Digital Storm Goes Micro STX With Project Spark

LAS VEGAS, NV -- Digital Storm unveiled a new small form factor (SFF) gaming system called Project Spark that leverages a micro STX motherboard and MXM graphics cards to achieve its impressively tiny footprint.

The Digital Storm Project Spark is no larger than a vase (we photographed it with a pair of headphones for scale), measuring in at only 6 x 4 x 12 inches. Tempered glass panels expose the left and right side’s interior to display the motherboard and storage, respectively. The black aluminum chassis gives it a sleek look, and remote-controlled RGB LED interior lighting adds a definitive "wow" factor.

The Spark may be tiny, but it packs a performance punch with a micro STX ASRock (Intel Z370 chipset) motherboard. Final specs are yet to be determined, but the unit Digital Storm had in its CES suite has an Intel Core i7-8700K processor, 32GB (2 x 16GB) of DDR4-SODIMM memory, and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X MXM graphics card. It supports up to three M.2 2880 storage devices (SATA or PCIe NVMe) and can also be equipped with up to two 2.5” SATA HDDs or SSDs. (We know that you'll be able to configure the Spark with a GTX 1060, too.)

We sussed out several additional features during our meeting with Digital Storm at CES. The Spark has some kind of gigabit Ethernet connectivity (judging by its RJ45 port), and we spied a wireless networking module above the three M.2 storage slots. Along with the antennas on the back panel, we can presume that it has 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity.

There are four USB 3.0 ports (they're blue) on the rear panel, in addition to two USB ports on the right side panel (next to the windowed storage), but we can’t confirm the revisions of the front USB ports (but we'd guess that it's USB 2.0 from the non-blue ports). Display output is limited to HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, and DisplayPort, the revisions of which remains unknown. Digital Storm also stated that the external AC adapter draws 320W of power, which gives the Spark enough juice to handle the combination of an i7-8700K and GTX 1080.

The Spark’s customization options don’t stop at the hardware level – the Digital Storm SFF gaming rig can be configured with custom hardline open-loop liquid cooling for both the CPU and GPU, with a 120mm radiator (which resides on the top panel), something not often (if ever) found in a device this small. You can also opt for a custom paint job.

Spark is no longer a "project," with Digital Storm stating that we should see the system in Q2 of this year, starting at $1,299 (with a GTX 1060 inside).

Digital Storm Project Spark Custom Mini PC
Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • studmoose
    From what I gather from the other Digital Storm products, the use of the i7-8700K will support overclocking. DS offers overclocking for both the CPU and their graphic cards, with their own optional software tool. Also, these systems can be upgraded, unlike the Hades Canyon, which prevents overclocking and upgrades to base components.

    The problem is, from a price point, DS has so many custom options, that the price can jump very quickly. For example: One of the options is the plumbing. You can go clear flexible tubes with clear or colored coolant (several color choices), solid-colored flexible tubes (such as black, white, red, blue, green), hardened clear tubes with clear or colored coolant, illuminated as further option, or chromed copper tubing. The coolant doesn't affect the price, but there are jumps between flexible, clear rigid, rigid illuminated and copper offerings. Price also changes if you just want the CPU liquid cooled or if you also want the GPU liquid cooled as well.

    There are so many options with DS products, a trip to their website will make others pale in comparison. I was blown away by the number of ways their machines can be customized from the seller.
  • alextheblue
    20581377 said:
    From what I gather from the other Digital Storm products, the use of the i7-8700K will support overclocking.
    In this particular case, I wouldn't get too excited about the overclocking possibilities. Well, unless you are already deaf... think a 6000RPM Delta fan will fit?