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Black OPS HailStorm Review

Post Date: 2011-05-08

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PGS View Drop Down
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Black OPS HailStorm Review
    Posted: 08 May 2011 at 6:51pm
As mentioned in another post, I recently ordered one of these:

System Configuration:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Black OPS HailStorm Edition
Exterior Finish: - Standard Factory Finish
Trim Accents: - Standard Factory Finish
Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 990X 3.46GHz (Six-Core) (Extreme Performance)
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage III Extreme (Intel X58 Chipset) (Features USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s)
System Memory: 12GB DDR3 1600MHz Digital Storm Certified (Highly Recommended) (Hand Tested)
Power Supply: 1000W Digital Storm Certified (Dual/Triple/Quad SLI Compatible) (Silent Edition Highly Recommended)
Expansion Bay: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 1x (2TB Western Digital (7200 RPM) (64MB Cache) (Model: Black Edition WD2002FAEX) (SATA 6Gbps)
Set 1 Raid Options: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: - No Thanks
Hard Drive Set 3: Backup\Misc.: - No Thanks
Optical Drive 1: Blu-Ray & DVD Writer/Reader (Burn + Play Blu-Ray & DVDs) (12x BD-R) (Lite-On iHBS112)
Optical Drive 2: - No Thanks
Internet Access: High Speed Network Port (Supports High-Speed Cable / DSL / Network Connections)
Video Card(s): 1x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 3GB (PhysX) (EVGA Classified 03G-P3-1598-AR)
Add-on Card: - No Thanks
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: H20: Stage 3: FrostChill Cooling System: CPU Only
H20 Tube Color: Blue Tubing with High-Performance Fluid (UV Lighting Reactive)
Chassis Airflow: Upgrade Chassis With LED Performance Fans (Blue) (Up to 6 Fans)
Internal Lighting: Internal Chassis Lighting System (UV) (Creates Glowing Effect for H20 Tubes)
Enhancements: - No Thanks
Chassis Mods: - No Thanks
Noise Reduction: Noise Suppression Package Stage 2 (Optimized Airflow & Fan Speeds with Noise Dampening Material)
CPU Boost: Stage 3: Overclock the processor between 4.2GHz to 4.6GHz (Requires i7 990X Processor)
Graphics Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my video card(s)
Memory Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not overclock my memory
OS Boost: - No Thanks, Please do not tweak the services on the operating system
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows 7 CD)
Virus Protection: - No Thanks
Office: - No Thanks
Benchmarking: - No Thanks
Pre-Install Game: - No Thanks
Display: - No Thanks
Surge Shield: - No Thanks
Speakers: - No Thanks
Keyboard: - No Thanks
Mouse: - No Thanks
External Storage: - No Thanks
Exclusive T-Shirt: FREE: Digital Storm T-Shirt - Black (Xtra Large)
Priority Build: Please Prioritize: Ship Within Four Business Days After Order Is Successfully Processed
Warranty: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 3 Year Limited Warranty
____________________________________________________________

Reason for buying:  I wanted a system that would allow me strong performance in both 3D modeling/animation and gaming.  I do Autodesk Maya as a hobby, and after using the Mac version for years, I finally realized that the Windows version seems to work better.  As for gaming, I do mostly Microsoft Flight Simulator X, as the shoot-em-up games tend to make me feel carsick. Whoa

I discovered Digital Storm after cancelling a similar order with one of their competitors back east.  That competitor  (hint:  their name is a synonym for "beginning") apparently builds quality systems, but I was not willing to tolerate their lack of communication long enough to actually own one.  So after reading many fine reviews on this site, I decided to order from DS.

The ordering process had one hitch:  They really REALLY take the utmost in precaution if you want the system sent to somewhere other than your billing address. In spite of the fact that my office is registered as a valid shipping address with my credit card company, DS still wanted faxed copies of my credit card and a personal ID.  In this age of identity theft, I was reluctant to do this, but they assured me that the documents are shredded as soon as they are inspected.  (I really hope so.)  Anyway, I do appreciate their due diligence in this regard, in spite of it being a pain.

Once my order was approved, the status went from Stage 1 to Stage 5 within a couple of days.  I of course jumped right to Stage 8.  (Don't we all.)  When Stage 5 started to show signs of not progressing to Stage 6, I pinged Alex and asked him to poke around.  He responded promptly and told me that they were putting the system through its paces.  I reminded him that I had selected the 4-day build, and I think he went and gave Thanh a motivational speech, because my system did in fact ship on the 4'th day.

I selected the wooden crate option, and when it arrived at our office loading dock on Monday, I was blown away by its size and construction.  The FedEx lady said "Here's your dead body" as she wheeled it off of the truck.  When I finally got it home that afternoon, I said some bad words, as I had forgotten to charge my screw gun. Upset  Eleven or so screws later with a hand-held phillips head, I had what I thought would be the top of the crate removed.  You see, I figured if I removed the side that the "this end up" arrows pointed at, I would be faced with the foam that covers the box with the manual, followed by the computer itself.  Evidently I think differently from the folks who pack the crates.  Big%20Smile

Anyway, I finally got the computer upstairs into my office, removed the protective foam that is inside the enclosure, plugged everything in, and fired it up.  The Bios immediately reported the overclock of 4.42 GHz, and WIndows 7 booted without issue...which is how it has performed from day one.

This machine scores quite well when running Cinebench.  It doesn't totally kill my 2-year old 8-core Mac Pro, but it does edge it out by a couple of points...which is not bad considering it has 2 less cores. And  Flight Simulator X runs beautifully with all settings cranked to full.  The overclock is rock-solid in terms of stability.

The only issue I have had is with one of the LED fans on the top of the case.  The  light on the middle fan sometimes gets brighter for a few seconds, then goes back to matching the others.  It can be a little distracting...if anybody has any suggestions, please let me know.  My guess is that it has something to do with the wiring.  I may call DS next week about it.  Unless one of you tells me it's normal.

To summarize, my experience with Digital Storm has been extremely positive.  The staff is polite and very responsive, and as a company, they do what they say they are going to do.  When you really need information, Alex is right there to help.  I would not hesitate to recommend DS to anyone, and this is big coming from me, as I tend to be pretty critical at times.  (Just ask the people I work with.)

Big%20Smile

So on to the pictures:




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  Quote maxyme Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 6:54pm
wow great looking rig. and the 990x wow nice.
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 7:22pm
@PGS,

Nice system! Thank you for the review and photos. I'm glad to hear that you love the system. In regards to one of the LEDs on the fan, I'm not sure what to exactly say to that, but, we can arrange for a replacement LED fan for you. You'll need our help to walk you through replacing it. It will take some serious effort, as you'll have to unmount all of the screws holding in the radiator. I'm not sure if you want to go through all of that for it, but, we'll help you out!
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 7:52pm
looks great very nice

I wish you would have talked to us, we could have made a few changes to better it for you.

Edited by DST4ME - 08 May 2011 at 7:53pm
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 8:02pm
@Alex - Thanks for the offer to replace the fan.  I'll get in touch with you guys this week to arrange that.  And yes...I'm up to the challenge of replacing it myself!

Awesome


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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 8:08pm
@DST4ME - Thanks for the comment.  I do plan to go multi-processor with the next upgrade, so I'll tap into your wisdom then.  BTW, that picture of your rig taken from above at an angle:  Coolest. Picture. Ever. Drooling
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 8:13pm
Thanks we both have the same case, different colors, I like the blue a lot on yours, its nice and clean
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 9:34pm
Nice rig, what fans are those though? They bear some resemblance to some Cooler Master fans I've used (L2R series), and they're the same fan, then the increased lighting of the fan is probably linked to the fan revving up to a quicker speed somehow (The LEDs on CM L2R series fans seem to be powered off the rotation of the fan blades themselves.),
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 9:50pm
@ablahblah - I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not sure on the brand of the fans.  They are whatever you get when you select "LED Performance Fans" when you order.  I bet Alex could tell us... 
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 9:59pm
They are Cooler Master LED fans.
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 10:12pm
@Alex - Yup.  I just came from Cooler Master's web site, and found some that look exactly like mine.  It is odd that it's just one if the fans that does this...or does each one operate off of a separate sensor?
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  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 08 May 2011 at 10:52pm
I think it just has to do with the fan.
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  Quote rholyrag Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 May 2011 at 12:41am
Very nice!  The blue lighting looks great!
"What we do in life echoes in eternity" - Maximus from Gladiator
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 May 2011 at 3:54pm
Originally posted by rholyrag

Very nice!  The blue lighting looks great!


Definitely agree with Rholyrag on this one!

Congrats!Awesome
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 May 2011 at 11:37pm
@Tidgxor & rholyrag: Thanks! I find myself looking forward to nighttime so I can enjoy the blue lights. Kind of soothing, like a fish tank.

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  Quote Dsnewb210 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 21 May 2011 at 11:44pm
Nice looking rig man, I'm a sucker for blue lights :P
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  Quote PGS Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 22 May 2011 at 7:14pm
The red "Republic of Gamers" emblem on the mobo is also pretty cool...it pulses when the computer is in sleep mode.

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