capsule review

Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX

At a Glance
  • Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX

    PCWorld Rating

    Though relatively poky for a power machine, this PC performed well on graphics tests and is very expandable.

Priced at $2399 (as of March 16, 2007) with a 19-inch LCD, the Velocity Micro ProMagix PCX is inexpensive for a power desktop, and yet manages to deliver respectable performance and excellent upgradability. Anyone looking for solid performance now with the option of building a first-rate gaming or graphics system in the future should give it a close look.

At first glance, the smooth black case of the ProMagix PCX seems rather plain and boxy. If you want to indulge your inner adolescent, however, Velocity Micro's Web site offers the same case with a large window included in one side for an additional $10.

The ProMagix PCX should be able to handle any business app or game you throw at it. The Windows Vista Aero environment looked great and flowed smoothly, even with lots of open programs running. We tested three comparably equipped, midrange Windows Vista PCs on the Beta 2 version of WorldBench 6. The ProMagix PCX posted a score of 96, negligibly behind the other two (the Dell XPS 410, which earned a mark of 101, and the Micro Electronics PowerSpec Extreme X300, which managed a 99). In our Doom 3 and Far Cry gaming tests, however, the ProMagix PCX actually outperformed these two comparable systems slightly, perhaps due to its high-performance GeForce 8800GTS graphics card.

Images and DVD movie playback looked sharp and realistic on the 19-inch, $299 ViewSonic VA903b display that came with our review unit, but game play in Far Cry, though very smooth, looked a bit dark even after I adjusted the brightness to make it lighter. Small (6.8-point) type was readable but lacked the crisp definition achieved by comparably priced displays.

Power users and gamers who want high-end performance but can't afford a top-of-the-line system right now will appreciate the ProMagix PCX's upgradability. The PC's Asus P5N-E SLI motherboard supports Intel's quad-core CPUs, and a second SLI graphics card would fit into the extra 16X PCI Express slot.

Our test unit's hard drive had a generous 320GB capacity; but for the price, I would like to have had a second hard drive thrown in. On the positive side, the chassis will hold two more SATA drives, and the motherboard supports both RAID 0 (for optimal hard-drive performance) and RAID 1 (for data protection). Another storage plus: The back of the case includes an external eSATA port.

The ProMagix PCX's design makes upgrades easy. You can remove the cover after loosening two thumbscrews, and the system's spacious, well-organized interior presents no hindrances or obstructions.

Our review unit came with an attractive Velocity Micro keyboard that's a cut above garden-variety keyboards. Keys responded with a crisp pop, the board felt sturdy, and I could easily access the multimedia controls and the five Internet control buttons.

If you're on a budget but want a power system that you can expand for the future, the ProMagix PCX should live up to your expectations.

Kirk Steers

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Though relatively poky for a power machine, this PC performed well on graphics tests and is very expandable.

    Pros

    • Respectable speed, reasonable price
    • Upgradable to a quad-core CPU

    Cons

    • Plain-looking case
    • LCD looked slightly dark
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