Top 10 performance desktop PCs

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

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Pros :
Sleek, well-organized case
Great power at a great price

Limited room for expansion left

Bottom Line: The Digital Storm ODE performance PC offers high-end power at a low price.

Digital Storm has produced some slick and powerful machines in the past, but the ODE may be the best buy of them all.

Priced at $1499 (as of July 25, 2011)--and encased in a glossy white, slightly rounded case that would look right at home at Aperture Science--the unit is a bargain for performance PC enthusiasts. Digital Storm didn't cut any discernible corners in cutting the price.

With the aid of enormous lighted fans on the front and top, and an efficiently large cooler on the back that doubles as a CPU heat sink, the interior and the processor stay nice and cool. A dial on the top of the case lets you adjust the speed of the fans to balance energy savings and performance. And in another nod to style, the company added red LED lights to the bottom of the side window, giving the interior components a slight glow.

The ODE's interior looks just as neat and sleek as its exterior. All of the wires are tucked neatly out of sight behind the motherboard, affording quick access to the system's six tool-free 3.5-inch bays and four 5.25-inch bays.

For power, the Digital Storm ODE packs an Intel Core i7 2600k that leaves you plenty of freedom to overclock. You also get 8GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, with room to add a couple of additional sticks later if desired.

The ODE dominated our Far Cry 2 graphical benchmarks, sustaining a frame rate of 103 frames per second on high quality at a resolution of 2560 by 1600 pixels. This is attributable to the two Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics cards running in SLI. The two cards provide a total of four DVI and two HDMI ports for your multiple-monitor needs.

The array of necessary ports is sufficient to support every accessory you need. On the top of the case are four USB ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a FireWire port. On the rear are eight USB ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA ports, and another FireWire port, plus the requisite audio ports and a gigabit ethernet port.

The Digital Storm ODE won't leave you short on space either, offering both a 1TB hard drive for massive storage and an 80GB solid-state drive for pure speed. And to supplement those, you get four open bays where you can add hard drives to your heart's content.

On the other hand, don't count on being able to add much to the motherboard. The two GPUs occupy most of the available space, leaving just two open PCIx1 slots, one of which is readily accessible.

Media aficionados will enjoy the Blu-ray combo drive for watching high-quality video and quickly burning DVDs or music CDs. But they may be a little distraught to learn that there are no SD or Media Stick slots here.

Great computing power requires some serious voltage to keep everything running smoothly. Luckily, Digital Storm includes a Corsair 800W power supply, with enough juice to power whatever you add to the system in the future.

In our WorldBench 6 suite of benchmarking tests, the Digital Storm ODE scored a 198--an outstanding mark for a system of its price. By way of comparison, the similarly priced CyberPower Gamer Xtreme 5000 scored a 175, and the V3 Convoy, which scored a mere 5 point more than the ODE, costs $1000 more.

The Digital Storm ODE sits comfortably with some of our highest-performing desktops at a price that is more than reasonable. It offers great performance and high-end components in a sleek package that will surely leave any buyer happy.

Digital Storm Special|Ops Dreadnought
Digital Storm Special|Ops Dreadnought Review, by Alex Cocilova June 14, 2011


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