Digital Storm Lynx Evaluation: A Prebuilt Gaming PC With Fashionable, Upgradeable Design

"The Lynx is an aggressively minimalist gaming PC that can work for everyone."

  • Modern design with tempered glass side panel

  • Competitive price adjustment

  • Spacious interior for easy upgrades

  • RGB lighting options for visual interest

  • Can support up to two GPUs

  • Missing USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 ports

  • No order option for RTX 2080 Ti graphics

While Digital Storm's flagship, Aventum X, is a powerful showpiece that combines the best of modern technology in a massive tower, the company's Lynx gaming PC is a stylish workhorse that weighs no more than 50 pounds. Like the Aventum, the Lynx can support multiple graphics cards, and the smaller yet spacious interior of the tower promises hobbyists an easy way to upgrade without having to build a system from scratch.

Starting at $ 799, the Lynx is a PC that you can invest in today and make powerful tomorrow. Enthusiasts will want to upgrade to the top-of-the-line configuration, like our test device, which is available for $ 1,999 and has a 9th generation Intel Core i7-9700K processor, GeForce RTX 2070 graphics, and a solid state device is shipped ride.

Simple but aggressive

As the newest member of the Digital Storm family, the Lynx is an attractive gaming PC with a premium style that is both aggressive and minimalist. While the Aventum has a simple block-shaped housing, the cooler-like front panel of the Lynx with a stylized and backlit Digital Storm Thunderbolt logo gives this gaming PC an edgy atmosphere. Overall, it's without the glaring frills on competing gaming desktops.

The combination of a muffled aggressive front grill and simple side walls results in a modern design that most players appreciate. If you need more show, you can activate the RGB backlight in the case.

Under the hood

With a size of 18 x 8 x 18 inches, the Lynx has a similar footprint to other medium-sized towers such as HP's Omen Obelisk, the competing boutique PC manufacturer Origin PC Neuron, Dell Alienware Aurora R7 and Asus ROG Strix GL12CP. Compared to Neuron's use of a Mini-ITX board, the Lynx's larger ATX motherboard not only offers enough space to add components, but is also spacious enough for your hands to maneuver easily during upgrades.

The internal parts of the device can be accessed via removable side walls on both sides, both of which are secured with knurled screws to allow tool-free access to the inside. Removing the tinted glass panel gives you access to the motherboard, solid-state drive, RAM, and graphics card, while the power supply and hard drive are behind the metal side panel on the opposite side.

Given the Lynx's high-end processors and graphics, it's not hard to imagine small business owners using it for productivity.

Tinted glass gives the device a clean look when the Lynx is turned off. When you turn on the device, there is a lot of visual interest, from the RGB backlight throughout the case to the liquid-cooled processor. The cable management is first class, ensures order and helps with air flow. The Lynx is also supplied with magnetically attached dust filters on the top and bottom.

Although the Lynx comes with a single graphics card, users can add a second GPU, a feature that is also supported by Alienware Aurora R7 and Origin PC Neuron. High-end gamers and users who need workstation-like performance can take advantage of dual graphics support to make their investments more future-proof.

Digital Storm Lynx reviewChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

Our biggest complaint is that the top configuration of Digital Storm only comes with a GeForce RTX 2070 GPU. Players who want to fully exploit the graphics potential of the Lynx with dual-Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti flagship GPUs have to replace the GPU that came with the device instead of just adding a second card quickly.

A plethora of ports are needed for VR

True to its gaming pedigree, the Lynx has numerous ports through which you can connect all of your favorite peripherals. The front ports, accessible on the top of the case, include two USB-A 3.0 ports, audio and headphone ports, and a power switch. On the back, you'll find an even wider range of ports, including six USB ports, an Ethernet jack, two older PS / 2 ports for older mouse and keyboard connections, audio and headphone jacks, and a range of DisplayPort and HDMI video output ports -Links.

Due to Digital Storm's decision to equip the device with RTX 2070 graphics instead of an updated RTX 2080 card, there is no USB-C port on the Lynx, making this rig less future-proof even in its updated configuration.

Although the RTX 2070 provides enough power to control virtual reality headsets, this system cannot use the single VirtualLink connector due to the lack of a USB-C connector. Instead, you need to connect multiple cables to power your headset. And ironically, despite the glowing, stylized Thunderbolt emblem on the front that Digital Storm uses as the company logo, there is no Thunderbolt 3 port on this device.

Ready for work

Although Digital Storm charges the Lynx as a gaming PC, given the device's options for high-end processors and graphics, it's not hard to imagine that small business owners and home users will use the Lynx for productivity tasks. Our updated test configuration comes with a 9th generation Intel processor. However, to keep costs down, the Lynx offers an Intel Core i7-9700K processor instead of the more powerful Core i9-9900K of our flagship Aventum X device.

Digital Storm Lynx reviewChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

The main difference between these two processors, aside from the clock speeds, is that the i7 silicon doesn't benefit from Intel's Hyper-Threading technology. To make up for this loss, Intel added two additional processor cores to this year's i7 compared to the previous model, which expanded the silicon from six to a total of eight cores.

As expected, the results of our Geekbench 4 benchmark showed that the performance of the 9th generation Core i7 processor from Lynx is better than last year's Core i7 processor, but slightly lower than that of the more powerful Core i9. The Lynx's single-core score of 6,037 and the multi-core score of 29,974 followed the results of the Core i9-9900K from competing units such as Origin Chronos, Asus ROG Strix GL12X, Origin Millenium and Digital Storm Aventum X, but not significantly Span. The Aventum X achieved values ​​of 6.0367 and 32.328, for example. Last year's 6-core i7-8700 processor on the HP Omen Obelisk configured with RTX 2080 graphics was behind the package with 5,606 and 26,529 points.

These results suggest that the biggest difference between Intel processors is in multi-core workloads and that the Core i7-9700K can keep up with the more powerful Core i9-9900K with more premium devices. When Lynx is used in practice to surf the Internet, moderate photo editing and for tasks with high productivity, most users will not notice any loss in performance with the Lynx Core i7.

More intensive tasks such as video coding take a little more time to run on the Lynx. Our handbrake coding test took just under 90 seconds on the Lynx compared to around 80 seconds on devices with a Core i9-9900K processor. Both 9th generation processors from Intel were faster than the 8th generation processor from Omen Obelisk, which took 124 seconds to execute.

Digital Storm Lynx reviewChuong Nguyen / Digital Trends

Our Lynx device comes with a fast Samsung EVO 970 M.2 solid-state drive with 512 GB and a larger 2 TB hard drive for larger files. While 512GB isn't the largest capacity we've seen on a gaming PC, it does offer fast read and write speeds of 1,259MB / s and 1,022MB / s. Both drives can be upgraded easily if you need more space to store your documents, photos, videos and game files.

Medium graphic

Although the Lynx benefits from strong processing power, the RTX 2070 graphics in the middle of the device may not take the device into account for enthusiast-level gamers when newer features such as ray tracing are activated at higher resolutions. However, most modern games run without a noticeable drop in frame rates in a resolution of up to 2K or 1440p with a high level of detail on the Lynx RTX 2070 card.

When benchmarking with the Time Spy tool from 3DMark, the Lynx with 8,680 points is behind other devices with RTX 2080 graphics from Nvidia and ahead of laptops with mobile RTX 2070 graphics. The Origin Chronos, with a single flagship Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, was 13,817 points ahead of the Lynx, while the 2019 Razer Blade with Max-Q design uses mobile RTX 2070 graphics for thin and light gaming laptops, only achieving 6,363 points.

Given that the RTX 2070 can render most modern games with modest graphics like Epics Fortnite and 2K Games & # 39; Civilization VI at frame rates above 60 frames per second (fps), some players won't benefit from a system with a stronger one – and more expensive – graphics card. Although the frame rates provided by the Lynx were not as high as those of competitor systems with RTX 2080 or RTX 2080 Ti graphics, the performance was smooth. Civilization VI played between 68 fps at the highest settings in 4K and 189 fps at medium settings and medium details at 1080p, compared to the Omen Obelisk values ​​of 102 and 155 fps, respectively.

However, performance declined for more graphics-intensive games like Ubisoft's Assassins Creed Odyssey. With a resolution of 1080p and high details, the game's 96 FPS is surprisingly even better than the Origin PC Millennium with its dual RTX 2080 Ti graphics, but thanks to its dual resolution, the Millennium outperformed the Lynx at higher Resolutions and higher game settings. 2080 Ti graphics.

The Lynx is an attractive and powerful alternative because you don't have to build your own gaming rig, but it's not a PC without compromise.

In fact, the millennium frame rate drops to below 60 at 4K in ultra-high details, while the Lynx drops to 54 fps from 1440p with ultra-high details. Even over 60 fps, the Lynx stuttered at 1080p at ultra-high details, and at 1440p and 4K, the choppy became more apparent at both the Lynx's high and ultra-high settings.

Compared to the desktop RTX 2070 with the same mobile graphics chip, the Lynx offers a performance advantage over the Razer Blade that comes with a mobile RTX 2070 Max-Q design. At 1080p in high settings, the Lynx has an advantage of 20 fps over the blade. The game was played at 36 fps at 4K and ultra settings on the Lynx, compared to just 28 fps on the blade.

With ray tracing enabled, the Lynx scored 4,756 points at 22 frames per second in Underwriter Laboratories' Port Royale benchmark, less than 5,598 points at 26 fps, which the RTX 2080 card published on the HP Omen Obelisk. Although the RTX 2070 supports real-time ray tracing, the midrange card is best for players who want to play games with a resolution of 1080p.

A weaker real-time ray tracing performance was observed in EA Dice's Battlefield V. When the feature was disabled, the RTX 2070 only dropped below 60 fps in 4K at ultra settings. When the ray tracing function was activated, the Lynx sank at 1440p and medium settings below 60 fps, with the game showing a noticeable choppy performance at 1440p and ultra settings.

guarantee

In addition to competing boutique companies like rival Origin PC, Digital Storm's warranty terms for the Lynx are somewhat poor. Both companies offer lifelong telephone support to customers if a problem arises. However, Digital Storm only covers the Lynx for three years of work and one year for defective parts. In contrast, Origin PC offers a more generous guideline that extends working hours to life while maintaining the one-year life for parts.

What sets Origin PC apart is the Evolve cover for part upgrades and replacement. This optional cover, which can be extended to three years, gives you the current market value when you exchange your existing components. This could have been an extremely useful advantage if Digital Storm had introduced a similar strategy for users who want to update the RTX 2070 graphics in Lynx for either an RTX 2080 or an RTX 2080 Ti. Currently, Lynx owners must either pay for the included RTX 2070 card or resell the card themselves if they want to update the device's GPU.

Our opinion

The Lynx is an attractive and powerful alternative because you have to build your own gaming rig from scratch, but it's not a PC without your own compromises. While the Lynx comes with the latest processor and graphics card on the market – 9th generation Intel CPUs and Nvidia RTX series graphics cards are self-evident – the device cannot be configured with the best silicon available. This compromise was probably made to keep costs in check, but enthusiasts can be put off by the lack of a premium configuration.

Is there a better alternative?

As configured, the Lynx is an affordable premium gaming PC. Although the Lynx costs as much as the HP Omen Obelisk, Digital Storm has made several compromises to get the same price of $ 2,000. HP's gaming strategy with the Obelisk is to focus on the graphics. So the company chose an older 8th generation Intel processor to keep costs down. The Lynx, however, has a newer processor of the 9th generation, but a slightly weaker RTX GPU. If you want to wait until spring, the HP 2019 version of the Omen Obelisk comes with a 9th generation Intel processor, updated RTX 2080 Ti graphics, and liquid cooling at a starting price that only costs $ 249 more than that Lynx. At this price, you get a much better graphics card.

Both devices are cheaper than other premium options like the Neuron from Origin PC. Although the Neuron can support two graphics cards like the Lynx, Origin PC offers potential owners the ability to configure the device with high-end silicon. When configured with a better Intel Core i9-9900K processor, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti graphics, 32 GB RAM and a 500 GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive, the Neuron is almost $ 1,700 more expensive. While Digital Storm's more moderate midrange build prices are commendable, we hope the company will offer performance users improved configurations for the Lynx.

Another pre-built PC that supports dual graphics is the Alienware Aurora R7 from Dell. With a bulbous design, the Alienware desktop doesn't share the edgy aesthetics like the Lynx or the Neuron, but the prices seem to be competitive with the Lynx. The $ 2,099 Aurora comes with a similar Core i7-9700K processor and RTX 2070 graphics. However, Dell offers high-end builds that are ahead of the pack with the Intel Core i9-9900K and Nvidia's 2080 Ti for a whopping $ 5,449.

How long it will take?

The 9th generation Intel processor and Nvidia RTX graphics make the Lynx a great investment for years to come. However, if you've managed to outgrow the configuration of Digital Storm, thanks to the spacious, medium-sized case design, you can easily do DIY upgrades as your needs grow. High-end users can even add a second graphics card to improve performance.

Should you buy it

Without investing the work of building your own rig from scratch, you can rely on the decisions Digital Storm made. This means that you don't necessarily get the best components, although you get a well-designed, water-cooled system that offers enough power to get you started. And for gamers, the compromises that Digital Storm has made are evident, since the 2070 graphics in the middle range follow the high-end options of the RTX series. For advanced users, the biggest advantage of the Lynx is the untapped potential of the device. With a spacious interior and space for a second graphics card, the Lynx can do a serious job, but only if you invest the time to do the DIY upgrades yourself.

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