We have our first Core 2 Duo machine in the [H] Consumer offices, and it’s from the oldest member of our Systems Evaluation program, Velocity Micro. There’s been no shortage of debate about what the Core 2 Duo means for gamers. We look at what Velocity Micro has done with this fabled processor.
As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems, we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on how fast it ran a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
Just over a year ago, Richmond, Virginia-based Velocity Micro (VM) provided us with the ProMagix DCX that became our first-ever [H] Consumer system evaluation. Since then, we’ve had two more VM systems in our testing bays. Although we’ve generally been impressed with Velocity Micro as a company (in fact, the company’s president is an active member on our forums), our previous systems were beset by some fairly serious out-of-the-box issues.
To their credit, however, Velocity Micro has always had a very good showing in the technical support segment of our evaluations, consistently earning high scores in that area. They've proven in the past that they have no qualms about standing firmly by their hardware and bending over backwards to make sure you have a system you're happy with. In a climate where "customer care" sometimes ends with the sale, this has been very refreshing, and has no doubt allowed Velocity Micro to grow to the company it is today.
Also, as many of you may know, Chris Morley, our former Managing Editor, recently left [H] Consumer to accept a position at Velocity Micro. Although we miss our friend, our commitment to our readers remains our number-one priority. In other words, we aren’t cutting VM any slack. Likewise, we’ve altered some of our purchasing protocols to ensure that we aren’t getting any special treatment from VM. A major step towards protecting our integrity was purchasing this machine at Best Buy. You can read about our purchasing experience ahead.
Generally, we evaluate machines based on how the manufacturer markets them. We don’t expect “budget” PC’s to produce stellar gaming results, nor do we expect a purpose-built gaming box to have cutting-edge Home Theatre PC technologies. VM markets the E2200 towards the gaming community so we’ll look closely there. However, since this is the first Intel Core 2 Duo that we’ve had in the [H] Consumer office, we’re going to take a long, hard look at what this new processor means for general usage and multimedia tasks as well.