Normally when one thinks of a gaming system, a Small Form Factor (SFF) computer is not what you would expect. Gaming, especially when done with some of the top end components, can generate a tremendous amount of heat which can be difficult to cope with in a small chassis. However this is quite a popular segment, and the advantages of a SFF device can be quite compelling. Gaming can move from the office to the living room, and small form factor cases can be tucked away with the other A/V components. Digital Storm is certainly not the only company in this space, but they are launching a new model today which builds on their successes with their previous models. Today they are launching the BOLT 3, which is their third generation SFF gaming system.

Aesthetics are very personal, but quality of materials can more easily be commented on. The BOLT 3 case is constructed entirely from brushed aluminum, with an anodized black finish. The side panel is made of glass to allow a glimpse inside the case. Looking inside, you can see some unique features. The BOLT 3 features a custom liquid cooling system to cool the processor, and below the motherboard is a GPU which sits parallel to the board, rather than perpendicular, to allow the case to be much smaller in height while keeping a full GPU. The case dimensions are 18.3 x 15.1 x 5.8 inches.

And speaking of the GPU, Digital Storm offers quite a range from the GTX 960, all the way up to the Titan X. Processor options include Intel Core i5-4590, i5-4690K and i7-4790K choices, and the systems can be configured with 8 to 16 GB of memory. This should allow for almost any gaming scenario to be covered, assuming your pockets are deep enough.

Attention to detail was paid to upgradability as well, with the GPU being placed away from other major components to allow basically any GPU to fit in this case. The power cables and cooling tubes have been placed to allow for an easier time with replacing components in the future.

Gallery: BOLT 3

If you are interested in a pre-built SFF gaming PC, you can check out all of the options and pricing for the different models at http://www.digitalstormonline.com/bolt-3.asp. The entry level system can be customized, but starts at $1547, and the top tier as configured goes all the way up to $3569.

Source: Digital Storm

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  • Zak - Thursday, April 2, 2015 - link

    Yeah, weird that the article doesn't mention it's a stock Lian Li case and off-the-shelf cooler cooler. Reply
  • peterfares - Thursday, April 2, 2015 - link

    Are there really that many PC gamers who are willing to spend this kind of money yet don't know how to assemble a computer themselves? Reply
  • Zap - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    Yes. They may not know how, would rather not have to, or plain don't feel like it.

    For instance, yes I can change oil/filter in my car myself and save money and have done so as a broke college student, but now my time is worth more and I would rather pay someone a (to my budget) piddly amount to do the work for me.
    Do you ever eat out? You know that you can make food yourself, right?
    Did you build your own car? There are "kit cars" that you can assemble yourself.

    What makes a computer so special that you (or anyone else) feel that everyone needs to assemble their own?
    Reply
  • peterfares - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    Because it literally takes 1 hour to assemble the 7 different parts together and there's no mess, nor does it require any special tools. If you already know which components you want, what's 1 hour to save $700? Reply
  • peterfares - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    That's what's surprising. That there are enough people willing to pay $700 for an hour of labor to sustain the overpriced gaming PC market. How many articles on these overpriced systems are there? A lot. Reply
  • kyuu - Friday, April 3, 2015 - link

    When you factor in having to shop around for components, the possibility of damaged or defective parts that have to be RMA'd, installing the OS, and other miscellaneous tidbits you're talking about more than an hour of labor. While I definitely prefer to build my own system for anything that's not mobile where integrated form factors have obvious advantages, I don't begrudge others who prefer pre-built. And obviously the mark up is worth it for some (likely wealthier) people. Otherwise these companies wouldn't exist to cater to them.

    As Zap said, do you change your own oil? It's a simple bit of maintenance that you pay others a significant amount to do for you.
    Reply
  • Dug - Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - link

    And if you work for a living and have kids and other responsibilities, do you want to spend the time researching everything it takes to put something together with good specs and low noise? With diy there's no instructions on installing every component, installing an os, or what to do if something goes wrong.
    Where do you get support and warranty? Where do you even begin to troubleshoot a system that doesn't boot if you don't know how each component works and what to expect?
    You guys think $500-700 is a lot, but it's not if you value your time.
    If you think about the mass market, they don't hang around forums and try to figure everything out from scratch, hoping to save a few bucks. They don't want to know what a BIOS is, or how to update it. And honestly they shouldn't care or have to.

    And 1 hour? Don't make me laugh. Especially with a watercooled mini itx system. With diy you have to include research, purchasing, unpackaging, assembly, install OS, updates, testing. And if one thing goes wrong, how much time is that? Remember, someone that's never done it would probably look at a power supply and think something isn't right if every connection isn't plugged in.
    Reply
  • zpconn - Saturday, June 20, 2015 - link

    Not that I don't agree with you on some level, but think of it like this.

    Let's say you're a doctor, lawyer, executive, or successful engineer. You make at least $500/day. Many doctors will make twice that amount. You're passionate about gaming and have a well-kept home with modern amenities, so the aesthetics of a computer matter to you, but you're limited on time and you're not necessarily passionate about computer hardware and build assembly. You might have a family at home as well with kids, which puts more pressure on your time.

    The markup on these machines seems to be in the $500-700 range, depending on the exact build you go with. So you can see that if it would take our hypothetical buyer a day or so of accumulated effort to reproduce the build, then there's a sense in which it's a wash. But on top of that they get an excellent warranty and free labor for life on repairs and upgrades.

    Now you say that you could "literally" reproduce this machine in 1 hour. I have my doubts, because we're talking about a first-time builder who isn't even particularly interested in the assembly to begin with, plus this is a smaller than normal case with quite a few design quirks and frankly a very unfriendly design when it comes to functionality. I'd say it's actually extremely unlikely such a person would finish the full build in 1 hour. I'd wager a full Saturday or Sunday, possibly not even including OS and driver installation. That's assuming everything goes well. And that doesn't include time spent researching which components to get and worrying about compatibility not just with each other but also with the bizarre case, whereas using a configurator renders that a non-issue.

    Assuming Digital Storm lives up to their promise (I wouldn't know, as I've never ordered from them), they'd ship this thing in tip-top shape, with perfect cable management so good you want to show it off, ready to plug-in and play. Every part will already be tested so you know you didn't get any lemons, etc.

    It makes sense why a more affluent buyer would get this.
    Reply
  • JonnyDough - Saturday, April 4, 2015 - link

    While I would never buy it due to cost, it is a slick machine. Reply

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