Digital Storm's Enix Gaming System Reviewed

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The Digital Storm Enix in profile and front-and-center. SilverStone's vertically oriented FT03 makes the system quite unique. The central case fan (visible in the middle photo) is angled to draw air through the red panel on the left-hand side of the case. The CPU is cooled by Corsair's H70 unit with fans mounted on both sides.

SilverStone's FT03 shares its vertical orientation with with MainGear's custom Shift chassis that we reviewed about a year ago. Both cases orient the motherboard vertically and make use of internal fans to draw air from the bottom of the system, direct it across the motherboard, and exhaust it at the top.

From here, the two diverge. The FT03 is much smaller than the SHIFT, with half or less of its internal volume.  Despite this, the case can hold two double-wide video cards, up to three hard drives, and an SSD. Audio is strictly motherboard-only in the configuration we tested, though a non-SLI Enix could accomodate a sound card.

   

The top of the Enix (with the lid on and off) and the left-hand air port with the grill removed

The Enix's SilverStone FT03 case has several potential drawbacks. The optical drive slot is much lower than usual, while the front panel / top panel is minimalist by today's standards, particularly given the fact that the two USB 3.0 ports at the top of the system are connected to the two USB ports immediately adjacent to them.. As a result, the Enix configuration we were shipped can't accommodate more than six USB devices, total. 

That's precious few given the current plethora of USB devices. A user with a high-end keyboard that draws power from dual USB 2.0 ports, a USB mouse, external card reader, a phone / tablet that charges via USB, and a flash drive is out of space for anything else. 

SilverStone's decision to use front-mount USB 3.0 ports actually makes things worse. If the top USB ports weren't blue, Digital Storm could internally connect them to one of the motherboard's additional USB headers, and bring the total number of ports up to eight. 

   

The top-mounted power and reset buttons need to be recessed—even with the top cover on, the two buttons sit above the grate and are vulnerable to any sort of accidental tap. Normally we'd hail front-mount USB 3.0 ports as a fine thing, but they make little sense in a system with so few ports to begin with,

Our feelings are decidedly mixed. The FT03 has its strong points, and Digital Storm has outfitted it well, but we're not convinced the tradeoffs are worth it.

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