The third time’s the charm–for the third time! Digital Storm has done it again! (Review of my Digital Storm Bolt III PC)

I’m quite a happy camper today, my friends. My new desktop PC came in today, and it seems to be working very well! As my previous two purchases were, this one was from Digital Storm, and I’m as pleased with my third DS machine as I was with the previous two. Let me give you the lowdown.

1: Background with Digital Storm and why I bought Another DS Desktop:

My previous two machines, the Bolt I (reviewed here) and my laptop, the Lance (reviewed here) were and are quality machines. Both still work. However, for Christmas I thought the time had come for a new one. See, a couple months ago my family and I threw out a very old computer (that we’d had for nearly 20 years, since I was in high school) from our downstairs living room, but my parents wanted something to replace it, since they occasionally do work down there. Thus, I moved my Bolt I down there along with a spare printer for them. I still had my Lance to work in my room, but that machine only had a total of 1.25 TB of storage (a 500 GB solid state main hard drive and a 750 GB secondary storage drive). I found myself needing moar, but I was also enamored with that sweet, sweet solid state speed. It usually takes a couple of minutes for a computer to boot up, but my laptop (with the system data on the solid state HD) boots up within seconds! *kisses fingers like a pleased chef* I wanted to enjoy that speed on a desktop with greater storage capacity. Now, I’ve heard from friends of mine that Solid State drives are much more vulnerable to damage from power loss (which laptops mitigate because they have an internal battery, allowing you to turn them off even if the power goes out), but power loss in my area is so rare that I figured I’d take the risk.

It was Christmas when I made this order, so I figure I could splurge a little bit and bought my most expensive machine yet. My first desktop was a total of 1550 dollars, my laptop was a total of 2352 dollars, and this one was a total of 2903 dollars. More expensive, certainly, but this time I was going for something lavish, and I bought the other machines 3 and 1 years ago, so inflation’s hitting me too :p Here’s what I got for the money:

2: Order Details

– Digital Storm Desktop 854929 Quantity: 1 $3,003.00
– — PROMOTIONAL LIMITED TIME BONUS DISCOUNT: $100 Quantity: 1 ($100.00)
– — PROMOTIONAL LIMITED TIME 1 YEAR WARRANTY UPGRADE ($99 VALUE) Quantity: 1 $0.00
– — FREE NVIDIA Bundle – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate or Rainbow Six Siege (Digital Code) Quantity: 1 $0.00

System Configuration:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller – Pre-built Digital Storm Bolt 3
Exterior Finish: Black Brushed Aluminum Hairline Finish
Side Window: Edge to Edge Premium Acrylic
Processor: BACKORDERED ETA Early January: Intel Core i7 6700 3.4GHz (Quad Core) (Not Overclockable)
Motherboard: ASUS Z170I PRO GAMING (Intel Z170 Chipset) (Mini-ITX) (Up to 1x PCI-E Device)
System Memory: 32GB DDR4 2666MHz Corsair Vengeance LPX (High-Performance)
Power Supply: 600W SilverStone SX600-G (Gold Plus Rated) (Supports up to GTX TITAN X)
Optical Drive: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 8x / CD-Writer 8x)
Storage Set 1: 1x SSD (500GB Samsung 850 EVO)
Storage Set 2: 1x Storage (4TB Western Digital – Black Edition)
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Graphics Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB (Includes PhysX)
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
HPC Processor: – No Thanks
Cooling: High Performance Cooler with Five Heatpipes
Chassis Fans: High Static Pressure – Corsair Air Series SP120 Fans (2x 120mm)
CPU Boost: Standard Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Automatic Overclocking
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows CD)
Virus Protection: FREE: McAfee AntiVirus Plus (1 Year Service Activation Card) (Not Pre-installed) ($35 Value)

Sub-Total: $2,903.00
Tax (0%): $0.00
S&H: FREE Ground $0.00
Grand Total: $2,903.00

 

So yeah, you’ll note that it was originally 3000 dollars, but they had a sale that gave me a hundred bucks off, PLUS free shipping, PLUS an extra year on the warranty! The free game from Nvidia was nice too ;D They also gave me a free box of goodies, which I’ll describe later.

In reference to the build of this Bolt III, aside from what I already mentioned, I got Windows 7 Professional because I always wanted a nice 32 GB ram (normal Windows only lets you get up to 16 GB), and I’m so used to Windows 7 I don’t feel like going up to Windows 10 just yet. ;o I also got a 500 GB Solid State drive and a 4 TB regular drive for a total of 4.5 TB of storage space, which is more than double my old 2TB deskie (the Bolt I) and treble my 1.25 TB lappie. Still, given how much stuff I plan to put on there, maybe I should have gone for a 6 TB drive, but that was Seagate and I heard Western Digital is more reliable generally. ;D

So, as other reviewers before me have done, I’ll break down my experience after ordering (on December 21):

3: The Shipping Saga

Digital Storm impressed, as usual, but in this case they impressed very early on. As you’ll note from the order, a component (the processor) was marked backordered, so I thought DS wouldn’t even start building my machine until early January, and I wouldn’t get it until the middle or late of that month. Imagine my surprise when not even a day later I received word construction had started, and in a week it was done! I was suspicious, but when I called DS, they said they’d gotten in a shipment of processors very promptly and got right to work on my order. And lo and behold, on the 7th of January, days before I initially thought they’d even start on my order, my machine arrived! UPS was also prompt about delivering it and it made it to me in good condition, so I have no complaints. The box was nice and big, filled with foam for protection, and generally very good overall. 10/10 for Digital Storm and UPS! Here’s some pics as proof.

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3: Extra Stuff:

The machine itself came in perfect condition, but first I opened up that little box you see in the third picture. It came with the Digital Storm documentation in the binder, along with the manuals for the hard drive and things like that, but also some other useful stuff. It had an EVGA poster (OK), some stands for the computer (Nice, though I don’t really need them), some extra power cords for the internal components (Nice to have), but also a DVI to VGA adaptor, which I need for my TV monitor, a nice little wireless antenna (I’ll describe that later), and a remote for the lighting on my machine. The adaptor was the most important thing, so Digital Storm really came through. 10/10 for the goodies.

4: The Machine Itself

It’s only been a day, but so far I am extremely satisfied with it. Here are some more pics:

 

20160107_131900_resized 20160107_195113_resized 20160107_195129_resized 20160107_195138_resized 20160107_195153_resized_1

So some general notes about this. The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s fairly big, somewhat bigger than the Bolt I that was my first purchase from Digital Storm. That’s not a problem for me, since I have enough space on my desk, as you can see, but it is something to keep in mind if space is at a premium for you. On the other hand, the physical machine itself has more than enough to make up for its size. The glowing front light looks pretty nifty and you can change its colors; you also have the option to go for internal LED lighting if you choose (I didn’t). The acrylic window not only looks nice (giving you a clear view of the internals and their glows, and as you can see from the pics it’s almost reflective!) but is also very easy to remove, you just have to undo the four screws at the corner. This makes it extremely easy to access the internal components and replace them if you need to, i.e you’ll be able to upgrade the individual parts very easily as the years go by if you want.

It’s also very, very quiet. While I haven’t yet ran much on it besides from Vindictus, so far, whenever I’ve activated it, it’s made no more noise than a whisper. I literally have to put my ear right next to the acrylic glass to barely hear a low, purring whirr coming from inside. It is quite literally the least noisy computer I have ever owned. If noise reduction is important to you, I cannot recommend the Bolt III enough.

As for performance, the machine is great, just as good as my Lance. It boots up within seconds, runs Vindictus smoothly and wonderfully at max settings, and generally is everything I’m looking for in a desktop. At first, the Internet was running a little slowly on it, I only got 500 kb download speeds on Steam via wireless. However, when I attached the wireless antenna they gave me, speeds quickly jumped up to 2-3 MBs, so that was definitely good. I only have two very minor complaints. First, the CD drive seems, physically, a little hard to use. I put in a couple of DVDs and CDs and they worked fine (as you can tell from the order, I got a normal CD/DVD drive because I already had a bluray player), but it’s kind of hard to eject them. After I press the eject button I kind of have to drag the CD out, it doesn’t just really come out of its own volition. Secondly, the back of the machine case has some metal awning type things that curl around it, so you can sort of scratch yourself plugging some things in if you’re not careful. But those are fairly minor caveats. 9.8/10 for the machine itself.

OVERVIEW: Good things about my experience

Pretty much everything, especially the incredibly fast shipping.

OVERVIEW: Bad things about my experience

Pretty much nothing, except for maybe a slightly unwieldy CD drive and metal parts at the back of the computer.

Suggestions for Digital Storm:

Maybe look at the case for the Bolt III, the acrylic is great but slightly easier access to the back of the machine might be nice. Also, there weren’t any paint options aside from black for this Bolt variant, which also might have been nice (I wanted a blue one). But those are no big deal.

Things I Would Have Done Differently:

Maybe I should have waited till January to order…I ordered in December for the Christmas sale, which was 100 dollars off and a free 4 year warranty, but in January they rolled out the Boxing Day Sale, which was 200 dollars off and a 5 year warranty. XD *Maybe* I should have went with the 6 GB hard drive too, since by the looks of it I’ll be getting a looooooot of stuff on this compy. Ah, well… 4 GB is still pretty damn generous and my old 2 TB desktop lasted me quite a while, so I assume this should be just enough for me.

Now, my previous two machines from Digital Storm did have some difficulties at first, which I described in my reviews of them. My Bolt froze up a little bit early on, and my Lance had some errors in updating and an occasionally finicky CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drive. I haven’t had any problems AT ALL with this Bolt III so far, but I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. Still, perhaps it won’t, and even if it does from my past experience Digital Storm will fix up the problems in a snap, so I’m not worried 😀

In any case, perhaps Digital Storm did too well of a job…with a machine like this, assuming I take care of it well, I think I just may be set for the next 10 years or so–I probably won’t need to buy another computer for a very long time! Still, if my dad ever needs a laptop, I think I’ll get it from Digital Storm. Even though he’s not at all a gamer, a cheap one would probably be good for him, since Digital Storm machines are by far the most reliable and dependable of any I’ve bought in my whole life. I’ll definitely continue to recommend them to all and sundry who ask.

Thanks to Snaike, bprat, hoserator, AA, and wildrator from the DS forums for their suggestions on this build! 😀 They really helped me make the right choices on my machine, I think. ❤

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