Velocity Micro ProMagix HD8015 Oct, 2015 By: Randall S. Newton
First Look Review: Top-notch parts support solid performance of this CAD workstation.
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Velocity Micro is somewhere between a boutique builder of workstations and a high-volume manufacturer. The company is big enough to be stocked by major retailers and to pack a bit of marketing swag in the box — a T-shirt and a book bag, in my case. But it wants you to think of it as one of the little guys, creating hand-built, made-in-the-U.S.A., engineer-tested alternatives to assembly-line workstations. The mix of big and small seems to be working for the company, as it continues to expand its product line and rack up winning reviews — and this review was no exception.
We tested the ProMagix HD80, a single CPU model designed for 3D CAD and media professionals. The HD80 is near the top of the ProMagix line of professional desktop workstations, exceeded only by the dual processor ProMagix HD360MAX (starting at $2,999). The HD80 comes in a custom designed full-size aluminum ATX case, which Velocity Micro says dissipates heat better than steel or plastic. One interesting feature is a top fan, which draws heat up instead of to the side, as in most workstations. "It's letting hot air do what it's always done: rise," says the online configuration page for the HD80. Liquid cooling is a $160 option, one I think necessary for only the most demanding users and environments.
In a summary sent with the workstation, Velocity Micro discusses its use of retail-grade components, stating that "not only are retail-grade parts easier to upgrade and service, their higher quality translates into more power and rock solid stability." The big name brands would counter by saying they specify all components to their demanding standards. I like the retail parts approach Velocity Micro follows, but each approach offers it own advantages. If you are one who likes to get under the hood, a workstation stocked with easy-to-upgrade retail parts is more suited to your style.
A nice touch on this workstation case: USB ports on the top. I frequently need to plug in and unplug my headphones and my external speakers, so having the ports on the top instead of in back (hard to see or reach) or the front (always in the way) seemed like a fine luxury.
The Velocity Micro ProMagix HD80 comes in a full-size aluminum case that helps dissipate heat better than steel or plastic, according to the company. Image courtesy Velocity Micro.