CES 2014: Digital Storm's liquid-cooled Bolt II gaming PC runs Steam OS and Windows

Summary:The boutique PC company hedges its bets with a hybrid Steam Machine that starts at $1,899.

Digital-Storm-Bolt-II-steam-machine-gaming-pc-valve-ces-2014

Jumping on the Steam Machine bandwagon could be an expensive risk for gamers who want to support Valve's attempt at storming the living room. That's because these forthcoming systems will use the Linux-based Steam OS -- many will be fine with that, while others may miss the familiarity of Windows.

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That's led Digital Storm to introduce a compromise in the form of the Bolt II, which is both a Steam Machine and a Windows small-form-factor (SFF) PC. The company is extoling the cooling features of the Bolt II, calling it "the most thermally efficient SFF computer available." That's thanks in part to the built-in liquid cooling system with which Digital Storm provides the Bolt II. Users can tweak cooling performance using the HydroLux control board, which not only lets you control the balance between cooling and system noise, but also lets you customize the computer's lighting.

The Bolt II will have a starting price of $1,899 when it's available later this month. One configuration we were given specs for -- Core i7-4770K Haswell processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card, 16GB of RAM, 120GB SSD, and 1TB hard drive -- comes in at a more robust $2,584. It will face a number of Steam Machine competitors -- will the addition of Windows capabilities make it more successful in the marketplace? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section. 

Topics: PCs, Linux

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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