Now that we've looked at the performance of the Bolt 2 in depth, it's time to take a step back and see how we like the package as a whole.
Digital Storm's custom Bolt 2 case in Copperhead finish looks stunning. The case packs a ton of components and performance into a pint-sized PC. Incredibly, this system hangs with - and beats - the larger systems we've reviewed. This usually isn't the case for a SFF PC.
We also like how the custom case can be placed on its side much like a console or other HTPC cases. It makes it perfect for the shelf beneath your TV for some living room gaming. Furthermore, Digital Storm's controllable RGB lighting allows you to customize the lighting effects as your tastes change.
While the system might be small in stature, it certainly isn't small in terms of weight. While I don't have an accurate measurement of it, I can tell you that it easily weighs the same as the larger systems that it beats. The weight certainly detracts from the portability, but the small size easily exceeds this negative and results in an easy-to-tote system for LAN parties. It also fits perfectly in space-constrained spots (can you say college dorm?).
There really isn't much more that I need to say as the preceding charts should do the majority of the talking. You get unbeatable performance in a tiny package. This does, however, bring me towards my conclusion and one of the most important aspects of the review: price and value.
In order to get a tiny system such as this with watercooling, top-of-chart performance, and a custom case, you're going to pay a premium. A pretty large premium in the case of the Bolt 2. For the items you can actually put a price on, you're looking at over $1,700 in components. This doesn't include the incredibly compact custom case, the watercooling, fan controller, or lighting. Designing a case isn't cheap, and managing to pack in this much performance into such a small package is also not cheap.
In other words, you're going to pay a premium for the space-saving Bolt 2. But for that premium, you do get a top-of-chart performing system, one of the very best systems we've seen in our lab. The system is listed at $3,489, which is a bit steep and daunting to look at.
But, in addition to what we've covered, you also get lifetime US-based Expert Care and a three-year labor and one-year parts warranty. We'd love a longer hardware warranty-an option they have available-but for this price, it should be longer to start with in my opinion. You'll also get lifetime labor free upgrades on components purchased from Digital Storm. This is really nice as working in a tight space such as the Bolt 2 can be very frustrating.
I'm not able to say that the Bolt 2 represents great value; it doesn't. But, chart-topping performance comes at a price, and so does space. Therefore, if you are limited in space, but want a top-of-the-line gaming PC, the Bolt 2 is an excellent choice. As it is the highest-performance gaming PC we've had through our labs, we're awarding it with our Best Performance award. I'm still speechless that I get to say this about a small-form-factor PC.
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- Page 1 [Introduction & Specifications, Configurations and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging, Bundle & System Pictures]
- Page 3 [Testing Methodology]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - CPU Tests]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Storage Tests]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - System Tests]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Gaming Tests]
- Page 8 [Temperatures and Noise & Power Consumption]
- Page 9 [Final Thoughts]