(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|2,560x1,600 (DirectX 11, very high)||1,920x1,080 (DirectX 11, very high)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
|Extreme (1,920x1080)||Performance (1,920x1,080, 16x AF)||Entry Level (1,680x1,050)|
Our gaming tests rely on older games due to the fact that they offer automated benchmarking, as opposed to using imperfect, manual tools like FRAPS. Few people play Far Cry 2 anymore, but it still provides a useful relative comparison. Irrational Games' forthcoming Bioshock Infinite is said to include a built-in benchmark mode, and I'm eager to try it out for testing when that game is available.
For the results we do have, the Bolt again lands where I expected given its configuration. The boosted "Ti" version of the GeForce GTX 660 card likely helps add a few frames per second, and in general you can play any game available on this PC with high resolution and image quality.
To supplement our older gaming tests, I also played Crysis 3 and Far Cry 3 on the Bolt, using a 30-inch display at 2,560x1,440 pixels and maxed out image quality. Both games played without a stutter. You might hit the ceiling for this PC's gaming capability before a full tower, dual-card system like Digital Storm's Ode V2 Level 4, but compared with the Falcon Northwest Tiki, the $1,000 premium for that system over the Bolt simply doesn't show up too dramatically on our benchmark tests.
You should have no trouble finding a port on the Bolt for the devices that will matter to gamers. With four USB 3.0 and six USB 2.0 jacks, 7.1 and S/PDIF audio outputs, and HDMI, DisplayPort, and two DVI video outputs on the graphics card, you can connect almost any headset, TV, monitor, speaker, audio receiver, or input device. That puts the Bolt on solid footing if you want to use it as a traditional deskbound computer, or in the living room connected to your home entertainment hardware.
Finally, as stated earlier, the smaller case implies a limited upgrade path. This configuration comes with two hard drives, one mechanical, one solid state, and you have room to add a second 2.5-inch drive to go with them post-purchase. Digital Storm also placed the power and data cables conveniently near the free drive bay. You get no other room to upgrade this system, though. The two memory card slots are both occupied, and the double-wide graphics card sits in the single PCI Express port.
You can see where Digital Storm pulled back on the $1,599 Bolt to keep the price reasonable. It has a standard DVD drive instead of Blu-ray. The storage hard drive is a slower 5,400rpm model instead of the 7,200rpm standard. The conservative overclock settings mean Digital Storm doesn't need a liquid CPU cooler like the Falcon Northwest Tiki, and can instead rely on a traditional fan-and-heatsink combination.
If you want a luxury small form factor gaming PC, the Tiki, Maingear's Potenza, or perhaps a version of the Origin Chronos will be a better, more expensive fit. By focusing on core performance and value, the Digital Storm Bolt makes high-end gaming accessible to a wider audience.
Performance testing conducted by Joseph Kaminski. Find out more about how we test desktop systems.
Digital Storm Ode V2 Level 4
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.7GHz Intel Core i7-3770K; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 graphics card; 128GB Corsair SSD, 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Falcon Northwest Tiki
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit; 4.3GHz Intel Core i7-377K (overclocked); 8GB 1,866MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics cards; 256GB SSD; 2TB 5,400rpm Western Digital hard drive
Maingear Potenza Super Stock
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.7GHz Intel Core i7-3770K (overclocked); 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 graphics card; 30GB solid-state caching drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.69GHz Intel Core i5-2550K; 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1.28GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 560 Ti graphics card; 750GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Digital Storm Bolt
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.1GHz Intel Core i7-3770K; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB Nvidia Geforce GTX 660 Ti graphics card; 120GB solid state hard drive, 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive
Dell XPS 8500
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-3770; 16GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 2GB AMD Radeon HD 7870 graphics card; 256MB 3TB 7,200rpm Seagate hard drive