Digital Storm's Enix Gaming System Reviewed
It's been a busy spring for OEMs, and Digital Storm is no exception. Earlier this year, Intel was forced to suspend shipments of Sandy Bridge's accompanying Cougar Point chipset while it fixed a design flaw. This, in turn, left both system OEMs and retail motherboard vendors no choice but to suspend/delay their own Sandy Bridge-based products. Now the market is awash with product refreshes, making it more difficult than ever for any one product to stand out from the crowd. Digital Storm's new Enix appears to pull it off nicely, however, at a (relatively) cheap price compared to many of the boutique systems we've reviewed in the past 18 months.
At $3300, our review system is actually an expensive version of the Enix. Digital Storm's basic Enix system starts off at $1125. After a few modifications (the base config pairs an SLI PSU with a non-SLI motherboard, a quad-core CPU), and opting to step up to a Radeon 6850 from a low-end GeForce GT 220 1GB. After these few upgrades, the system is $1306. While that's expensive compared to your average $500 Walmart special machine, it's reasonable for a boutique builder offering custom configurations of this type.
|Intel Core i7-2600K
|8GB DDR3-1600MHz Corsair Dominator DHX
|2x GTX 580 in SLI, 1.5GB RAM per GPU
|BD-ROM / DVD writer
|1x 128GB Corsair Performance 3 Series
1x 1TB WD Caviar Black (64MB cache)
|Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium
|1x Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN
|6x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0 rerouted), FireWire 1394a, eSATA, S/PDIF Out, 1x RJ45.
|Integrated 8-channel Realtek ALC892
|SilverStone 1kW Strider Gold (ST1000-G)
|Corsair H70 Liquid CPU Cooler
|Yes, Overclock CPU To 4.7 - 5.2GHz
|7.31" x 17.9" x 16.02" (WxDxH)
|Lifetime Customer Care / 3 Year Limited
|$3,355 (as configured)
In light of its specifications, the Enix is an excellent example of a "have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too" design. Digital Storm has packed the system with a 3.4GHz processor overclocked at 4.7GHz and a brace of GTX 580s, while simultaneously opting for an mATX tower designed to maximize airflow and accommodate high-end components. The case—SilverStone's FT03—minimizes chassis depth, thus creating a unique rectangular prism form factor.
With the Enix, Digital Storm set itself a very high hurdle. It's extremely difficult to balance ultra-high-end performance, equipment temperatures, and system noise. Heavy-handed overclocking makes it much harder to find that elusive sweet spot. All of the boutique builders that serve this rarefied market have struggled with this task at one time or another. In this case, we were concerned that Digital Storm might not have hit the mark. When we reviewed Digital Storm's Core i5-750 system 18 months ago, we were unhappy with both the decibel level and the frequency of the sound itself.
We'll tell you up front, the Enix fixes everything we didn't like about the older Core i5 system. While this particular Enix is far more expensive than the Core i5 we reviewed, it's possible to build an Enix that *is* within that system's price range. The downside here is that Digital Storm bit off a bit more than it should've when it tuned the Enix's performance. Details to follow.