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

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.

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TOPICS: PCs, Linux
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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

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Talkback

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  • Prices and Windows support . . .

    "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."

    Actually - some of them are as low as $500. So you need not really invest big bucks to get one. $499 is very reasonable for even a budget gamer.

    This is really the age-old canard that techies seem to bring up from time to time: That you need lots of money to play games or to have a computer with a dedicated GPU.

    This canard wasn't true when Vista was released (there were cheap video cards back then - you really didn't need a powerhouse to run Aero, despite claims that you did), and it's still not true now.

    (of course, yes Vista did have its own problems - but they weren't related to graphics)

    Anyhoo, back on topic: You don't really need a top of the line video card for the vast majority of games. A high end card is nice to have, but not required.

    I think that being able to run Windows is a good thing; it means you can use it for Windows-based productivity apps that are already familiar to most gamers.

    It also means a much easier transition to the Linux-based SteamOS, as you can dual boot to Windows for games that don't yet support Linux (or old games that will never support Linux).

    I think it'll help.
    CobraA1
    • To clarify:

      To clarify: The Bolt II didn't have a $499 model, but there were other steam boxes announced that were that cheap, such as CyberpowerPC's device. And it has pretty good specs to boot.

      So I don't really get the obsession with the idea that you need a super high price system to play games. I really don't.
      CobraA1