Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming PC Review

Intel Alder Lake is here and ready to transform the PC gaming landscape. System builders are also keen to show off what they can do with Intel’s new gaming powerhouse, especially when paired with Nvidia’s high-end graphics cards. We’ve already reviewed new systems from Corsair and HP using the same Core i9 12900K you’ll find inside this machine, but Velocity Micro took a different approach to those two systems, shipping this Raptor Z55 pre-baked with a 5.1GHz overclock all cores (i.e. P cores, E cores are clocked at 4GHz). It’s an impressive feat, as you’ll soon see.

It’s not cheap though. The ticket price for this machine? A fee of $4,999.

This is comparable to the $4,700 HP Omen 45L and $4,999 Corsair One i300. These are high-end systems, make no mistake about it, and system builders are still finding the best way to show off what Intel’s Alder Lake is capable of while making money. You can configure these builds to suit your budget and needs, so don’t be put off by this price too much, consider it a showpiece showcasing the builder’s skills.

The other thing to keep in mind is the current silicon crisis, which makes it difficult to assign a reasonable cost to any system using a high-end graphics card. I mean, how much should the RTX 3080 Ti cost in this system? Launch price is a known entity, but you absolutely cannot get the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Edition in this machine for $1,200 right now. Far from it, in fact. It’s hard to avoid the current graphics card inflation. There is currently a similar problem with DDR5 RAM, especially when it is slightly faster than standard.

So forget the cost for a moment and instead revel in what Velocity Micro has created with this system. It is a machine destined for the future. It’s overclocked out of the box, brilliantly cooled, has a surprisingly understated aesthetic, and roomy enough for further expansion. It’s a 4K monster that you can buy today and enjoy for years, basically.

Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Specifications

CPU: 5.1GHz Intel Core i9 12900K
GPUs: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3
RAM: 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR5-5200
Motherboard : Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master
Storage: Samsung 980 Pro NVMe 2TB Solid State Drive
Front I/O: 1x 3.5mm audio, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Rear I/O: 4x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 5x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 10GbE LAN, HD Audio, 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
Power supply : EVGA 850W SuperNOVA
OS: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions: 20.25 x 20.5 x 8.25 inches
Weight: 30 pounds
Guarantee: 1 year
Price: $4,999

The full spec includes many recognizable brands, from the aforementioned EVGA graphics card to the 2TB Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. The case and CPU cooler are both Velocity Micro-branded, with the former being an aluminum chassis on Measured with plenty of room for cooling and a side window so you can watch all your expensive gear.

The Raptor Z55 comes with two fans in the roof and an exhaust in the rear, as well as the three-fan heatsink for the CPU cooler. This rad is side mounted to pull air through a grille on the right side of the case, although that side window doesn’t extend far enough forward to really show it off, which is a shame, because it It’s fascinating when you open the side off, which is a tool-less affair.

Velocity Micro has clearly put time and effort into improving the acoustics of this machine, and even when it’s running at full throttle, it’s never really loud. This three-fan CPU cooler means it’s also quick to return to normal temperatures, which is a good thing as the CPU can run very hot when pushed.

In testing, overclocking to 5.1 GHz produces really impressive results, but it can also reach 111°C. That’s really hot, but honestly, you wouldn’t know it from the sound of the rig running . It’s worth noting that it doesn’t reach that temperature when gaming, maxing out at 100C, and overall the average is much lower at around 60C, but it’s still surprising to see it get so hot.

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Gaming References

(Image credit: future)

In case you haven’t already guessed, this is a very fast machine. This CPU overclock coupled with the overclocked RTX 3080 Ti (it jumps to 1,800 MHz as opposed to the standard RTX 3080 Ti’s 1,670 MHz), makes for a particularly strong pairing. You’ll have no problem running your games on this machine, even at 4K with all settings accelerated as hard as possible.

Horizon Zero Dawn managed a phenomenal 91 fps at 4K, while Metro Exodus running RTX ray tracing hit an impressive 78 fps. Hitman 3’s Dubai level saw an average frame rate of 127fps. All three of these scores top the benchmarks and are faster than the HP Omen and Corsair One machines, which is impressive considering the former has an RTX 3090. It’s not a clean sweep though, with the runs non RTX from Metro Exodus being slower than the Corsair One.

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 System Benchmarks

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 System Benchmarks

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 System Benchmarks

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Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 System Benchmarks

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If you’re looking at this machine for more serious computing alongside its gaming prowess, then the good news is that the 32GB combo of DDR5-5200 and 5.1GHz overclock equates to phenomenal throughput. Cinebench R20 managed to break the 10K barrier for the first time, and the X264 benchmark also recorded an impressive 81 fps.

Hitman 3’s CPU test lagged the other two machines, however, as did Cinebench R20’s single-core performance, suggesting that all-core overclocking means single-core performance doesn’t quite reach the heights of 5.2 GHz of the chip managing its own clocks. Yet single-core performance is rarely in demand these days.

Velocity Micro Raptor Z55

Complementing the overclocked processor is the EVGA 3080 Ti FTW3 edition. (Image credit: future)

If there’s a problem with this Raptor Z55, it’s that it’s a little too reserved. It’s a great machine, no doubt about it, but it’s mostly inside. And while that might be enough for many buyers, it lacks that “something special” to really stand out from the growing crowd of high-end machines.

After reviewing the Corsair One i300 so recently, it’s this compact PC that stands out for me. So while it trails this machine in many benchmarks (albeit by only a few percentage points at most), this is the system I would recommend for the money. Appearance is important after all, it seems.

Not that this machine is lacking in performance stakes anyway. And in fact, the Velocity Micro machine will be much easier to upgrade over the years than the Corsair, but when you’re looking to drop $5,000 on a high-end PC, pure logic won’t always be enough. . What’s clear from the Raptor Z55 is that Velocity Micro knows how to build gaming PCs, and the level of detail here is phenomenal.

Robert P. Miller