Maximum PC Staff Jul 26, 2013

Digital Storm Bolt Titan Review

At A Glance


Small; fairly quiet; freaking fast.


Cant be laid flat; case needs YouTube tutorial

Dual-card-like without two cards

We know console fanboys have already started calling the PS4 a “truly next-gen” product while saying the PC isn’t one, so we thought we’d rub this in their faces: the Digital Storm Bolt Titan .

Next-gen this, console fanboys!

Yeah, fanboys, eat the hot pixels being thrown your way by the world’s fastest single-GPU video card! It’s not just any video card, either. As the DStorm’s name suggests, this PC is running Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan . For petite systems like these, the magic of Titan isn’t just its straight-line speed—it’s that, as powerful as it is, the card has a relatively small footprint.

That translates into a mini-tower machine that, for the first time, doesn’t give up much quarter to the dual-card setups. It’s not quite the equal of a full-tilt GeForce GTX 690 card or the more exotic dual– Radeon HD 7990 s, but it’s a lot better behaved.

New to Titan is the ability to tune the GPU by setting thermal and performance goals. If you’re running the card in your ginormous case with more fans than a Ridley Scott movie, then go to town on performance. But if you’re in the Bolt Titan and gaming on your HDTV, you can tune the card until its sound is barely noticeable. The Bolt Titan favors being quiet. The box certainly isn’t as quiet as Alienware’s X51 , with its ability to run integrated graphics via Nvidia’s Optimus, nor the Falcon Northwest Tiki , with its liquid-cooled CPU, but it’s fairly quiet during gaming bouts, especially when you consider its graphics performance. We should note that Falcon now also offers the Tiki with the Titan option.

Elsewhere in the box, there are no major differences from the GeForce GTX 680–based Bolt that we reviewed earlier this year. In fact, the original Bolt, with its Core i7-3770K clocked up at 4.4GHz, is the perfect foil for this machine. In the performance benchmarks that are mostly limited by the CPU, the 100Hz clock advantage of the Bolt Titan doesn’t move the needle much, with performance roughly 2 to 3 percent faster. However, in gaming, the Bolt Titan easily knees its 680-based sibs in the nads. In Batman: Arkham City, the Bolt Titan was 62 percent faster and in 3DMark 11 we saw a 37 percent difference. Up against our Core i7-3930K–based zero-point with its GeForce GTX 690, the Bolt Titan didn’t win in games, but it held its own, considering the 690 is just about the equivalent of a pair of GeForce GTX 680s in SLI. The Bolt Titan was just 4 percent slower in Batman, which is pretty much a tie, and but 16 percent off in 3DMark11. That, folks, is impressive as frak when you look at how diminutive the Bolt Titan is. We know, we know, some will say this harkens the end of the big, bad full-tower PC but, no, it doesn’t.

As freaking fast as the Bolt Titan is, it’s not the same as running an overclocked and liquid-cooled, hexa-core chip at speed. For example, the Geekbox Ego Maniacal that we reviewed in January, with its Core i7-3970X tuned up to 4.8GHz, hammers the quad-core chips in multithreaded CPU tests by more than 30 percent. And its quad-SLI configuration? Yeah, as fast as Titan is, a single Titan isn’t going to even get within striking distance of two liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 690s. So, haters need to step off.

Still, let’s not forget to pay proper homage to what Digital Storm has achieved with the Bolt Titan. It’s the fastest mini-tower we’ve tested yet, and whether working as your HTPC gaming box or simply saving space in your office, it’s hard to find much fault with this sweet little rig.

$2,500, www.digitalstormonline.com

 Zero Point

Premiere Pro CS3 (sec) 2,0002,502 (-20%)
Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec) 831746
ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)
x264 HD 5.0 (fps)
21.117.4 (-18%)
Batman: Arkam City (fps)76.073.0 (-4%)
3DMark 115,8474,905 (-16%)

Our current desktop test bed consists of a hexa-core 3.2GHz Core i7-3930K @ 3.8GHz, 8GB of Corsair DDR3/1600, on an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard. We are running a GeForce GTX 690, an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional.

Intel Core i7-3770K@4.5GHz
Mobo Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe
RAM 8GB DDR3/1600 dual-channel
Videocard GeForce GTX Titan
120GB Corsair Neutron, 1TB 7,200 HDD
OpticalSlot-fed DVD combo drive
Case/PSUCustom / Sparkle 500W


Digital Storm Bolt Titan

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