System Performance

I think when you look at a system like the DigitalStorm Bolt, it begins to sink in just how much power you can really cram into a tiny space. The Intel Core i5-3570K may not enjoy Hyper-Threading, but in every other way it's essentially one of the best gaming CPUs you can buy today and an absolutely killer value for enthusiasts. That said, DigitalStorm may have missed the boat a little bit by opting for an SSD caching solution instead of a dedicated SSD. We'll see in the benchmarks.

Futuremark PCMark 7

Futuremark PCMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark 11

Futuremark 3DMark Vantage

Futuremark 3DMark06

The Futuremarks are mostly kind to the Bolt, but it's clear there could've been a bit more oomph. DigitalStorm's shop page for the Bolt ranks the i5-3570K in this Level 3 configuration as being just as good for multitasking and general performance as the i7-3770K in the Level 4, but that's clearly not the case. In our charts, the i7-3770K is able to produce a very healthy lead during overclocking. You'll see that for gaming Hyper-Threading is basically pointless, but for media tasks the extra four logical threads can make a real difference.

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R10

3D Rendering - CINEBENCH R11.5

Video Encoding - x264

Video Encoding - x264

Scores on the CPU-centric tests fare about as well. The i5-3570K in the Bolt is hampered both by the lack of Hyper-Threading and by its more modest overclock. However, I'm extremely keen to point out that the overclock on the i5-3570K is also both more manageable and more efficient; many of these other systems are using much more elaborate cooling and oftentimes push core voltages well beyond where I'd be comfortable with them. Performance of the i5-3570K is plenty by most measures, and you'd need not just Hyper-Threading but more cores and/or a potentially unrealistic overclock to get a substantial jump on it.

Introducing the DigitalStorm Bolt Gaming Performance
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  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Are there off-the-shelf watercooled PSUs that could fit in this machine? I wonder if DigitalStorm would've been forced to make a custom PSU if they wanted to watercool it. That would've increased the price considerably. Reply
  • FEAST - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I would never, ever, ever buy this system because the standard versions dont have an SSD and you have to spend 2,000$ to get just a 120GB SSD. SSD's are by far the MOST IMPORTANT part. Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    First, any new PC not aimed at pure budget users should have a 120gb+ SSD as the primary HD - and for a SFF machine like this I would definitely skip mechanical. Heck, I'm mATX and have case room but I have zero mech drives, don't want the heat or sound. If I need mass storage I've got that external. Going SSD would relieve some additional thermals, give some space back potentially, and be silent.

    My new rig uses a fanless PSU... surely they could do better than what they are using? Heck at least go custom cabled or modular so there is the minimum clutter used.

    Watercooling could open some space but then you need to find room for the radiator so I don't know if that is realistic without seeing the chassis in person.

    I guess it all depends on just how much you value a tiny desktop box but I think a few tweaks to this rig would definitely make it more attractive by at changing to SSD and a better setup on the PSU.
    Reply
  • sulu1977 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Wouldn't it be better to use the 60GB SATA just for the C-drive, and the 1TB for data? Reply
  • trimspababy - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    How does this ($1500 build) stack up against the Origin Chronos, another small form-factor gaming system that was reviewed back in July? Seems like the Origin Chronos was better in terms of price for what you get, or am I comparing apples to oranges? Reply
  • trimspababy - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    How does this ($1500 build) stack up against the Origin Chronos, another small form-factor gaming system that was reviewed back in July? Seems like the Origin Chronos was better in terms of price for what you get, or am I comparing apples to oranges? Reply
  • creed3020 - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Just wanted to say thank you Dustin for keeping so many reviews quality reviews coming out. I was very curious to see if AT would have a review of this unit after reading about it elsewhere.

    I totally agree that the 1U PSU needs to go. Having worked with many HP ProLiant 1U servers from their G5 generation I can comfortably say these PSU's are loud, hot, and certain models are prone to failure. I can see how Digital Storm was trying to achieve thinness, but if you aren't blowing away the competition in this minor increments battle of thinness then give up already and make the product better in other ways.

    Silverstone's ST45SF-G (SFX) is only 63.5mm wide so it would have worked well in this chassis in a front mounted configuration like many of the Silverstone cases.
    Reply
  • theNiZer - Thursday, October 25, 2012 - link

    Hi Dustin,

    great review (meaning a good and critical assessment) of the 'Bolt' system - will we see a review of the Tiki unit from Falcon which should run much quieter and allow greater hardware?

    /Casper
    Reply
  • seylonclinton - Tuesday, December 25, 2012 - link

    An amazing review of DigitalStrom Bolt gaming system! I think to complete with other major gaming devices in the market (Xbox-360, PS3 and Wii U) this gaming system is vastly capable. All the included hardware of this gaming device is perfect to play modern time games. I'm looking forward to purchase one for top quality gaming experience. Thanks. Reply

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