Digital Storm's Core i5 System Reviewed

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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'll test that claim later in the review. It's worth noting that the company doesn't actually guarantee any single clockspeed if you opt to have the processor factory overclocked. For $45, the company will overclock the CPU to 3.3-3.9GHz, while $199 buys you entry in the 4GHz+ club.

Digital Storm Gaming System
System Specifications

Intel Core i5-750 2.67GHz (base, 3.8GHz Factory OC)


EVGA P55 FTW Edition (SLI Supported)

Operating System
Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition SP1
Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade

4GB Mushkin Enhanced
DDR3-1600MHz 8-8-8-24

Graphics Cards

2x EVGA GeForce GTX 275 

CPU Cooling

Asetek Liquid CPU Cooler (120mm Radiator)



Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black (1TB, 7200RPM, 32MB Cache)

Optical Drive
DVD-R 20x / CD-RW 48x


Cooler Master HAF 932
Width: 9.0" (229mm)
Depth: 22.7" (577mm)

Height: 21.5" (546mm)
Weight: 29lbs (Empty) (13.22kg)

Power Supply
1000W Chieftec PSU

Available Expansion Slots
1x PCIe x16

1x PCIe x1

2x PCI

Front Panel I/O Ports

4 USB 2.0
1 FireWire 1394A

1x eSATA

1 Headset
1 Mic

Rear Panel I/O Ports
1 PS/2 keyboard

1 CMOS Reset

6 USB 2.0
2 RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet
1 IEEE 1394A
10-channel audio I/O
1 SPDIF Digital/Optical Output

Warranty and Support

3 year limited parts + labor

(4-5 year options available)

$1,996.00 USD (as tested)

Our test configuration is built around the Cooler Master HAF932,a fairly common high-end case these days. The system includes two GeForce GTX 275 cards (896MB of RAM), 4GB of DDR3-1600 (2x2GB), a 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black hard drive, and a 1kW Chieftech power supply. Digital Storm offers a three year warranty on parts and labor, and will cover the cost of shipping the system there and back—provided it's within the first 30 days of ownership. The company ships an actual copy of Windows rather than relying on a recovery disc alone and includes lifetime telephone technical support with any system purchased.

The Warranty:
Digital Storm's baseline warranty is three years parts+labor on the system only. The company's website states that it "will cover all shipping costs (back and forth) as long as it's within the first 30 days of receiving your machine." Four and five-year coverage packages are also available for an additional fee.

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acarzt 5 years ago

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

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

realneil 5 years ago

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

3vi1 5 years ago

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

3vi1 5 years ago

>> 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.

acarzt 5 years ago

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.,1697,2151344,00.asp

mentaldisorder 5 years ago

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

Marco C 5 years ago

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 would like to thank 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 for their interest in Digital Storm."

3vi1 5 years ago

Sounds like an amicable bunch.

acarzt 5 years ago

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

They should slap a sticker on there somewhere!

realneil 4 years ago

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

EnigmaCypher7 4 years ago

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.

realneil 4 years ago

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. 

rrplay 4 years ago

 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.

PCMaster160 4 years ago
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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