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System Review: Digital Storm's Gaming Dominator

We compared Digital Storm’s 3.8 GHz build to the closest-matching custom machine we’ve tested, Maingear’s Ephex. A 73% price difference should make it easy for the Gaming Dominator to prove its value, but we can still see how much performance is really sacrificed.

Test System Configurations

Digital Storm Gaming Dominator Maingear Ephex
Intel Core i7-950 (3.20 GHz, 8 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 3.83 GHz (23 x 166.6 MHz)
Intel Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz, 8 MB Cache)
Overclocked to 3.80 GHz (14 x 200)
MSI X58 Pro BIOS 7.3 (04-17-2009)
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366
Asus P6T
Intel X58/ICH10R Chipset, LGA-1366
Mushkin 6 GB DDR3-1333 CAS 9
at DDR3-1333 CAS 8-8-8-19 (1T)
Kingston 6 GB DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-20 (1T)
XFX GeForce GTX 295 1.79 GB
576/1242MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2016
3 x EVGA GeForce GTX 285 1 GB, SLI
648/1476MHz GPU/Shader, GDDR3-2484
Test Hard Drive
Western Digital Caviar Black 1 TB
7,200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Intel X25-M 80 GB SATA 3.0 Gb/s SSD
Integrated HD AudioIntegrated HD Audio
Integrated Gigabit NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Windows Vista Home Premium x64 SP1Windows Vista Home Premium x64 SP1
Nvidia GeForce 186.18Nvidia GeForce 182.08

Sharp-eyed readers will notice the difference in graphics driver, which couldn’t be avoided since the Ephex had been tested a couple of months ago. The system’s current $3,869 price remains relatively high due to its SSD drive and 3-way SLI graphics configuration.

A few of our Maingear Ephex benchmarks are also a little outdated, but we retained these for today’s comparison.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Call of Duty: World at WarPatch 1.1, FRAPS/saved game
High Textures, No AA / No AF, vsync off
Ultra Textures, 4x AA / Max AF, vsync off
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, Steam Version, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very HighDetails 4x AA / 16x AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: (x64)
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 64bits (07-04-2008)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to MP3
TMPEG 4.6Version:
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.1Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 kbp/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version: 8.0.134, Virus base: 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, WinZIP Commandline Version 3.0, Compression = Best, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.0, Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (139 MB)
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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