What is the performance price? In the case of the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 gaming PC, that price is the thick end of $6,000 depending on your exact configuration, which we’ll go through in detail in a moment.
If that is a whole mountain of money, then there is no escaping it these days. The most obvious is the current cost of graphics cards. You’re looking at a minimum of $1,599 for an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) GPU, more for most add-in boards as opposed to Nvidia’s default Founders Edition board.
In the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55, that non-reference RTX 4090 is the pitifully named PNY GeForce RTX 4090 24GB XLR8 Gaming Verto EPIC-X RGB. It’s a monster. Throw in an Intel Core i9 13900K (opens in new tab), that’s another $500 plus change. You may have heard that motherboards don’t come cheap, so add another $500+ for a premium Asus ROG board.
Then you need a housing, cooling, some DDR5 memory, SSD storage and a high-quality power supply. Of course, in the case of a turnkey installation like this, you also have to pay someone who knows what they’re doing to put everything together, manage the cables neatly, install the software, and validate that it’s all going well .
Raptor Z55 (2023) specifications
CPU: Intel Core i9 13900K
Cooling: Velocity Micro LiquiCool 8 AIO liquid cooler
Motherboard chipset: Z690
Memory: 32GB (2x16GB) DDR5-6000
Pictures: PNY GeForce RTX 4090 24GB XLR8 Gaming VERTO EPIC-X RGB
Storage: Samsung 980 Pro 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Current: EVGA 1000W 80plus gold
Guarantee: 1 year (available for 3 years)
In short, it all adds up pretty quickly. Does it come down to the roughly $5,700 price of this PC as configured? That is up for debate. But hold that thought. Let’s cover the rest of the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55’s main speeds and feeds first.
Both the CPU and GPU are connected to an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard, which is a neat little trick, even if at a street price of $549 it’s not that close to the top of the Asus motherboard tree. The company is happy to sell you a motherboard for $1,000 or more these days.
You also get 32 GB fast Kingston Fury Beast Black XMP DDR5 RAM at 6000 MT/s and a 2 TB Samsung 980 Pro (opens in new tab) SSD. The latter lags a bit behind compared to the very fastest PCIe Gen 4 SSDs these days, which is arguably a bit disappointing at this price point and given the relatively marginal cost of inserting something truly sophisticated. But in terms of experience, it’s quite an academic distinction. You don’t really feel the difference with, for example, an SK Hynix P41 Platinum (opens in new tab).
For cooling, there’s Velocity Micro’s proprietary LiquiCool 8 closed loop water cooler with a 360mm radiator and three 120mm fans. Power comes from a 1000W EVGA SuperNova 80Plus Gold at 90% efficiency and it’s all wrapped up in, again, Velocity Micro’s in-house GX6+ ATX case.
The GX6+ is a brushed aluminum case with a fairly bland design and reasonable build quality. Let’s put it this way, you’re not happy with the tech of the case, which is a shame at this price point. But you would find it difficult to deal with it on a functional level.
Sure, there’s plenty of space inside. That space undoubtedly helps with cable management, which is very neatly executed. But it still takes a very skilled DIYer to provide something similar.
The cover also has a snap-in windowed side panel for easy access. More than simply not needing any tools to access the innards, you don’t even have to turn thumbscrews. The side panel just pops out. But he does that while he also gets back on neatly and safely afterwards.
If you’re the kind of PC enthusiast who omits the side panel because you just can’t be bothered to turn a screw, then this kind of clip-in solution is a real boon. You would be out of excuses, that’s for sure.
Anyway, as configured and built, the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 runs very nicely indeed. In terms of sound, it is virtually silent unless placed under a very heavy load. Throw something really heavy at the CPU and the fans for the water cooler become audible. But only. Noise is simply not a problem.
Nor are temporary workers. Even under maximum load, we registered only 68 degrees Celsius for the Core i9 13900K CPU and 65°C for the RTX 4090 GPU, indicating that the heatsink in the chassis is well managed.
Performance-wise, it’s about as good as current desktop PC hardware can get, with one minor exception. The interesting comparison might be with a rig from the immediately previous generation with an Intel Core i9 12900K (opens in new tab) and Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 (opens in new tab)like the Alienware Aurora 13.
On the CPU side, it’s multi-threading that really stands out. Those extra efficiency cores really make a difference, boosting performance in Cinebench R23 by as much as 50%. That’s pretty epic for just one generation.
Inevitably, the single-threaded uplift isn’t all that impressive, but there’s a bit of extra performance too, so it’s not like the massive multi-threaded boost comes at a price. The 13900K is faster everywhere.
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But gaming is what this machine is really all about and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. The RTX 4090 is the only one in the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 series that offers a major performance boost while maintaining a similar, albeit extremely high, price. In fact, you could argue that the RTX 4090 is now a bit cheaper than the RTX 3090 at launch, given the inflation in between.
If you further factor in the reality of wildly inflated RTX 3090 prices for much of that GPU’s existence as the top RTX 30-series option, the RTX 4090 looks even better. But no matter how you look at the value proposition, there’s no mistaking the raw performance of the RTX 4090. It’s a beast.
It’s even twice as fast in our 4K gaming benchmarks. And that’s for direct native rendering and no DLSS scaling or frame generation to complicate the comparison. That can make a huge difference.
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Take Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing and all the goodies. That brought the Alienware Aurora 13 with the 12900K and RTX 3090 to its knees, recording an average frame rate of just 22. The new machine is 90% faster and clocks in at a playable, if not exactly ideal, 42 fps.
Of course Cyberpunk with all the eye candy is something of a worse case scenario. At 4K with the details maxed out, you’re looking at average frame rates in triple digits for most games. So yes, the RTX 4090 is arguably the first GPU truly capable of high-refresh 4K gaming in most titles.
To put some numbers on that, you’re looking at an average of 93 fps in Metro Exodus with RTX enabled and 126 fps without, over 200 fps in Hitman 3 and 156 fps in Horizon Zero Dawn. Again, these are all native rendering results with no DLSS or frame generation. Add those features and the frame rates absolutely skyrocket.
4K gaming performance
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The one performance area that somewhat disappoints is storage. That Samsung 980 Pro SSD isn’t exactly slow. But with read speeds of 6,877 MB/s and write speeds of 4,936 MB/s, there are definitely faster drives out there. That said, the drive’s 4K performance remains broadly on par with the best flash-based SSDs. Only Intel’s now-defunct Optane SSDs do significantly better 4K performance.
At that point we come back to the tricky issue of value. Could you build your own rig with an Intel Core i9 13900K chip and RTX 4090 GPU that would provide the exact same gaming experience for much less money? Yes. Indeed, the gap between the cost of this Velocity Micro system and the homebuilt alternative is wider than you might expect.
Lately, the received wisdom is that you don’t save that much by building your own PC. But that is clearly not the case here. We think you could easily shave about $2,000, maybe even more, by going the DIY route.
But here’s the thing. You would still spend a lot of money and find yourself in a position where you made that very substantial investment in exchange for very little coverage and support. All you would have is warranties on individual components and support for the PC as a whole.
You would have to do your own debugging, book RMAs yourself, and risk being without a working PC while going through the process. Some experienced DIYers will be totally comfortable with that. They have spare parts that they can exchange to isolate faults and maintain a certain level of operation.
Likewise, it’s also not hard to see why paying more for a turnkey install makes sense for anyone who doesn’t routinely throw PCs together in their spare time. That’s exactly where the Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 comes in. Is that peace of mind and ease of support worth a few thousand dollars? We can understand how it can be for some. You know, those money-no-object folk system builders just Love.
As for the more specific proposition Velocity Micro offers here, well, the chassis lacks a certain oomph. But it is extremely well built and functionally the temperatures, noise levels and performance are truly excellent.
It’s a no-frills, high-quality gaming rig built to deliver fantastic frame rates rather than a show-off machine to turn heads. Coincidentally, we quite like that. But that price tag? It’s still a doozy.