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Dreadnought: A Digital Storm Undertaking My Review

Post Date: 2011-01-14

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Tidgxor View Drop Down
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Dreadnought: A Digital Storm Undertaking My Review
    Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 5:32pm

1/2 Year Update Here

1 Year Update Here

2 Year Update Here

3 Year Update Here

4 Year Update Here

======================================================================================

Hello all,
Its time to do my service to the Digital Storm community by posting  the review of not only the computer itself, but the experience as a whole. This is my first time doing such a thing, so bear with me, and hopefully all you prospective buyers out there can learn of few things, or at the very least, have a few concerns calmed.

If anyone remembers my first few posts here, I originally was looking for a ~$5,000 (didn't end up spending that much!) computer that my company was going to be paying for. Well, things changed, and I ended up getting a new work computer, which left me still using my laptop for everything home-based. But, at that point, I had the Digital Storm “disease” and decided to just pay for it myself, because I was thoroughly addicted to the idea of getting a new computer at that point. I received the rig on December 7th, 2010.  The configuration is as follows (minus a few irrelevant things, such as options I left blank):

System Configuration:
Chassis Model: Special Deal Hot Seller - Cooler Master 942 HAF X
Processor: Intel Core i7 950 3.06GHz (Quad Core)
Motherboard: ASUS Rampage III Extreme (Intel X58 Chipset) (Features USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s)
System Memory: 6GB DDR3 2000MHz Corsair Dominator GT with DHX Extreme Edition (CMT6GX3M3A2000C8)
Power Supply: 1200W Corsair Pro Gold Series (CMPSU-1200AX) (Dual/Triple/Quad SLI Compatible)
Hard Drive Set 1: Operating System: 2x (80GB Solid State (By: Intel) (Model: X25-M MLC Edition) (Extreme Performance)
Set 1 Raid Options: Configure HDD Set 1 to a Raid 0 Config - Stripe Performance (Requires Two HDDs)
Hard Drive Set 2: Multimedia\Data: 1x (1TB Western Digital Caviar (7200 RPM) (64MB Cache) (Model: Black Edition WD1002FAEX)
Optical Drive 1: DVD-R/RW/CD-R/RW (DVD Writer 24x / CD-Writer 48x) (LightScribe Edition)
Optical Drive 2: Blu-Ray Player/DVD Player (Play Blu-Ray and Play DVDs)
Internet Access: Killer 2100 (Maximum Optimized for Online Gaming) Lag and Latency Reduction
Video Card(s): 2x SLI Dual (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB (PhysX) (EVGA Black Ops 015-P3-1583-AR)
Sound Card: Integrated Motherboard Audio
Extreme Cooling: AIR: Stage 2: Noctua NH-D14 Extreme Performance (Does NOT fit on the regular EVGA X58 3X SLI)
Windows OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-Bit Edition)
Recovery Tools: Windows Recovery Toolkit (Bundled with Windows 7 CD)
Exclusive T-Shirt: FREE: Digital Storm T-Shirt - Grey (Large)
Warranty: FREE PROMO: Life-time Expert Customer Care with 5 Year Limited Warranty
 

A few things about the configuration itself. Digital Storm overclocked the processor
to 3.973Ghz themselves and so far I haven't had a single hitch. I also chose the Killer 2100, primarily because I wanted to test it. I know, generally speaking, its considered a total waste, but, one must make a few indulgences here and there! So far, I’ve noticed a marginal improvement with it (In down/up speed and ping), but I have yet to actually do any orderly testing. Several of the things, like 2 drives, were things that I just wanted for work/reasons, but mainly because I just wanted them, nothing more.

I know the most anticipated part of most reviews is the pictures, so I’ll get to those, then proceed to break down a few things about my experience as I whole.

The box, believe everyone who says it is big, because it is. The FedEx worker didn’t believe me it was actually a computer, lol.Big%20Smile

The box is opened, revealing baby boxes.

I finally get to view the rig itself, not so much as a single scratch or smudge

The rig comes out of the box, it was cold due to the weather, but it warmed up quick.

The guts, as they came from Digital Storm. I’ve changed a couple of things, but this is how it was at birth.

Box 1: Goodies. The binder had all my disks, and the shirt was just as pictured on the site.

Box 2: Computer intestines, for those of you who doubt that DS sends you EVERYTHING

The rig in its new spot, under my desk

A more wide-angle view of where it now lives

A few things about the pictures, I know it might not seem like the case gets much airflow where it is. Normally, that might be correct. But, I am an *extremely* hot-natured person, so the windows are constantly open in that little room. Additionally, the location of this old building, is right across from a huge field. So, wind whips through this room like a bat out of hades, year round, as I am in a very windy location to start with. In the summer, the window a/c is only 5ft from the spot. So far, temps are looking good, though I’ll move it, come Summer, if needed. Also, for anyone who noticed, yes, that is a Piggy calendar, my wife got it for me. I have a love of tiny Pigglets, lol. Also, for me at least, the shirt was larger than expected. I normally wear Mediums or Larges, so I ordered a Large. Well, even after washing, its still more of what I would  consider an “XL”, I ordered the Gray color, just as an FYI. Your results may vary.

Now, for the details, I’ve rated everything on a 1-10 scale, pretty straightforward.

Digital Storm – Customer Service/Sales/Management: 8/10

The reason Digital Storm doesn’t get a 10/10 from me, actually has to do with the very beginning stages of my ordering process. It actually took me over two weeks to get a response from the company, this includes calling, direct email, and web-forms. I attempted contact every other day, for around 17 days, before finally getting a response, albeit a short-one. Now, I understand that Digital Storm was *EXTREMELY* busy at the time, and likely still is. However, in my opinion, to not even return a customer’s calls/emails, is unacceptable, without exception. NOW, having said that, once I DID, get in contact with them, they were EXCELLENT to deal with. It was like, I had to get through this initial contact dilemma, then after that, everything was responded to within less than an hour, or no more than 20 hours. So, based on the initial problems, which actually almost broke the deal, I have to subtract 2 points. But after that, EVERYTHING, was superb.

Digital Storm – Technical Support 9/10

I’ve only had to contact them a couple of times, over a couple of minor things, nothing major. So far, they have contacted me back, the same day, every time. Normally within a couple of hours, easily, even if it was later in the day. The reason I took off one point, was because during one phone-call, I was told flat out, that the way my SSDs was hooked up, was better than what I wanted to try. When in fact, what I wanted to try was vastly superior. So, he was wrong, however, he was very courteous and professional and quick to respond. Despite that one incident, I still have a very high-respect for Digital Storm’s technical support thus far, far more than any other company I’ve dealt with to date.

The Rig Itself – 10/10

This is what really counts, eh? To be brief, the machine is excellent. Though the argument could be made, that after using a laptop for 3 years, anything would seem better, I can just tell this is a quality build. The machine boots in about 10 seconds, give or take and I’ve yet to see a single hiccup in any game. CS5, any program, loads in about 2 seconds, which is absoltabously amazing for me. The wiring was exceptionally well done, and everything was securely in place. Not even a single loose part after transit, and trust me, I thoroughly checked! I have had no issues that hindered usage of the machine, at all. Also, have NO DOUBT, that Digital Storm goes out of their way to provide excellent packaging for the machine, as mentioned, mine was in mint condition.

The Digital Storm Community – 11/10

If I were to tell someone, why they should buy from Digital Storm, it would be because of the community. The forums are very active and it’s a good active, not 100s of pointless posts about nothing. Sales, Management, and consumer-experts are all active in the forums. They are willing to answer questions, ranging from something simple, like how to plug in your speakers, to more advanced things, such as complex BIOS tweaking in regards to overclocking, etc. The forums are not condescending at all, at least I have never seen them as such. As far as being helpful, and accessible, I’ve NEVER found another vendor who boasted forums that even remotely resembled the caliber of Digital Storm’s. If you’re a potential customer, I highly recommend you just browse around for a bit, I almost guarantee you will learn something.

Overall – 9/10

I had trouble getting started with Digital Storm, that is the ONLY reason this is not a 10/10. I know they are working on improving that, so it might be much better at this point. In Digital Storm’s defense, I did order around one of the busiest times of the year. However, as I said before, after that, every-single-thing, has been excellent, and this is coming from a lifelong member of the International Pessimists society.

Miscellaneous stuff:

A BIG thanks to the Digital Storm employees, forum members, and all around "more smarter" people than I: Alex, Sarah, DST4ME, !ender_, justin.kerr, Dragoonseal, and MagiK. Though others have helped, these few are the ones who really inspired me to stick with Digital Storm.

In conclusion…

 If you are looking for a specialty company, devoted to building you a hardcore gaming rig, because you don’t know how, don’t have the time, or just don’t want to, whichever, Digital Storm is the way to go. I’ve used other “Boutique” builders in the past, and none even come close. Awesome

Also, I've decided to name my rig: Mr. Bojangles.



Edited by Tidgxor - 10 Dec 2014 at 12:06pm
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 5:35pm
Mr. Bojangles is a beast

Our pleasure and congrats

Edited by DST4ME - 14 Jan 2011 at 5:36pm
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  Quote justin.kerr Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 6:02pm
wow, one powerful rig!! overall it should be very well balanced. Awesome
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 6:13pm
Congrats, and like justin said, that's one great balanced rig right there! 
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 7:32pm
Thanks all, its handled everything I've thrown at it thus far! Big%20Smile

Funny thing, I spent so much time obsessing about it getting here, thinking about how I was going to try to raise the overclock, run benchmarks, install tons of games, etc. Now that its actually here, I find myself suddenly so busy I barely get to play with it Oops

Anticipation is great LOL
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 7:55pm
LOL ya its always like that.

have you tried throwing a hammer at it to see if it can handle that?
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 9:05pm
LOL No hammers yet, I'll save that for when I need an "excuse" to upgrade.
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  Quote Dsnewb210 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 9:26pm
Nice rig man! Oh and keep us updated on how the killer 2100 performs, ive always been skeptical about those things.
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 9:41pm
The Killer Xeno Pro 6.0 firmware version was claimed by some people at BFN to the forum that it'd be the equivalent of the 2100 so as to keep the Xeno users happy. I've used 6.0 myself, and it didn't save the Xeno for me, going to sell it soon. If you're interested in how it did, well, yes, it gave me about a 5~10 ping boost in games. But the crappy software, and the fact that I really couldn't care less about 5~10 ping boosts online, is making me just want to sell it again.
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 10:09pm
Once I get around to doing some actual tests with a regime and controls, I'll be sure to share the results.

I'm honestly not expecting a whole lot of improvement, if any, but, I just felt like having an experiment. Best way to spend that amount of money? Probably not, but it will satisfy my curiosity Big%20Smile.

So far, from the onboard, to the Killer, I have about a 500kb/s difference on my download speeds, and a 150-175kb/s difference in my upload speeds, via online speed testers (so this is just raw transfer on a high-speed server, not necessarily real-world stuff). My ping is around 30% better. However, I'll need to do some hard testing to see if this is something that is maintained over time.

I don't think I'd recommend spending the money on it, unless you're like me and just want to play with it. Chilling

ablahblah,
Did you notice anything different outside of the small ping boost with the Xeno?



Edited by Tidgxor - 14 Jan 2011 at 10:15pm
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  Quote Sneakerz Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 10:13pm
I'm also very curious to see how the Killer 2100 performs in the "real" world. I have heard many mixed reviews and have always been curious.
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  Quote ablahblah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Jan 2011 at 10:28pm
Yes, I noticed that the software locks itself away from the Xeno when you reseat the cable. Annoyingly irritating.
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  Quote pockyking535 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 1:39am
Haha I like your desktop background.  HAL 9000.  Awesome.  
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 2:31pm
Thanks, I know its not really new or original, but its the background I use for everything, PC, phone, PS3, etc. Its clean and simple, plus, I'm a HAL 9000 fan. Its also fun seeing people's reactions to all the "eyes" looking back at them from almost everything I own. Hahaha

Edited by Tidgxor - 15 Jan 2011 at 2:31pm
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  Quote DSnoob Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 5:48pm
what company do you work for? wish my company would pay for mine lol
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 5:56pm
It is a contractor for the US Navy. If they would have ended up paying for my home PC, I would have been stuck with my same old work PC. So, I figured it would make more sense to have the productivty-based PC at work, rather than a productivity-based PC at home. Even though I didn't like the thought of that at the time. Big%20Smile

Once you browse DS, you kind of get hooked.


Edited by Tidgxor - 15 Jan 2011 at 5:57pm
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  Quote surf71zx Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 11:21pm
Are you a contractor for the Navy at Tinker Air Base?Just curious because thats where I work.
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 15 Jan 2011 at 11:35pm
Nope, Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. I'm a Midwest feller. Hahaha

Edited by Tidgxor - 15 Jan 2011 at 11:35pm
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  Quote rholyrag Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 16 Jan 2011 at 4:51am
Conrgrats!  Great review, and thank you for sharing!
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  Quote cableal Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Jan 2011 at 12:52pm
Tidgxor,
 
Thanks for posting the well-written review. Your overall experience with DS reflects my own.
 
Again, thank you for your assistance and insights during my initial ordering process. Enjoy your new system. "Mr. Bojangles" is an indeed a sight to behold. 
 
Clueless Dad


Edited by cableal - 18 Jan 2011 at 12:53pm
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Jan 2011 at 6:57pm
cableal,

Thanks for the response! I chose Mr. Bojangles as a name, largely because I thought it fitted my personality a little better than a more serious name. Also, when I was younger, my father used to listen to the song a lot, call it an ode to him if you will Hahaha.

I hope you get your issues worked out with your system! Strong


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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 05 Feb 2011 at 7:17pm
Just as an additional note:

I found that one of the wheels shipped with the case was broken, which is a bit of a problem since its under a desk. I tried super-glue which worked, but only partially. I sent Digital Storm customer service an email simply asking if they provided replacements, and they sent out 4 new wheels, at no cost at all to me, without so much as a question asked.

So, the positive experience continues! Big%20Smile


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  Quote silentoption Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 07 Feb 2011 at 3:44pm
hehe you got the same case as mine although my cooler is 240 Asetek Watercooling Kit
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  Quote Saber Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 12 Feb 2011 at 9:37pm
Nice review of both the product and company.

I’m new to the forum and a bit new to custom PC’s. After 25+ years with Mac’s and garden-variety Windows machines I’m now considering a balls-to-walls workstation, so perhaps this forum will help.
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  Quote Coress Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 13 Feb 2011 at 10:32pm
I have a killer 2100, and basically, from the day I turned on my computer, I had my ethernet plugged into the killer 2100, then one day I was getting crashes, plugged my ethernet into my motherboard port, and my internet connection was literally 2x as fast
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 14 Feb 2011 at 5:12pm
@silentoption

I saw your review, very nice rig! Smile I personally opted for air-cooling because its what I'm used to. I guess I'm a little old fashioned in that regard LOL

@Saber

Thanks for the input, I definitely think you've came to the right place in regards to getting help. With experience such as yours, I'm sure you'll find that Digital Storm is a competent company worthy of your hard-earned dollar. Like I mentioned in the review, the forums have been a massive help to me. You can just look at my post history, for all my noobish questions, as proof. Hahaha

@Coress
Thanks for your experience with the 2100, it definitely does seem to be double-faced card as far as user reviews go. A lot of people seem to be in your boat, with the 2100 actually causing problems. I'm still marginally ahead with the 2100, as far as raw data goes, but I haven't conducted any thorough testing yet, as I'm waiting on the new firmware release which (they claim) is going to fix a lot of issues.
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 May 2011 at 3:38pm
UPDATE

I just figured I would share an additional piece of information for all potential Digital Storm customers. My rig is still running exceptionally well with no issues. I've been in it multiple times, but never as a result of any problems, it was just me tinkering around with the setup or adding something.

Additionally, my friend of 20 years just purchased his own Digital Storm rig after my strong encouragement to do so after I heard he was looking for a new machine.

So in other words 1/2 a year later (with hours of daily use) and the machine is still rocking hard! Big%20Smile


Edited by Tidgxor - 02 Jun 2011 at 12:20pm
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  Quote DST4ME Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 May 2011 at 4:51pm
Thanks for the update, its great to hear updates like this
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  Quote Trench Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Oct 2011 at 3:25am
What are those medicine bottles doing on the desk?
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Oct 2011 at 11:24am
Ah those help me keep up with the players whose reflexes are much more quick than mine. LOL

Actually just vitamins, but that's our secret,  shhhh.. Chilling


Edited by Tidgxor - 19 Oct 2011 at 11:27am
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  Quote Trench Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Oct 2011 at 1:31pm
Originally posted by Tidgxor



Ah those help me keep up with the players whose reflexes are much more quick than mine. LOL Actually just vitamins, but that's our secret,  shhhh.. Chilling


When was shopping for a TV years ago, a guy posted a photo of his "rig" -- the TV and TV stand in the living room -- and on the coffee table was a bottle of hand lotion and a roll of paper towels.

The TV forum had a good laugh.
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Oct 2011 at 3:42pm
LOL I laughed just thinking about it.

Sometimes I wonder if people sneak stuff like that in on purpose Hahaha
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  Quote Charlestp13 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 20 Oct 2011 at 11:20am
Beautiful beast you got there !

Btw if you don't mind me asking, what is it called under those monitors? "Monitor pads"? It made your station looks like a piece of ART !


Edited by Charlestp13 - 20 Oct 2011 at 8:36pm
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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 21 Oct 2011 at 12:38am
Thanks Charlestp13,

Its getting close to a year now, and she's still running good Big%20Smile

Are you asking about the black strip on the desk? That's actually a piece of leather thats slightly imbedded into the desk itself. The desk was a floor model at Office Depot, so I got a really good deal on it. Hahaha


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  Quote Tidgxor Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Dec 2011 at 2:27pm
One Year Update

I figured I would give an update for all potential customers who browse these reviews.

As I mentioned I received my DS rig on December 7th, 2010, so today's date of December 17th, 2011 I am just over a year into ownership. And, my thoughts on the system and Digital Storm after a year? Things are just as good as day 1.

Over the past year I have changed the Processor, but it was NOT because I had problems with the original unit, it was because I won an upgrade at a local university and chose to use it rather than sell it. Other than that, I haven't added or removed anything. I've had no component failures and there's been no perceivable decrease in performance over the past year. I have been in the rig a few times, but that was mainly for minor changes, that had nothing to do with Digital Storm, but rather with me being a little obsessive about certain things Big%20Smile

So, to summarize and reiterate my experience with Digital Storm thus far:

  • One Year In - Still 100% Recommend Digital Storm
  • No Hardware or Software Problems
  • No Decrease in Performance
  • Its One Year Old and Still Annihilates Everything In Existence at 1920x1200
  • I've Referred Two Friends Whom I've known for over 25 Years Each
  • Digital Storm sent me free Replacement Wheels when one broke due to my own error
  • The Noctua NH-D14 is massive pompous but I love it Big%20Smile

So, I highly recommend you research and consider Digital Storm for your purchase, I don't think you will be disappointed. Awesome



Edited by Tidgxor - 17 Dec 2011 at 2:29pm
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