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Slade: Professional, Powerful, QUIET

Post Date: 2014-02-02

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  Quote Counsel Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Slade: Professional, Powerful, QUIET
    Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 2:20pm
Slade: Professional, Powerful, QUIET



At the end of December 2013, and after extensive research, I placed an order for a Digital Storm Slade. The Digital Storm forum community were very helpful in nailing down my build - you can find the discussion thread here - and I also sent a bunch of questions to Alex at Digital Storm. You can find the specifications I ended up settling on at the end of this review.

I've had my new system for two weeks now, and I am very, very pleased with it. I've hooked it up to Dell's new Ultrasharp U2414H (1080P) monitor, and it handles everything I throw at it. World of Tanks on Ultra? 100 frames per second. Skyrim with ultra high resolution mods and the most performance hogging post-processing effects (ENB?) Not a problem. Deus Ex: Human Revolution at Ultra? Too easy. The only games that can dip this system below 60 frames per second are Battlefield 4 and Crysis 3. This system is powerful.

I'm also a big fan of the look. Corsair's 550D is a very clean, no-nonsense case design. While it's mostly hidden away under my desk, the better to avoid attention from tiny fingers, this is a case that would be at home in any office. While many gamers like to advertise with LED fans and case windows to show off their top tier components, I love the professional look the Slade brings. Looking at it, you'd never realize how powerful the components in there are.

Another reason you'd never realize how powerful the Slade is the lack of noise. When handling light and medium loads, you have to put your head right by the case to hear any noise at all. The RM 850 power supply doesn't even spin up for those loads. Even under the toughest loads I put it under, I don't notice significant noise - it's always drowned out by my speakers or headphones. This machine is QUIET.

Overall, I'm very happy, though my experience is not entirely without nitpicks.

Firstly - I hadn't used a mid-tower computer in decades, and I'm forgotten how large they are. It's no monster, but it is much bigger and heavier than your standard office machine, despite the professional design. This makes it easier to open up and swap internal components, but harder to find a suitable space for. If you haven't used a full tower or midtower computer in a while, make sure you look at those measurements and consider where you're putting your computer!

Secondly - my system came with an unusual EVGA design for the GTX 780. It's a stylish black-and-gold blower design that looks fantastic in my new rig, but would be less effective than the standard GTX 780 design when heat is a major concern. If you're planning to SLI, you might want to ask Digital Storm for a standard reference cooled GTX 780.

Thirdly, and this one is entirely on me - if you have a discrete GPU (like most of Digital Storm's systems), make sure to plug your monitor into your GPU, not your motherboard. And make sure to set your monitor to receive its signal from the exact port you've plugged into. Otherwise, you may find yourself getting needlessly well-acquainted with your various manuals. Not fun. [Some fellow Digital Storm forum users have posted helpful pictures below to show you how to which port to use to avoid my mistake].

Anyway, and overall, I am very pleased with the power, looks, and noise levels of my new Digital Storm system. It is easy to see why the company has such an enthusiastic forum community, who provided great advice in how to get the system I wanted within the budget I needed.

One Year Update
I have had my Slade for a bit over one year now. I have had no technical issues of any kind, and my rig continues to perform admirably on new releases such as Dragon Age: Inquisition. Of course, one of the advantages of a midtower system is that it'll be easy to swap out the graphics card when that eventually becomes necessary. Though the novelty of having such a powerful system has worn off, I continue to be impressed by my Slade's performance, its looks, and its silence. My computer sits under my desk, and I can honestly say that I have never noticed any noise from it, ever, in the past year of use.

My Slade's Key Specifications:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Corsair Obsidian 550D
Processor: Intel Core i7 4770K 3.50 GHz (Unlocked CPU) (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS Z87-EXPERT (Intel Z87 Chipset) (Features Intel Thunderbolt Technology) <b></b>
System Memory: 8GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified Performance Series (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested) <b></b>
Power Supply: 850W Corsair RM <b></b>
Optical Drive: ASUS Blu-Ray Player/DVD Writer (Play Blu-Ray and Burn DVDs) (Model: BC-12B1ST) <b></b>
Storage Set 1: 1x (256GB Solid State (By: Samsung) (Model: 840 Pro Series) <b></b>
Graphics Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB (Includes PhysX) <b></b>
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 2: Digital Storm Vortex 120mm Radiator Liquid CPU Cooler (High-Performance Edition)
Boost Processor: Stage 1: Overclock CPU 4.0GHz to 4.4GHz



Edited by Counsel - 23 Feb 2015 at 7:53pm

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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 2:22pm
Awesome, thanks for the review! Awesome
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  Quote ArkansasWoman777 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 2:37pm
good review
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 3:11pm
Slade 550d is one of the best looking cases out there. Congrats.
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  Quote Nav Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 3:30pm
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  Quote fstcvc Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 7:14pm
HailStorm II
i7 4770K @ 4.5GHz
Asus Maximus VI Extreme
16GB Corsair Dominator Platinum
3xSLI EVGA SuperClocked GTX TITAN
Samsung 840Pro SSD 256GB+512GB
HydroLux+XSPC CPU/MoBo/GPU Liquid Cooling
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 7:50pm
Thank you for posting your detailed review.
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  Quote Tanker201 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Feb 2014 at 7:52pm
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  Quote retirednavysnipe Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Feb 2014 at 6:25am
Great review and even better you love your new computer. That's what it is all about.

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  Quote danjw1 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Feb 2014 at 11:20am
Thank you for the review!
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  Quote joguco2012 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 04 Feb 2014 at 4:28pm
Thanks for your review and pics!!

Enjoy.
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  Quote Mouseguard Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 04 Feb 2014 at 4:37pm
Looks awesome, congratulations
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  Quote Bahger Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 6:56pm
I am almost at the point of ordering a very similar system to yours and appreciate the informative review.
 
Can you explain what you mean about the monitor?  Every PC I have owned has had a dedicated port for the monitor; how is it possible to plug it in anywhere else?  Also monitor-related, I run a good, 30" single monitor with no plands to get a triples or use my PC to power a fancy home entertainment system.  Bearing this in mind, is there any reason whatsover to contemplate a pair of GFX cards in SLI vs. a very good, fast, modern single card?


Edited by Bahger - 01 Mar 2014 at 6:58pm
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  Quote ArkansasWoman777 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 7:17pm
Originally posted by Bahger




I am almost at the point of ordering a very similar system to yours and appreciate the informative review.
 
Can you explain what you mean about the monitor?  Every PC I have owned has had a dedicated port for the monitor; how is it possible to plug it in anywhere else?  Also monitor-related, I run a good, 30" single monitor with no plands to get a triples or use my PC to power a fancy home entertainment system.  Bearing this in mind, is there any reason whatsover to contemplate a pair of GFX cards in SLI vs. a very good, fast, modern single card?



He means do not use the motherboards ports (if the motherboard has any ports) to hook your monitor up because DS disables those and just use the graphics card ports which is what you want to do because you won't be able to game on the motherboards ports.
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  Quote Bahger Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 7:20pm
Ah, ok, good to know.  I hope I can tell the difference, I am more of a power-user than a power-installer and astonish myself at the stupid mistakes I am capable of making.
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  Quote ArkansasWoman777 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 7:29pm
Originally posted by Bahger



Ah, ok, good to know.  I hope I can tell the difference, I am more of a power-user than a power-installer and astonish myself at the stupid mistakes I am capable of making.



It will be pretty easy to tell, when you get it open the side panel of the case and look at the graphics card then see where the ports are located at on the back of the case.
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  Quote Bahger Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 7:31pm
Many thanks.
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  Quote ArkansasWoman777 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 01 Mar 2014 at 7:41pm
Originally posted by Bahger



Many thanks.


You're welcome
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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Mar 2014 at 7:30am
Bahger......Just to follow up on Arkansas's great advice, here's a pic that might help you and others. 

http://www.digitalstormonline.com/forums/uploads/6454/550DVideoPorts.jpg
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  Quote Counsel Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 23 Feb 2015 at 7:54pm
Just added a "one year update" section to my review above.

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  Quote bprat22 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 24 Feb 2015 at 9:36am
Great to hear. Awesome       Congrats and we'll be looking for a similar update in another year.   Strong

Enjoy. Big%20Smile
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  Quote Counsel Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Feb 2015 at 4:15pm
Originally posted by bprat22

Great to hear. Awesome       Congrats and we'll be looking for a similar update in another year.  
StrongEnjoy. Big%20Smile

No doubt. In fact, I suspect that I'll be checking back in in 2016 to discuss the merits of various graphics upgrades. If DX12 lives up to its currently rumored SLI/Crossfire potential, a dual card setup may be irresistable.

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  Quote Bahger Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 10 Mar 2015 at 8:38am
One year in, my Slade is running flawlessly, still remarkably quiet; even the most GPU-intensive games that launch the fans raise the noise level only slightly. It's by far the best gaming rig I've ever had and my second from DS. I suspect I'm a customer for life.
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 10 Mar 2015 at 2:41pm
Glad to hear!
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