Conclusions

What we're evaluating here are really three different products. The DigitalStorm Virtue gives us an opportunity to test both Haswell and the GTX 780 in the wild, as well as a chance to see what a good Corsair Obsidian 350D build might look like.

First, Haswell. I may be unusually, possibly needlessly harsh on Haswell, but I can't help but be incredibly unimpressed. IPC has gone up generation by generation, so why is overclocking performance essentially flatlining? The Core i7-4770K basically needs to hit the same speeds Ivy could eventually hit to really justify itself. Intel didn't architect Haswell for the high end, they architected it for the low. This is an architecture that's supposed to be in ultrabooks, not in ultra-powerful desktops. We felt shafted with Ivy Bridge, but Haswell was our great white hope, and I think that's why the i7-4770K is as disappointing as it is. Ivy wasn't a big jump in performance, but it wasn't supposed to be, and Haswell was. Hopefully when I build out the custom liquid cooling loop review and take more of the heat out of the equation, the architecture can stretch its legs a bit.

Second, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780. Not much to say here that hasn't already been said in Ryan's review. Extremely high end kit has always had a little bit of a problem justifying the expense, but the GTX 780 is a pretty weird beast. Even on its best day the less expensive GTX 770 will still have a hard time catching up to the 780, and with a little bit of TLC you can basically get a GTX Titan or better for two-thirds the price. 33% off is an awesome discount, but it's still 33% off a cool Cleveland.

Finally, the DigitalStorm Virtue itself is actually a pretty solid deal. The build we were sent is their Level 3 build, with only the crazy GeForce Titan model ahead of it. This exact system can be built on NewEgg for only maybe $200-$300 less at absolute most, so the pricing is definitely fair for what you get. But $2,563 is still an awful lot of bank, and I'm more of the opinion that gamers looking for a better deal would benefit from the Level 2 configuration. It means downgrading a few components, but the i5-4670K isn't a serious hit for gamers and going down to 8GB of DDR3-1600 isn't relevant for the majority of users. The cruelest cut is dropping from the monstrous GTX 780 to the GTX 770, but the 770 is still an incredibly capable card, and you're saving around $800 in the process. While I enjoyed my time with the Level 3 model, I'm far more willing to give the more balanced Level 2 model the recommendation. If you're looking for a gaming desktop, the DigitalStorm Virtue is a solid value for the money.

Build, Noise, Heat, and Power Consumption
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  • cmdrdredd - Sunday, June 23, 2013 - link

    Nice review. I too am unimpressed by Haswell, but even more unimpressed by the GTX 770. Basically an overclocked 680. Only the 780 is even worth mentioning IMO. That's just my opinion and since I am on SLI 670s I suppose my view is a little unfair.

    That all said these systems offer pretty good value for someone who wants a ready to go system right out of the box with no fuss. The pricing is extremely fair.
    Reply
  • airmantharp - Monday, June 24, 2013 - link

    The GTX770 is worth mentioning for the blower- it uses the Titan/GTX780 blower instead of the GTX680 blower. Lower temps, less noise, especially when pushed.

    But otherwise, you're right, it's unremarkable.
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Monday, June 24, 2013 - link

    Actually, very few of those 770's with the Titan blower were made. Fewer still are being sold. In the US, they're all coming with custom coolers. Reply
  • sticks435 - Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - link

    Evga is now bringing out a limited run of them, though with a higher price. Reply
  • kilkennycat - Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - link

    Really ?? The only GTX770 with blower-style coolers listed on the US eVGA website as of 06/26 all have GTX680-type coolers, no Titan cooler.

    The Titan cooler requires a physical redesign of the GTX680 circuit board to accommodate the mechanics. It seems very odd to me that the nVidia reference design of the GTX770 sports the Titan cooler, but none of the partner-manufacturers offer that cooler as an option. I suspect that excess GTX680 circuit-board material and component inventory is currently being reallocated to GTX770 by installing the updated GK104 silicon and Boost2.0 firmware. Presumably after that material is used up, then Titan-style GTX770 may appear, probably at some price premium.
    Reply
  • MattKatz - Thursday, October 9, 2014 - link

    I'm not impressed by either one. The CybertronPC Borg-Q GM4213C is much better. /Matt from http://www.consumertop.com/best-desktop-guide/ Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Monday, June 24, 2013 - link

    Hm. You're forgetting the price argument about the 770.

    The 770 isn't just an overclocked 680. It's an overclocked 680 at former 670 pricing. So not only are they giving you more than top end performance from the last card line, but they're selling it to you for $100 less.

    Meanwhile, Haswell is nothing but absolute disappointment for the desktop user. Even for the laptop user who isn't buying an Ultrabook, I question much of its value. Haswell makes the most sense in Ultrabooks and in Razer Edge-esque tablets.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Sunday, June 23, 2013 - link

    Wow, I didn't realise the Gryphon came with the ALC892. Would have assumed an ALC898 minimum. I would guess the money on that motherboard was spent on the TUF features first before the audio.

    Seems a little odd for a boutique build that ASUS is chosen for the motherboard, ASUS for the ODD, then EVGA with the GPU. Why not keep it all one company? Same with the memory - the case and PSU are Corsair, but the memory is ADATA? I'd assume that 'cost at the time' is the answer, but $2500 seems a lot for the whole system, or is that just me? [Insert self-build takes time over pre-built hence extra 10% on cost]
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Sunday, June 23, 2013 - link

    The margin on this build is actually a very reasonable one, comparatively. We're looking at probably around or a bit less than the 10%. Reply
  • aruisdante - Sunday, June 23, 2013 - link

    Because EVGA' 1150 boards aren't out yet. It is odd they went with the Gryphon instead of the Genethough. Reply

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