The Bolt itself is a very sleek design, we appreciate the aggressive styling on the vent cuts along the sides and top of the chassis. The front panel connectors are along the right side of the chassis, at the very front. It includes a headphone jack, microphone jack, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 2 USB 2.0 ports. On the top of the chassis at the front is a power button flanked by a smaller restart button.
The time it took from pushing the power button to having the OS and startup applications fully loaded was about 25 seconds. Once in the OS, one will notice that Digital Storm has been careful not to include any bloatware whatsoever. What they have included is a cool Digital Storm wallpaper, as well as some screenshots in the pictures folder proving that the system (including the overclock) was fully tested using Prime95 and LinX.
Digital Storm Wallpaper
The system itself is quite snappy. The Bolt uses mostly off the shelf components, so the performance is no surprise, it is simply a sum of its parts as well as the extra boost gotten from the overclock. In our case, the Core i7 3770K was overclocked from the stock 3.5 GHz to a stable 4.1 GHz. What really makes the Bolt unique however is the form factor. It puts a full gaming PC into a chassis slightly larger than an XBox 360 S.
Left: Digital Storm Bolt, Right: XBox 360 S
Back: Digital Storm Bolt, Front: XBox 360 S
The design is an aluminum shell attached by 4 screws in the back which slides off to reveal the components below.
It is certainly not as modular as a larger system due to size/space constraints, but it does allow the user to change pretty much any component in the system. The Bolt is quite dense, weighing in at a hefty 20 lbs. which does not sound like much, but was heavier than we expected when looking at such a small system (though this makes sense, the components in the system weigh the same regardless of how tightly packed they are). One issue we had with it was that the sides of the chassis don’t feel rigid, and tend to bow under any sort of pressure inwards. This became quite noticeable when carrying it around, and while it did not cause any real issue, it certainly made us nervous. The flexibility in the chassis walls is definitely something to keep in mind if one is considering the Bolt as a possible LAN rig.
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