Digital Storm's Core i5 System Reviewed

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News Posted: Wed, Dec 16 2009 1:16 PM

When Intel introduced its LGA1166 Lynnfield processors earlier this fall, one of its goals was to introduce Nehalem's advanced technology at lower price points. To that end, Digital Storm has designed a high-end system around the P55 chipset and Core i5 processor. At a price of ~$1900, the customized system isn't what you'd call cheap, but it's still less expensive than some of the Core i7 PCs we've seen recently, several of which landed between $3100-$4000 dollars. At first glance, the 2.67GHz Core i5 might not seem to be capable competition for Core i7 processors running at 3.2GHz and above, but Digital Storm has a trick up its sleeve. The relatively pedestrian quad-core has, in this case, been punched up to 3.8GHz from the factory. DS claims that the processors it ships in this configuration have been certified to operate "100% Stability and Reliability." We test that claim in the review...

Digital Storm's Core i5 System Reviewed

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acarzt replied on Wed, Dec 16 2009 8:13 PM

I would like to know EXACTLY what changes they are making to the OS.

I wouldn't mind freeing up some performance in Vista :-)

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realneil replied on Thu, Dec 17 2009 8:53 AM

This is a good thorough review. Their OS tweaks are intriguing. I'd like to know what they do to increase the performance too.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

(Mark Twain)

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Dec 17 2009 4:10 PM

>> The company ships an actual copy of Windows rather than relying on a recovery disc alone

BRAVO.  That's a big plus, in my book.

One of the things that I really dislike about MS is that around the time the released Win2k, they instituted a policy where vendors who licensed Windows could only include a recovery CD and not a full install CD (was never announce publicly, but a MS rep confirmed to InfoWorld in July 2000).

This made it harder for pirates, but it also made it impossible to re-install Windows when your MB died (unless you could find the same outdated motherboard as a replacement).  Microsoft can thank their stupid policy of treating all their customers like pirates for being the catalyst that got me to try my first clean Linux install.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Dec 17 2009 4:12 PM

Yes, that would be interesting.  Maybe someone with access can export the registry and run some diffs against other boxes.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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acarzt replied on Thu, Dec 17 2009 9:10 PM

This weekend i'm gonna go through the services running in vista and see if I can duplicate the kind of performance gains as seen here. I'll create a new thread and post up my results :-)

I'm gonna use the following list as a reference on things to disable.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2151344,00.asp

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Chieftec PSU?  I don't remember them ever making psu's.  I'd expect better for that price.

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Marco C replied on Thu, Dec 17 2009 11:32 PM

The team at Digital Storm wanted to pass some information along with regard to the issues mentioned in the review.  We worked with DS during the review process and they reacted very quickly to our concerns.  Here is what the company has to say...

"DIGITAL STORM REPLY:
Digital Storm would like to thank HotHardware.com for the opportunity to review our i5 system. It is always a pleasure to work with computer technology sites like HotHardware because though we strive to be as perfect as possible sometimes we learn more about ourselves in the process.

As a premiere custom gaming computer company we are constantly striving to provide the absolute best product to our customers. That is why we are taking to heart the three issues raised in this review very seriously. Our endeavor is to make sure that every single system that we deliver to our customers is a high performance –finely tuned machine. 
  
We have already taken steps to make sure that every single computer that uses multiple video cards is organized to optimize performance. Our testing team has integrated a performance checklist into its process to make sure a customer’s system is perfectly tuned to draw out the greatest performance from their hardware.

Concerning the GPU overclocking instability that was mentioned, we had spoken to Joel Hruska before the review posted concerning this issue and have already taken steps to make sure the GPU overclocks our customer’s are receiving are rock solid stable. We have integrated multiple tests into our process to verify the stability and performance of the GPU overclock. This includes the recommendations mentioned in the review and additional game testing. Again, this change has already been made, however, even before these changes we experienced about a 1% failure rate. We are now confident that the GPU overclock failure rate should drop to zero after the recommendations that Joel has recommended.

As mentioned in the review Digital Storm now offers a Noise Suppression package that our customers can select to guarantee quiet operation in their computer. We take every system that purchases this package in an isolated room to measure the dB output and replace fans, add insulation, adjust fan speeds, and take additional steps to make sure the customers dB output is as small as possible.

We want HotHardware, the readers of this article, and our customers to know that whenever constructive criticism is provided Digital Storm takes it very seriously and will take any steps necessary to make sure that any issues are resolved because the most important thing to us is the quality of the product that we are selling. We wanted to personally thank Dave Altavilla and Joel Hruska for their cooperation throughout this process and the web users of HotHardware.com for their interest in Digital Storm."

Marco Chiappetta
Managing Editor @ HotHardware.com

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3vi1 replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 10:41 AM

Sounds like an amicable bunch.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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acarzt replied on Fri, Dec 18 2009 2:40 PM

Well that's pretty awesome that they would make such an effort.

They should slap a Hothardware.com sticker on there somewhere!

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realneil replied on Sun, Jan 10 2010 7:15 PM

Game Booster Will tweak your system to a degree to speed it up for gaming.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Not entirely related but, Love the Case. Cooler Masters HAF cases, are very solid, and space-ful. My current build is in a HAF 932 running Quad Crossfire and stays nice and cool, not to mention, no "Tight fits" for any of my hardware.

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 20 2010 8:32 AM

Cooler Master cases are very nice. I have the CM-Storm Sniper and a CM-Centurion case. Both have intelligent cooling and plenty of room for today's larger equipment. 

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rrplay replied on Sat, Dec 4 2010 6:05 PM

 Even though this original thread & review is over a year old.
 I'd like to comment about the response from Digital Storm which is very enlightening to anyone that is new to Digital Storm and strongly reflects there commitment to supporting it's customers before and after the sale.

And not just for a review site ..real deal period.

check-out the forums at DS there customer policy,guides, hardware info etc [!ender's come to mind]

That is why for some reason  if I cannot do a custom build - I have & will continue to recommend Digital Storm.

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Yea DS is awesome but i have to agree with what is said above from a year ago. The OS tweak really wouldn't appeal to anyone now with windows 7 because we don't really know what they are doing and win 7 is so optimized its not worth it plus with a good gpu and proccessor you don't need it.
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