Intel's Sandy Bridge processors are still the popular kids on the block, but the new Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition has arrived, to take top honors on our Performance PC benchmarks
Quiet, effective cooling system
Unique, attractive chassis
Looks a bit like a mini-fridge
Limited upgradability as configured
Bottom Line: The Enix's selling point is its alluring chassis, but the system also delivers great performance for a (relatively) good price.
The first thing you'll notice about the Digital Storm Enix is its shape. Quite a few high-end PCs come through our labs--the performance desktop category is full of them--but this is the first time a well-equipped gaming rig looked so very much like a mini-fridge, and we don't often see this much power packed so elegantly into such a small space.
Priced at $3627 (as of March 22, 2011), the Enix sports some powerful hardware. It carries an Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge processor, overclocked from 3.4GHz to a speedy 4.7GHz. The Enix also offers two Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards in SLI, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB solid-state boot drive, and a 1TB drive for storage.
The Enix is housed in a SilverStone Fortress FT03 black aluminum chassis with fire-engine-red detailing. The case is narrow and tall (19.2 inches high), and practically square-shaped at 9.25 inches wide by 11.2 inches deep. The front, back, and sides are smooth and nearly unblemished, save for a red plastic mesh door on the left side and a front-loading Blu-ray drive slot/Digital Storm logo on the front. The Blu-ray slot has no eject button, which is attractively minimalist but inconvenient for users who don't have an eject button on their keyboard.
The ports are located on the top of the chassis, and are mostly covered by a red plastic diamond mesh panel. A few ports remain uncovered for easy access, including two USB 3.0 ports and headphone and microphone jacks, as well as a power button and a smaller reset button.
Located under the cover are two more USB 3.0 ports, six USB 2.0 ports, PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, an S/PDIF out, an eSATA port, a 1394 FireWire port, an ethernet connection, and support for 7.1 surround sound. Also hiding under the cover are the graphics ports: two DVI for each card (four in total), and one mini-HDMI port for each card (two in total). The plastic mesh is situated so that you can snake your components' cords out through a hole near the back.
The Fortress FT03 opens fairly easily; both the left and right panels of the chassis slide up to allow you access to the internal components. Upgrading an Enix similar to our test configuration won't be impossible, but it will be tricky: The elaborate vertical cooling system features a series of angled fans that take up half of the chassis, while the dual graphics cards occupy the other half. You'll find two 3.5-inch bays on the right side of the chassis, but only one is free--the other is completely obscured by a mess of wires. Assuming that you want to be able to close the case once you've upgraded parts, it's safe to say you'll be able to put in another hard drive and that's about it. The storage drive is packed into a hot-swappable bay on top of the machine, offering easy access if you need to move that data about quickly.
Although the Enix's strong point may not be internal expansion, you should thank Digital Storm for that advanced cooling system, which allows for the overclocked 4.7GHz i7-2600K processor. After all, the Enix earned a score of 206 on our WorldBench 6 benchmark tests, a mark that puts it above both the Maingear Shift Super Stock (203) and the V3 Convoy (204). The Enix's score still puts it below the Origin Genesis 2011, our current category champion; the Genesis scored considerably higher at 223, but it also costs $6399, nearly $2800 more than the Enix.
In graphics performance the Enix was similarly impressive, achieving a stunning 212.8 frames per second on PCWorld's Unreal Tournament 3 tests (2560-by-1600-pixel resolution, high quality). The Enix thus matches the Origin Genesis 2011 in graphics quality; the latter managed the same frame rate at the same settings, even though it has an additional GeForce GTX 580 (three cards in total).
The unique chassis of the Digital Storm Enix is certainly the PC's selling point, though it's nice to know that this system delivers in terms of performance, as well. We have only a few minor complaints--the red plastic meshing looks and feels a bit cheap, and the power and reset buttons are overexposed, especially if you'll be storing the system on the floor. Aside from those small issues, the Enix is a powerful, sexy, and (relatively) well-priced machine.
Digital Storm ODE
Digital Storm ODE Review, by Alex Cocilova July 26, 2011
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