Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4 review: Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4

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MSRP: $2,499.00

The Good The preconfigured Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4 has everything you expect to find in a high-end gaming desktop.

The Bad The chassis, from last year, no longer has that exotic boutique gaming feel to it.

The Bottom Line Most gamers would change very little about Digital Storm's preconfigured Ode V2 Level 4.

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8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Support 8

Digital Storm's preconfigured Ode Level 3 gaming desktop emerged last year as a benchmark of smart PC building. This year's model, the Ode V2, offers up a similarly savvy assortment of components. Unlike most boutique PCs, you can't tweak the hardware in the Ode systems before you purchase, so this $2,499 Level 4 version of the Ode V2 comes as you see it. Fortunately, what you get is sufficiently powerful to satisfy any PC gamer, and sells for a comparatively reasonable price.

Digital Storm has kept its Ode line enclosed in a retro sci-fi, white plastic chassis. It has a clean enough look, if it's not as sleek, or as small as some other gaming PCs this year. The interior might actually be more interesting. Unlike most PCs that leave their transistors and circuitry exposed like common street electronics, the Asus Sabertooth Z77 board in the Digital Storm unit preserves its dignity with plastic plating over the motherboard. The plates also apparently keep away dust.

Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4 Maingear F131 Velocity Micro Edge Z55
Price $2,499 $2,999 $2,299
Motherboard chipset Intel Z77 Intel Z77 Intel X68
CPU 4.7GHz Intel Core i7 3770K (overclocked) 4.7GHz Intel Core i7 3770K (overclocked) 4.9Ghz Intel Core i7 2700K
Memory 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
Graphics (2) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 (2) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (2) 1.28GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti
Hard drives 128GB SSD, 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate Digital hard drive 60GB Corsair Accelera SSD, 2TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive (2) 60GB Intel SSD, 1TB 7,200 rpm Hitachi hard drive
Optical drive Blu-ray reader/dual-layer DVD burner dual-layer DVD burner Blu-ray/dual-layer DVD burner
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)

Preconfigured though it might be, the Ode V2 still has all of the trappings of an elite custom gaming desktop. The Ivy Bridge third-generation Core i7 chip still comes overclocked, for example. It also has a pair of higher-end Nvidia graphics cards, as well as a solid state/mechanical hard drive pairing.

Using the $2,999 Maingear F131 as a baseline for the Digital Storm's relative value, the Ode V2 Level 4 falls exactly where it should given its price tag. Its lower-end graphics cards are appropriate given the $500 price difference with the Maingear. The Digital Storm system also has a smaller mechanical hard drive, but it makes up the difference with a larger solid-state drive and its Blu-ray player.

To further justify the value of Digital Storm's new configuration, I went to three other high-end PC vendors and tried to build a system to match the Ode V2 Level 4. None of them was able to match Digital Storm and keep the price under $3,000.

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Multimedia multitasking (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Rendering multiple CPUs  
Rendering single CPU  
Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4 (Core i7 3770K, June 2012)

On general application performance, the Digital Storm system lands so close to the $2,999 Maingear on most tests that the two are essentially tied. The only statistically relevant difference comes on our Photoshop CS5 test, where the Maingear's faster graphics cards give it an edge with Photoshop's GPU compute-enabled filters. For consumer-level multimedia processing, for the most part the Digital Storm system is just as fast as its competition.

Crysis (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,600x1,200 (high, 4x aa)  
1,280x1,024 (medium, 4x aa)  

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