The Digital Storm ODE is a desktop geared towards hardcore gamers that carries a fixed configuration and a competitive price tag. The desktopís performance and attractive design are hard to beat, and itís available for $2,339. Digital Storm covers your investment with a lengthy three-year warranty.
The ODE comes with a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K processor. The processor is unlocked and can be tweaked to 4.8GHz for extreme overclocking. The quad-core processor is part of Intelís second generation of high-end chips. The multiple cores help when running various applications simultaneously, and the desktopís overall performance is superb, to say the least. As you would expect, such a powerhouse desktop can handle common daily tasks with ease, but it handles modern gaming titles with no problems whatsoever. A healthy dose of 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM also helps with multitasking. Two Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 graphics cards offer reliable performance when playing modern games at higher resolutions. In all, the combination of the processor, RAM, and graphics cards should give gamers what they need. Compared to other machines in the gaming desktop class, such as the Maingear Vybe and the Alienware Aurora, the ODE performs very favorably.
Digital Storm equips the ODE with plenty of storage in the form of a 120GB Solid State drive and a 1TB hard drive. When youíre tired of playing video games, you can pop a movie into the integrated Blu-ray drive, which helps make the ODE a viable choice as an entertainment desktop on the side.
While most who purchase the ODE will do so for its fixed configuration convenience, the tower does have some interior room for expansion. Thereís room for two extra memory sticks, should the 8GB not be enough. Four hard drive slots are unoccupied, although Digital Storm did ship the ODE with loads of storage. You can also expand via the two free 1X PCI Express slots.
When it comes to the ODEís design, Digital Storm deserves an award. The cool white and black exterior is stylish and modern. This is one desktop that you can proudly display without worrying about it destroying your environmentís dťcor. Curved panels, aggressive mesh grilles for cooling on the top and front panels, and a side window that gives you a view of the neatly organized interior setup all combine to make the ODE one of the best looking gaming towers around. As an added touch, eye-catching red lighting dots the interior.
The top of the front panel offers a small connectivity junction that includes an integrated fan controller knob, four USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port, a FireWire port, and microphone and headphone jacks. The rest of the connectivity resides on the back panel. The healthy collection of hookups includes four DVI ports, two HDMI ports, two DisplayPorts, an Ethernet port, various USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, FireWire, eSATA, and ports for a keyboard and mouse.
Digital Storm hit a home run with the ODE. The desktop pretty much as everything a gamer could want in terms of price, design, performance, and connectivity. The fact that Digital Storm eliminates the need for tiring customization is another plus to add to the ODEís list of appealing aspects.
HP Pavilion Slimline s5-1060
The HP Pavilion Slimline s5-1060 is an entertainment desktop that is characterized by a space-saving design and media-friendly features. The Slimline s5-1060 is available for around $780, and it comes with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor.
The Slimline s5-1060 is powered by a 2.9GHz Intel Core i5-2130 processor, which is part of Intelís second generation of Core processors. The processor gives the Slimline solid performance when compared to its competitors in the entertainment desktop field. You can surf the net, enjoy media, and even partake in some casual gaming with no problems at all. Just donít expect to play any of the more intense modern games at high settings, as the AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card is not exactly ideal for such situations. Helping the Slimline s5-1060ís overall performance is 6GB of DDR3 SDRAM.
The Slimline s5-1060 offers sizable storage via a 1TB hard drive. An entertainment desktop wouldnít be complete without a Blu-ray drive, and HP has included one here. An integrated TV tuner is onboard as well so you can watch and record live television programming. You even get a remote control as an added bonus. Thereís also integrated Wi-Fi and a media card reader for transferring data with devices such as digital cameras.
The interior of the Pavilion Slimline s5-1060 does offer some room for added upgrades, but donít expect to go crazy with expansion. There are two vacant slots to upgrade RAM. You can also make use of the two open 1X PCI Express slots, but thatís about it.
As you can guess from the desktopís name, the Slimline s5-1060 offers a slim, space-saving design. This coincides well with its categorization as an entertainment PC for your living room or kitchen. Measuring in at 15.4 inches long by 12.3 inches tall by 4 inches wide, the Slimline s5-1060 is one of the more compact desktop PCs you will find. The towerís non-intrusive nature should appeal to many, and its glossy black and gray color scheme should fit in with most environments.
The desktopís front panel houses the optical drive, as well as the media card reader, two USB 2.0 ports, and a headphone jack. The back panel rounds out the connectivity options with a DVI port, HDMI port, Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, and analog/digital audio outputs. The connectivity is a bit underwhelming, as there are no ports of the USB 3.0 variety, and eSATA and FireWire are also nowhere to be found.
As an entertainment desktop, the HP Pavilion Slimline s5-1060 is a solid choice. It may not provide the best performance for gaming and is lacking a bit in the area of connectivity, but its overall performance, features, and thin design make it a viable option for a kitchen, living room, or dorm room.
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