows 7 Ultimate in 64-bit mode, to boot. We’ve been taking a drubbing from the Mac fanatics for some time over Vista, but Win7 fixes all that and may even plant a Windows logo’d boot up OSX’s rear.
As much love as we have for Win7, it made comparisons with other systems difficult—up to now all the desktops we’ve reviewed have used Vista. On the other hand, the comparisons are valid as a PC purchased four months ago is likely still running Vista. If you buy into that line of reasoning, we can tell you that the Raptor SE is now the benchmark king in five of our six benchmarks. For a more direct comparison, we looked at the numbers from our September Dream Machines, which ran Windows 7, and as expected, those three boxes couldn’t touch the Raptor SE. For example, our midrange Core i7 Dream Machine (our new desktop zero point) puts out 37fps in Crysis at 1920x1200—the Velocity Micro pushes 70fps. The Raptor SE turns in no less than double-digit percentage gains in every test.
So, what’s the problem? Just like the F-22, which just got its ticket punched by a penny-pinching Pentagon and Congress—the price. At $9000, this is one of the most expensive rigs we’ve ever tested. With the 64GB X25-E drives each costing $800, a $1,000 CPU, and $1,500 in GPUs, the stratospheric price of the Raptor SE is enough to make even a DoD procurement clerk with use of the never-ending government Visa card cringe.
Still, we understand the need to be on top of the benchmarks, and respect that. We just wish it didn’t have to cost as much as a small nation’s GDP.
Velocity Micro Raptor Signature Edition
This rig is built for bear and breaks nearly every benchmark.
Price that's as easy to pass as a gallstone.
WINDOWS 7 BENCHMARKS
Raptor Signature Edition
Premiere Pro CS3
Unreal Tournament 3
Our current desktop test bed consists of a quad-core 2.66GHz Intel Core i7-920 overclocked to 3.66GHz, 6GB of Patriot DDR3/1333, a Radeon HD 4870 X2, and a 1.5TB 7,200rpm Seagate 7200.11 hard drive. The motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-EX58-UDR3 motherboard and a Corsair TX850 PSU. OS is Windows 7 in 64-bit mode.
Intel 3.33GHz Core i7-975 Extreme Edition@4.2GHz
EVGA X58 SLI Classified
6GB Kingston DDR3/1600
Three EVGA GeForce GTX 285 in tri-SLI
Four 64GB X25-E Intel SSDs in RAID 0, Seagate 1.5TB Barracuda 7200.11