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Digital Storm: A Review

Post Date: 2010-09-29

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Supernal-Echo View Drop Down
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  Quote Supernal-Echo Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Digital Storm: A Review
    Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 11:11pm
I began in search of a computer almost 5 months ago. At first, I wanted to go with a Mac Pro as I believed this was the best solution for my photography needs. Goodness I am glad that I switched back to PC, to my techie roots. Choosing the best custom pc vendor was another difficult choice. Digital Storm offered the best price to performance to quality ratio and I have no regrets whatsoever.

As a consumer, I am very particular, almost obsessed, with researching the heck out of whatever I anticipate buying. The more expensive something is, the more I will research it to ensure I get my money's worth. I must have read every review on DS and comparable PC builders on the web.

Here are the specs of my virtually silent Photoshop-killer:
System Configuration:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Black OPS Assassin Edition
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i7 930 2.8GHz (Quad Core)
Motherboard: EVGA X58 Micro Edition SLI (Intel X58 Chipset)
System Memory: 6GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 750W Digital Storm Certified (Dual SLI Compatible)
Expansion Bay: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (40GB Solid State (By: Intel) (Model: X-25V Edition) (Extreme Performance)
Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (1TB Hitachi/Seagate (7200 RPM) (32MB Cache)
Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No Thanks
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x) (LightScribe Edition)
Optical Drive 2: - No Thanks
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 1.2GB (Includes PhysX Technology) (EVGA Brand)
Add-on Card: - No Thanks
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: AIR: Stage 1: Noctua Dual 120mm Fans High Performance Cooler (Compatible With ONLY i7 Processors)
H20 Tube Color: - Not Applicable, I do not have a FrostChill or Sub-Zero LCS Cooling System Selected
Chassis Airflow: Standard Factory Chassis Fans
Internal Lighting: - No Thanks
Enhancements: - No Thanks
Chassis Mods: - No Thanks
Noise Reduction: - No Thanks
CPU Boost: FREE: Stage 1: Overclock the processor between 3.3GHz to 3.9GHz (Cooling Upgrade Recommended)
Graphics Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my video card(s)
Memory Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memory
OS Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not tweak the services on the operating system
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit Edition)

Here are some images (I wanted to make some long exposure shots of the rig in the dark; but since mine is pretty low key, there's not much to see). For comparison, you'll see my old iMac in the background. The difference is like night and day.

(Why yes, my desk is shaped like a red peanut!)


(The ole iMac hanging in the background. It has now moved elsewhere)


(The ingenious design of the Assassin case with all the cords up top)


(Masterfully crafted interior)


(A fine graphics card. Forgive my inner fine artist for the slight abstraction)


(These fans keep the components chilly. Wish my AC worked this well...)



This system is unbelievably fast. I never knew such power was possible in a computer! Photoshop CS5 boots faster than you can read the intro image. I can fly through longer processes like HDR processing and filters. It's such a dream. And the fact that it is upgrading it will not cost my left arm (unlike certain Mac Pros...) adds some peace of mind. I do not do any real heavy gaming on it. The most technically "advanced" game I have on it is Mass Effect and Just Cause 2 which came free; regardless, it plays both flawlessly.

Digital Storm handled everything so professionally. I understand that true quality takes time; though I was very anxiously awaiting this computer, I understand the amount of work that goes into testing and ensuring quality. I applaud DS for that! Now, if only Fedex functioned with such clockwork efficiency...

I cannot give DS enough praise for going above and beyond what is expected of a company. Next time I'm out in Cali, I'd like to buy a round for the wonderful folks who worked on my computer!


**Note** This is a minor rant, which really reflects my own ignorance and in NO WAY affects the quality of Digital Storm's workmanship or awesomeness. I would like to advice anyone considering an SSD for their rig to look at something larger than 40 gigs. I chose a 40g Intel, which has been fantastic, but it has filled up very quickly. Between Windows 7, Photoshop CS5, and random updates and such, it's almost full and I'm looking at a bigger SSD already. C'est la vie!
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ablahblah View Drop Down
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 11:17pm
O_O Wait wait wait, wait.....wait...is that an Air Penetrator? In a FT02? Wtf? Since when did SS start doing that?! O.O...Verify for me, the bottom fans have no grill mounted on top of them, am I seeing this right?

Moving on, anyways, gratz on getting your rig!
R4D4RPR00F
Core i7 920 @ 3.9Ghz
Asus Sabertooth X58
EVGA GTX 570
Mushkin 6GB 1414Mhz
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Supernal-Echo View Drop Down
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  Quote Supernal-Echo Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 11:32pm
As far as I can see, the only thing I would call a "grill" is located underneath the fans on the bottom.
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ablahblah View Drop Down
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 12:21am
Wow, that's weird, and great at the same time. Nice to see SS including better fans with the FT02 now. Or is DS sneaking some nice stuff into their Assassin cases...?
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Asus Sabertooth X58
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Invader Mig View Drop Down
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  Quote Invader Mig Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 3:44am
I'm also curious about the AP 181's. Did you order those or did the case come with them. If it just came with it, you're lucky, those fans rock.
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rholyrag View Drop Down
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  Quote rholyrag Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 9:46am
Great looking rig and pics!  Thanks for the review!  Enjoy...Excited!
"What we do in life echoes in eternity" - Maximus from Gladiator
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Supernal-Echo View Drop Down
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  Quote Supernal-Echo Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 11:52am
Umm, holy crap! I had originally requested the AP181's but decided against it later when I learned that it would take longer to order. It looks like those fans made it in there anyway (I just didn't know that's what they looked like)...That's amazing!

Edited by Supernal-Echo - 30 Sep 2010 at 11:53am
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maxyme View Drop Down
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  Quote maxyme Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 7:31pm
wow looks awesome. How high was the OC?
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Mr. View Drop Down
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  Quote Mr. Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Sep 2010 at 10:00pm
Oh snapp their really ap 181's?? that means i got em too =D and i was sorta same as you, i didnt get the extra fans cause it was over my budget but i guess we're lucky
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Grandpa View Drop Down
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  Quote Grandpa Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 4:20am
Yes that does look very nice.  One question though.  With a 40 GB primary HD, why would you put Photoshop on it?  You will fill the HD which will slow your computer.  Suggest putting all programs and games installed to a WD Raptor drive as D: .  Save C: for the OS and perhaps your browser.
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 9:16am

lol way more benefit from putting photoshop on it than your web browser

hes a photographer/digital artist, photoshop should be on there before anything else

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Supernal-Echo View Drop Down
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  Quote Supernal-Echo Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 11:37am
Here are the details from the OC

Processor Speed GHz: 3.850
Pretty sweet :)

And yes, Photoshop really needs to be on the SSD.
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maxyme View Drop Down
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  Quote maxyme Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Oct 2010 at 9:45pm
wow thats a awesome OC!
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Alex View Drop Down
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Oct 2010 at 7:29pm
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Supernal-Echo View Drop Down
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  Quote Supernal-Echo Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 04 Oct 2010 at 10:06pm
Not gonna lie guys, I'm pretty pumped that I finally got moved to the Reviews section AND got my own call out!

May my review persuade the indecisive!
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