First Look: Digital Storm's tiny, affordable PC gaming powerhouse
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First Look: Digital Storm's tiny, affordable PC gaming powerhouse

3:26 /

The small form factor Digital Storm Bolt gaming desktop will play anything on the market. You might even be able to afford it.

Hi. I'm Rich Brown for CNET. Today, we're gonna talk about the Digital Storm Bolt. So, as you can see, this is a slim tower desktop and it's actually a really fast gaming PC. So, this review unit runs about $1600 and it's a fixed configuration. You can make a few tweaks but for the most part, what you see on the configurator is what you get here. So, this is a tiny little design. It's about the same size as what we've seen from Falcon Northwest and Alienware and their other slim tower PCs. And it's actually not that bad-looking. There's some fence down here to keep it stable so it doesn't rock from side to side. You can see on the front there's a DVD drive, with a screen on the side, there's some USB ports, we've got USB 2.0, USB 3.0, as well as standard analog audio. On the back of the case is a pretty straightforward ray of ports. You got USB 2.0 here as well, some Ethernet jacks, 7.1 audio, as well as digital SPDIF audio output. We got a couple wireless antenna jacks right here. There's USB 3.0 down here as well as old school PS2 if you have an older input device like a joystick or something. Apparently, the graphics card, we've got 2 DVI outputs, as well as HDMI and display port out behind these little plugs. So, it looks like port like thunderbolt on the system but with what you get, you can connect the system in any standard desktop or living room setup. So that makes it pretty versatile unless you take advantage of its small size. So, I'll go inside the case but before I do that, I'll point out that it's actually kind of a pain. The cover slides off and it gets stuck sometimes on some of the internal components. There's some wires here, there's a screw down here that gets in a way when you put it back on. So, it looks pretty good on the outside. If you like to tinker inside your PC, you might be annoyed and wish Digital Storm might pay a little bit more attention to the design. So, in this side of case, you can see there's a GeForce GTX 660 Ti graphics card. So, that's a nice fast card. You can see it's a double-wide card and it's got the power connectors up here. Now, we'll let you play pretty much any PC game in the market right now. On our test, it did really well on Far Cry 2 and some older titles that are built in benchmarks. And then totally, we're playing Crisis 3 and Far Cry 3 at really high resolutions and high image quality and had no problems with the frame rate. So, you wanna hit the limit of the system before you would on a higher end PC and wish you could know that any game you wanna play today will have no problem. So, in this side of the case, you could see here is the CPU behind this giant fan. No, that's not liquid cooling what we've seen on some of the slim tires. That helped keep the price down. There's a core i7-3770K CPU, so that's overclocked bolt. Digital Storm has set the CPU speed to 4.1 GHz. That's not quite as fast as we've seen elsewhere but again, it's fast enough for most gamers and especially considering the price so it's not too slow. It's sort of hard to tell but there's two memory sticks here for 8 gigabytes total. You don't have a lot of expansion rooms, so you have to deal with that. That's kind of a no-limitation of the slim tower systems. Well, you do actually get a fair amount of hard drive space. So, here's the hard drive stack and there's one 500 gig drive in the back of the standard mechanical drive. In front of that, you have a 120 gig solid state drive here that has an operating system for fast booting. You can also add one more solid state drive here and Digital Storm even wired the data and power connectors exactly where you'd want it if you're gonna add a new drive. So, here are truly demanding PC game when you wanna play at high resolutions on multiple monitors, this is probably not the system for you. But if you're looking for a lean and mean PC for relatively affordable price, the Digital Storm Bolt can certainly get you up and running on any PC game you wanna throw at. So, I'm Rich Brown, this is the Digital Storm Bolt.

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