Intel Alder Lake is here and it’s set to change the PC gaming landscape. System builders are also keen to show off what they can do with Intel’s new gaming powerhouse, especially in combination with Nvidia’s high-end graphics cards. We’ve already looked at new systems from Corsair and HP that use the same Core i9 12900K (opens in new tab) found in this machine, but Velocity Micro took a different approach to these two systems, shipping this Raptor Z55 pre-baked with a 5.1GHz all-core overclock (those are the P-cores that the E- cores are clocked). 4GHz). That’s an impressive feat, as you’ll soon see.
But it’s not cheap. The ticket price for this machine? Cool $4,999.
This compares to the $4,700 HP Omen 45L (opens in new tab) and $4,999 Corsair One i300 (opens in new tab). These are high-end systems, make no mistake, and system builders are still looking for the best way to show off what Intel’s Alder Lake is capable of and still make money doing it. You can configure these builds to suit your budget and needs, so don’t let that price tag put you off too much – consider it a showcase demo of the builder’s capabilities.
The other thing to keep in mind is the ongoing silicon crisis, which makes it difficult to properly price a system with a high-end graphics card. I mean how much should the RTX 3080 Ti have (opens in new tab) cost in this system? The introductory price is a known quantity, but you absolutely can’t get the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Edition in this machine for $1,200 right now. Not even close. Basically, the current graphics card inflation is difficult to avoid. There is also currently a similar issue with DDR5 RAM, especially when it’s slightly faster than the norm.
So forget the cost for a moment and instead revel in what Velocity Micro has created with this system. This is a machine destined for the future. It’s overclocked out of the box, brilliantly cooled, has a surprisingly understated aesthetic and is roomy enough for future expansion. It’s basically a 4K monster that you can buy today and enjoy for years to come.
Velocity Micro Raptor Z55 Specifications
CPU: Intel Core i9 12900K at 5.1GHz
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 3080Ti FTW3
R.A.M: 32GB (2x 16GB) DDR5-5200
motherboard: Gigabyte Z690 Aorus Master
Storage: 2TB Samsung 980 Pro NVMe SSD
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, 10 GbE LAN, HD Audio, 3x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI
Power adapter: EVGA 850W SuperNOVA
Operating system: Windows 11 Home
Dimensions: 20.25×20.5×8.25 inches
Weight: 30 pounds
Warranty: 1 year
Price: $4,999 (opens in new tab)
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 from Velocity Micro, with the former being a custom-built aluminum case with plenty of cooling space and a side window so you can admire all your expensive hardware.
The Raptor Z55 comes with two fans in the roof and one outlet in the back as well as the triple fan radiator for the CPU cooler. This wheel is side mounted and draws air through a grille on the right side of the case, although that side window doesn’t extend far enough forward to really show that, which is a shame because it’s intriguing when you open the side out , which is a tool-less affair.
Velocity Micro clearly put time and effort into getting this machine’s acoustics right, and even when running at full volume it’s never really loud. This triple-fan CPU cooler means it also returns to normal temperatures quickly, which is a good thing as the CPU can get very hot under pressure.
In testing, the 5.1 GHz overclock delivers some seriously impressive results, but it can also hit 111 C. That’s really hot, but you honestly wouldn’t tell by the sound of the rig running. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t reach that temperature when gaming and sits at 100C and overall the average is much lower at around 60C, but it’s still surprising to see it get that hot.
In case you haven’t guessed, this is a really fast machine. This CPU overclock coupled with the overclocked RTX 3080 Ti (it bumps to 1,800MHz versus the 1,670MHz of the stock RTX 3080 Ti) makes for a particularly powerful pairing. You won’t have any trouble running your games on this machine, even at 4K with all the settings cranked up as strong as possible.
Horizon Zero Dawn managed a phenomenal 91 fps at 4K, while Metro Exodus clocked in at an impressive 78 fps with RTX ray tracing. Hitman 3’s Dubai level had an average framerate of 127 fps. All three results top the benchmark charts and are faster than the HP Omen and Corsair One machines, which is impressive considering the former has an RTX 3090. On the non-RTX runs of Metro Exodus, however, this isn’t a clean break slower than the Corsair One.
If you’re looking at this machine for more serious numbers alongside its gaming prowess, then the good news is that the combination of 32GB of DDR5-5200 and that 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.
However, Hitman 3’s CPU test lagged behind the other two machines, as did Cinebench R20’s single-core performance, suggesting that the all-core overclock means the single-core performance isn’t quite there reaches the 5.2 GHz heights of the chip that manages its own clocks. Nevertheless, single-core performance is rarely accessed these days.
If there’s a problem with this Raptor Z55, it’s, if anything, that it’s a little too understated. It’s undoubtedly a great machine, but that’s mostly on the inside. And while that may be enough for many buyers, it lacks that “something special” to really set it apart from the growing crowd of high-end machines.
Having recently reviewed the Corsair One i300, it’s this compact PC that stands out to me. While it lags behind this machine in many benchmarks (albeit by a few percentage points at most), it’s the system I’d recommend for the money. After all, looks matter, it seems.
Not that this machine is lacking in power anyway. In fact, the Velocity Micro machine will be a lot easier to update than the Corsair over the years, but if you’re looking to drop $5,000 on a high-end PC, pure logic won’t always do the trick. What’s clear with the Raptor Z55 is that Velocity Micro knows how to build gaming PCs and the level of detail here is phenomenal.