Introducing the DigitalStorm Enix

Just recently we had a chance to lay hands on SilverStone's FT03 enclosure, and it was impressive enough to earn a Bronze Editors' Choice award. It wasn't the quietest case we've ever reviewed, but it had strong thermal qualities and a slick-looking design. Now DigitalStorm has taken SilverStone's eye-catching little number, custom-painted the grills, and turned it into a double-shoebox-sized monster. The Enix we're looking at today boasts the highest overclock on an Intel Core i7-2600K we've yet seen and pairs it with not one but two EVGA GeForce GTX 580's.

The red trim and black shell do a lot of favors for SilverStone's FT03 enclosure, but we're really interested in how well the Enix sings. Our last visit with DigitalStorm was a mixed one: the BlackOps Assassin we reviewed was a performance demon to be sure, but we were a bit turned off by some of the component choices coupled with the price tag. When we received the press release for the Enix, it was just too good to resist, and DigitalStorm was game to send us one. So how much power is crammed into this little box?

DigitalStorm Enix Specifications
Chassis SilverStone FT03 (custom paint)
Processor Intel Core i7-2600K @ 4.7GHz
(spec: 4x3.4GHz, 32nm, 8MB L3, 95W)
Motherboard ASUS P8P67-M Pro Motherboard with P67 chipset
Memory 2x4GB Corsair Dominator DHX DDR3-1600 (expandable to 16GB)
Graphics 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB GDDR5
(512 CUDA Cores, 772/1544/1002MHz Core/Shaders/RAM, 384-bit memory bus)
Hard Drive(s) Corsair Performance 3 128GB SATA 6Gbps SSD
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gbps HDD
Optical Drive(s) Optiarc BD-ROM/DVD+-RW Slimline Combo Drive
Networking Realtek PCIe Gigabit Ethernet
Audio Realtek ALC892 HD Audio
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
Optical out
Front Side Optical drive
Top 2x USB 3.0
2x PS/2
Optical out
6x USB 2.0
Speaker, mic, line-in, and surround jacks for 7.1 sound
4x DVI-D
2x Mini-HDMI
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 11.18" x 9.25" x 19.17"
Weight 14.77 lbs (case only)
Extras SilverStone Strider Gold 1000W PSU 80 Plus Gold Certified
Corsair H70 Liquid Cooler
Case Paint
Warranty 3-year limited warranty with life-time customer care
Pricing Enix starts at $1,149
As configured $3,612

We start out with both the DigitalStorm Enix's curse and its saving grace: a heavily souped-up Intel Core i7-2600K water-cooled using Corsair's H70 kit (a testament to both the kit's performance and the FT03's surprisingly roomy interior). DigitalStorm has overclocked the i7-2600K to a screaming 4.7GHz, making it not only the fastest processor we've ever tested in a boutique system but also among the most power hungry as you'll see later.

As if to reassure everyone that splitting the i7-2600K's sixteen PCI-Express 2.0 lanes between two cards isn't really a big deal, DigitalStorm has packed the Enix with two EVGA GeForce GTX 580s running at stock speeds in SLI. If every single frame matters to you, then the P67 chipset and inherent limitations of using the processor's PCIe lanes may put you off, but between the variability in performance of running a multi-GPU setup and the absurdly high performance of two GTX 580s in SLI paired with an overclocked i7-2600K, it's hard for anyone to reasonably take issue.

Based on our last experience with DigitalStorm, they've also opted to use a higher-end name-brand memory kit and power supply. This was a source of some contention in the comments of that review, where some readers argued that if the memory works, it works, and there's no need to ding the vendor for using cheaper stuff. That's true, but at the same time, if I'm paying over $3,000 for a desktop I'm going to want parts from vendors that have a history of reliability, and there's something miserly about putting discount memory in a premium gaming machine.

To round out the system, DigitalStorm bumped the slot-loading optical drive up to a Blu-ray reader/DVD-writer, added the requisite 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black, and then chose to employ the new Corsair Performance 3 SSD.

All told, the Enix looks to be, at least on paper, the fastest system we've ever tested (a dubious honor when a new contender is always just around the corner). Ready to break some of our system benchmark records?

Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • HilbertSpace - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Where's the noise results?
  • Spazweasel - Friday, May 20, 2011 - link

    Seconded. Something's missing!
  • ckryan - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    If Digital Storm is willing to back up their systems with a 10 yr CPU warranty, then why all the hand wringing? 10 years is a long, long, time. Kudos to them for such a far reaching commitment. If they say it's all good, >1.5v for short periods of time is acceptable, then who am I to argue?

    Really though, I'm blown away by the decade long CPU warranty. That's just crazy, and I don't know how they're going to honor it 9 years in (but I'd like to know). Props to DigitalStorm for having the balls and the foresight for what amounts to marrying their customers.
  • bji - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I agree with everything you say; but I wonder how frequently CPUs fail? I personally have *never* had a CPU fail, and I've owned more than a dozen. Others on this site have undoubtedly owned more than I have. Anecdotal evidence anyone?

    I have an old VIA Samuel 2 based system that I bult in 2002 that is still chugging away in a corner making nightly backups of my server. About 5 years ago the CPU fan died and I didn't bother to replace it. The CPU sits at a constant 50C - 60C, and if I do anything intense (which is almost pointless given how slow it is, but occasionally I drop a bunch of videos on it from my digital camera and let it chew on re-compressing them, which takes hours/days but I don't really care as it's not time critical), it gets up to 80C or so.

    And yet, 9 years on, it's still going strong. Nothing on that system has ever died, not even the hard drive. It's a P.O.S. PCChips motherboard and it's just been completely flawless for 9 years now.

    I have high confidence that just about any CPU will last 10 years easily, but maybe others have different experiences.
  • slacr - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    The first and only thing that would fail is the capacitors for the CPU-PWM supply on the motherboard, I wonder if this would be considered "cpu related".

    While I won't argue with them on what v-core is right and what's not, i remember Anand having an article a couple of months back on "what is a reasonable overclock", basically you generally hit a wall where v-core requirements start going up sharply for small clock increases and a good practise is to place yourself at or just below that kink in the curve.

    I have the same motherboard and case as this digitalstorm, albeit with a 2500k cpu. While i haven't spent any time tweaking it the built in "oc automation" that i accidentally activated placed it at 4.4 Ghz and 1.29 V peak v-core. I have a really hard time seeing how those 300 extra Mhz are worth yet another 0.2 V, but i guess thats how you end up with chart-topping benchmarks.
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    I will agree that I've had a LOT more failed motherboards over the years, but I've definitely burned out CPUs with overclocking. It usually shows up initially as performance degradation--a CPU that would overclock to 3.4GHz becomes unstable, and you have to drop the overclock down to 3.0GHz for example. I had that happen with a Pentium D 920 as well as an earlier Pentium 4; eventually the only way that CPU would run at all was to underclock it (but still with higher voltage than spec). I had a couple AMD Athlon X2 chips take a similar route, one socket 939 and another was one of the first AM2 chips.

    Anyway, it does happen, and the best way to do it is overly high voltages. That said, I've never burned out a CPU running it at stock. They become really slow compared to modern CPUs, but as long as the motherboard (and RAM, GPU, etc.) don't fail the processors almost never go out running stock clocks.
  • Hargak - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    This ^ is what I've seen, reminds me of a dimming lightbulb you have to crank it up to a higher voltage to get the same result. your burning out transistors at a certain rate which if you run something like Super Pi you can see the processing power degrade even though clocks are the same. Strange anomilies which change with architecture and process.
  • slacr - Friday, May 13, 2011 - link

    Are you sure these are not just issues with ripple on the supply side to the CPU (i.e any measurements, swapping motherboard or the like).

    I'm not saying i'm sure of this, it's just in line with my experience. But I've only dabbled in small temporary OC's with jumpers on socket 939 and the like. The only long time experiences i have are with Core2Duo/Quad and now a short stint of Sandy. My experience with a Core2Quad for example saw unstability develop (after initially having proven prime95 stable over 24 hrs) at 3.6 Ghz on a p35 motherboard at 1.37 V over 1.5-2 years, when that was swapped out for an Asus board all was fine again at the same frequencies with slightly lower voltage. Now this might be that the Asus board simply was more stable, but the processor had not seen any degradation.

    How older architectures are affected I don't know, I just wonder if you've verified that it is in fact the processor and not something else.
  • MilwaukeeMike - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    A warrantee will replace your CPU at it's current replacement cost, not the original purchase. So in 5 years when the performance of a 2600K is $90, it won't be so hard. In 8 years it'll be less.

    Anyone buying this now will probably upgrade long before it's up, so the effective range of the warranty is probably only around 3 years.
  • ckryan - Thursday, May 12, 2011 - link

    Can you buy a new Pentium 3 today? You could ten years ago. It'd be a little harder today. In the year 2021 I would imagine 2600k's aren't falling of of trees; I'm sure it would be harder to honor than it sounds. In the near term it's expensive, in the medium term they'll get cheaper and cheaper, then in six years become very hard to find. So they have to stockpile them, replace the CPU and motherboard with a newer version, or Intel has agreed to make the socket 1155 for the rest of eternity. I was just curious about the practical ramifications of what I consider a silly long time for a warranty for a component. Kudos to DigitalStorm.

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