The Digital Storm Velox (starts at $2,292; $6,018 as tested) is the type of gaming desktop aimed at you only if you’re a high-end shopper looking to make a statement or find a showpiece for your setup. It features two of the most powerful new graphics cards on the market, a speedy Core i7 processor, and a case designed and assembled by hardware experts—all of which you’d expect for the staggering price. While the performance is at the high end of the systems we’ve tested, the overall design feels a bit too conservative to come with an easy recommendation for this much money. There’s no compelling reason to buy it beyond the fast hardware, which can be found in most equally priced (or less expensive) desktops. The Velox is attractive, and will undoubtedly play the newest games at maximum settings, but in comparison, the Editors’ ChoiceMaingear Rush X99 Super Stock immediately makes it clear why you’d pay so much for one, which is most of the reason for buying a luxury system.
Design and Features The Velox’s tower is certainly made to be seen. The case itself isn’t overly flashy or ostentatious, as it’s simply black steel, but with a clear side panel and internal LED lighting, the desktop as a whole is meant to be a showcase. In particular, the liquid cooling system is the star of the show, featuring acrylic tubing, chrome joint fixtures, and eye-catching angles. Our version uses white cooling liquid and white lights (with a purplish tinge), which aren’t the flashiest choices, but perhaps give off a more tasteful look if you’d rather not commit to bold reds or greens.
The dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards are displayed prominently as well, with shiny metallic casings, and all the fans are framed with circular lighting. Wire management is also done at a level beyond the capabilities of most amateur builders, with tightly wound and clipped braided cables curving out of sight around the interior. The Velox looks impressive, clearly put together by professionals and designed to be aesthetically pleasing, though I will admit to being slightly underwhelmed. For more than $6,000 I’d expect to be blown away—something the Rush X99 Super Stock achieves, albeit at an even higher price. Instead, this is a nicely designed system that fails to separate itself too far from what I’ve seen at lower price points. Furthermore, a few quirks take away from the appeal, like the two graphics cards being upside down, which is made obvious by the glowing GeForce text on their sides. The case also lacks dust filters and is pretty open on the bottom and rear, which is odd. It looks good, better than any standard system (and most midrange desktops), but some design elements—intangible and otherwise—are a bit disappointing.
Standing at 22.2 by 9.25 by 19.5 inches (HWD), the Velox will require a large amount of desk space. Premium gaming desktops with this level of custom work are often around this size—the Rush x99 Super Stock measures 21.4 by 8.8 by 22.6 inches) and the CybertronPC Titanium 19.7 by 8.3 by 19.4 inches—so if you’re looking in this price range, you’ll probably have to set aside a sizable amount of room no matter which unit you pick. There are plenty of fans around the system—three on front and two on the top—which work with the liquid cooling to keep the powerful internals at reasonable temperatures. The cooling in place on our unit is the premium H20 HydroLux Pro with Hardline tubing—there are more standard consumer options available, as well as a few even more expensive setups.
The case also packs an ASUS X-99A II motherboard, a 1,000-watt Corsair HX1000i power supply, and an Intel Core i7-6900K processor (3.2GHz CPU overclocked up to 4.4GHz). This configuration comes with a 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 solid-state drive for programs and a 2TB hard drive for storage, and there’s also a DVD/CD-RW optical drive. There are plenty of ports on the desktop, too. The front panel includes two USB 3.0 ports, an SD slot, a microSD slot, a mic line, and a speaker line. On the back, there are four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 3.1 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a USB-C port, as well as two Ethernet ports. Each graphics card includes three DisplayPort connectors and an HDMI port. Digital Storm offers lifetime technical support and customer service—a comforting insurance blanket for something so expensive and expertly crafted—and a three-year labor, one-year part replacement warranty.
Performance With the speedy Core i7-6900K, SLI GTX 1080s, and 32GB of memory, this Velox boasts very fast performance. It scored 3,640 points on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional general productivity test, which edges out the X99 Super Stock (3,412), but is behind plenty of other high-end desktops such as the CybertronPC Titanium (4,350) and the all-in-one Digital Storm Aura (3,695). While the scores do vary, it’s worth noting that the differences in speed on one benchmark test are minimal when it comes to daily tasks, and all are exceptionally fast. The Velox was still faster than most of these systems on the multimedia benchmark tests, posting a 30-second time on HandBrake, a time of 2 minutes, 34 seconds, on the Photoshop test, and a score of 1,818 on CineBench.
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As much as you’ll appreciate this speed on day-to-day tasks and photo editing, gaming is likely what your focus will be, and there the Velox doesn’t disappoint. It crushed the Heaven and Valley graphics tests (1,920-by-1,080 resolution, the highest graphics settings), posting scores of 139 frames per second (fps) and 126fps, respectively. Gamers spending this much on a desktop are surely at least considering playing on a 4K monitor, and the Velox proved capable of churning out smooth frame rates at the full resolution (3,840 by 2,160) and the highest graphical settings. It produced results of 36fps and 45fps on those same tests, which might be disappointing to those hoping for 60fps given the price tag and hardware. It goes to demonstrate how demanding 4K gaming is, but considering 30fps is smoothly playable, the Velox is still a powerhouse.
Showing off its power further were the results on the 3D tests: Its scores of 46,193 points on Cloud Gate and 9,780 points on Fire Strike Extreme are toward the upper end of anything we’ve tested. The X99 Super Stock still easily trumps the Velox with 60,308 points on Cloud Gate and 18,484 on Fire Strike Extreme, but the Velox is even with or better than any of the other high-end desktops we’ve tested, and obliterated most of them on Cloud Gate.
Conclusion There’s no doubt the Digital Storm Velox is an absurdly fast gaming desktop, capable of better graphics performance than 99 percent of computers on the market. It comes with premium parts and professional design and testing, a level of care you don’t get from more mass-produced systems. Among other systems from boutique competitors, though, it doesn’t come across as a top recommendation from an aesthetic and power standpoint. Every new high-end system in this price tier will include Nvidia’s new cards and a top-of-the-line processor, and while the Velox offers some quality craftsmanship, it doesn’t make an especially compelling case to be the system you spend thousands on. The Maingear Rush X99 Super Stock configuration we tested is more expensive, but it’s even faster, the design offers much more of a wow factor, and you don’t have to choose the extremely pricey configuration to get the attractive design.