Digital Storm is a name we're quite familiar with around these parts. We've seen the company's work at CES and in our very own lab, and every time we've been quite impressed with what the custom PC manufacturer is doing.
Digital Storm is based out of the San Francisco, CA, bay area and uses both mass-produced cases and custom cases created using other local metal workers and machine shops. We've seen systems from Digital Storm that fall into both of these categories. Today in the lab, we have a system that falls into the former category. Enter the Vanquish II Level 4.
The Vanquish II Level 4, as the name might suggest, is the second iteration of the Vanquish gaming system line. We, unfortunately, don't have a frame of reference to see the improvements, as we didn't get a chance to look at the Vanquish I, but we can investigate the machine to see if it stands by itself as an awesome gaming machine.
The Level 4 designation means that the system has been configured by Digital Storm's experts to maximize performance on a certain budget level. Level 4 is the highest budget, and the system comes a little over $1,000, but we'll cover that aspect in a minute.
Without further ado, let's dive into the meat of this review and see what the Vanquish II is made of.
Specifications, Configurations and Pricing
The Level 4 Vanquish II comes configured with an Intel i5-4590. The 4590 is a quad-core processor based on Intel Haswell microarchitecture. It features a base speed of 3.3GHz and a TurboBoost speed of 3.7GHz. Unfortunately, the 4590 is not a K skew, so the processor's multipliers remain locked for overclocking. The 4590 also lacks HyperThreading, so the system is presented with just four cores and four threads.
The CPU features generic "upgraded CPU Air Cooling." On our system, this means cooling is provided by a ZALMAN CNPS5X 92mm tower-style air cooler that retails for just $23 on Newegg. It's certainly better than stock, but by how much remains to be seen. Of course, since it is a generic upgrade, your system may make use of a different CPU cooler.
The 4590 is slotted into an ASUS H81M-D Plus mATX motherboard. Again, this is a budget motherboard, something you can tell by the use of the Intel H81 chipset, as opposed to a higher-end Z87 chipset. The motherboard itself supports a max of 16GB of DDR3, and features two SATA 6Gb/s ports, one PCIe x16 slot, and two PCIe x1 slots. It does, however, include gigabit networking.
Two 4GB DDR3 DIMMs are slotted into the motherboard's RAM slots. According to the spec sheet, they are clocked at 1600MHz and are "Digital Storm Certified Performance Series." This generic statement again means that your system could come with differing memory. In the case of our system, we have ADATA XPG RAM with timings of 9-9-9-24.
Graphics are provided by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB video card. Our specific card is the DirectCU II from ASUS, a solid brand and model. We expect that your system could come with a different brand and model as no specific brand or model is specified.
Windows 8.1 64-bit is the operating system pre-installed on a Samsung 840 EVO 120GB SSD. Storage is provided by a 7,200RPM 1TB Seagate drive. All of the components are stuffed into a Corsair Graphite Series 230T case in the Battleship Gray color.
Digital Storm has the Vanquish II Level 4 on sale on its website for $1,259. You can, of course, customize this machine to your heart's content, but the price and ship time may increase depending on your selections. This price includes lifetime Expert Care and a three-year limited warranty.