It's one thing to relaunch a PC series with refreshed components, as many system builders are doing now that Intel's Ivy Bridge processors and Nvidia's Kepler GPUs are both hot to trot, but it's another thing entirely to do it with the amount of awesomesauce Velocity Micro poured into its Overdrive BigBlock.GTX system that highlights the relaunch of the company's Overdrive PC brand.
Low-cost PC manufacturers may be nervous about the touchscreen-friendly nature of Windows 8, but top-notch boutique PC builders ain't sweating Intel's Ivy Bridge launch. Over the weekend, a bevy of the biggest boutique names out there announced that the third-gen Core procs are now gracing the internals of several desktop offerings. Maingear even went so far as to roll out a whole new PC and announced a redesigned case for one of its best known builds.
Once upon a time, Velocity Micro made a living building only high end custom PCs, notebooks, and workstations. That type of singular (or triangular, if you will) focus is behind them, and the company now dabbles in eReaders and tablets as well. These mobile devices fall under Velocity Micro's Cruz line, and they've just been updated in preparation for an upcoming relaunch later this month.
The bell may toll for LGA1366, but at least Intel’s premier performance socket isn’t going down without a fight. The fight, in this case, is the new hexa-core Core i7-990X, which is at the heart of Velocity Micro’s Raptor Signature Edition PC.
The new CPU boasts a slight clock bump up from the 980X’s 3.33GHz to 3.46GHz. With Turbo Boost, the 990X will take the cores up to 3.73GHz. So why even build on LGA1366 at all when its sibling, the LGA1155-based Sandy Bridge, offers such kick-ass performance for an ass-kicking price?
There aren't a whole lot of choices in the Android tablet market right now, Samsung's Galaxy Tab perhaps the most prominent. It's also fairly pricey.
Enter Velocity Micro's new Cruz tablet, a 7-inch Android slate that's a comparative bargain at $300. And according to Velocity Micro's website, the Cruz is shipping now.
Three C-notes gets you the above mentioned Android (version 2.0) tablet with an 800x480 capacitive touchscreen, 512MB of RAM, 4GB and 8GB bundled SD cards, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, built-in speakers, a microphone, headphone jack, mini USB port, and a Li-Ion battery Velocity Micro claims is good for up to 10+ hours of life (24+ on standby).
If you’ve always wondered just where Velocity Micro likes to slot itself in a world of $8,000 wonder rigs and $2,000 budget gaming machines, the Edge Z55 seems to nail it.
At $4,300, the Edge Z55 epitomizes Velocity Micro’s strategy. There’s Ferrari, Lamborghini, and others at the very top and Chevy and Ford at the other end. In that car analogy, Velocity Micro believes it can live in the BMW layer, bringing you great performance, some customization, and still at a pretty good price.
In PC terms, the Edge Z55 occupies the space between the $2,000 quad-core Acer Predator we reviewed last month—a visually stimulating machine that was more show than go—and Digital Storm’s HailStorm—a multi-GPU, hexa-core beast that cost almost $8,000.
Boutique system builder Velocity Micro has begun taking pre-orders for its upcoming Cruz Reader ($200) and Cruz Tablet ($300) products on Borders.com, Newegg.com, and CruzReader.com.
"We've spent nearly one year designing and refining the Cruz Reader to make it both remarkable and affordable," said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro. "We're excited to see that hard work coming to fruition. We know the marketplace will be as well, due to the tremendous interest and support we have received from our customers and numerous retail partners. We've combined the color screen and functionality of a tablet with the affordability and portability of an e-reader, which is exactly what the market is craving."
Both the Cruz Reader and Tablet sport a 7-inch color touchscreen display. The Reader also includes adjustable font sizes; music, video, and Web browsing capabilities; a docking station; Android interface; 4GB bundled SD card (265MB onboard RAM); and up to 10 hours of battery life.
The Tablet ups the ante with a capacitive touchscreen; 8GB bundled SD card (4GB internal storage and 512MB RAM); and the ability to download apps. Battery life is rated at up to 8 hours, or 36+ in standby.
Look for the Cruz Reader to ship in "early September" (Borders has the date listed as September 30) and the Cruz Tablet in mid-October.
It won't be long before it will be easier to list out the companies who don't plan on releasing a tablet. Even boutique system builder Velocity Micro is now getting in the game, having just announced a family of Android-based color e-readers and tablets starting at $149.
"Since 1992, Velocity Micro has been dedicated to building remarkable consumer electronics," said Randy Copeland, President and CEO of Velocity Micro. "With the development of the Cruz line, we were able to take this enthusiast sensibilities and package them for the mainstream consumer to create a product that's not only amazing, but affordable as well."
It all starts with the $149 Cruz StoryPad, which Velocity Micro says "packs tons of multimedia features into a kid friendly, drop resistant package." That package will consist of a 7-inch 800x600 full color touchscreen display with high-res video and audio playback. Available in pink, blue, and green, it will come with an SD card for additional storage, pre-installed audio book content, and "simplistic and intuitive navigation," Velocity Micro says.
Hit the jump to see what other devices Velocity Micro has in store.
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.