June 23, 2024


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Digital Storm Equinox (2018) review: Lots of gaming power in a slimmed down design

Digital Storm specializes in custom gaming desktops. Really amazing, beautifully assembled gaming desktops. Its gaming laptops aren’t quite as custom, but the company still has a hand in how they perform and then backs them with lifetime support.  

The thin-and-light 15.6-inch Equinox is based on the P955ER gaming laptop from OEM/ODM PC manufacturer Clevo. Digital Storm takes it, puts in up to 32GB of memory and up to two NVMe solid-state drives — depending on your needs and bank account — tests it for stability and performance issues and then backs it with personalized service and support. They’ll also custom color calibrate the laptop’s full HD 144Hz matte display if you want. 

While you can configure the storage and memory, everything else is fixed including the six-core Intel Core i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Max Q graphics card. The base version sells for $1,727 with 8GB of memory and a 250GB M.2 NVMe SSD, which converts to about AU$2,332 and £1,327. The $1,983 config I tested out had a 500GB SSD and 16GB of memory, and although that’s a lot, it’s actually competitively priced against models like the Asus ROG Zephyrus M GM501 that’s similarly configured for $2,199.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Digital Storm Equinox

Digital Storm Equinox
Price as reviewed $1,983
Display size/resolution 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 144Hz display
CPU 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
Memory 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 8GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 with Max-Q Design
Storage 500GB Samsung EVO 960 SSD
Networking Gigabit 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Window 10 Home (64-bit)

On the whole, it’s a first-rate gaming laptop and the component combo makes for excellent gaming performance even with settings cranked up. Games like Fortnite and Overwatch ran smoothly as expected, but I was also able to play Battlefield 1
 on ultra settings. The game might be a couple years old, but it’s still a challenge for today’s graphics cards and I never had so much as a stutter while racing through muddy trenches avoiding soldiers and shells or darting through a village avoiding sniper fire. 

Actually, there was one thing that caused the system to freeze. My review laptop’s screen was calibrated by Digital Storm (an extra $29 charge) and while the display is very good if not all too bright, the X-Rite i1Display Pro driver used for calibration seemingly caused the laptop to lock up after about an hour of gameplay. Removing the driver remedied the problem, and I was able to play uninterrupted for hours. 

Before our testing discovered that the driver was the culprit, I thought the freezing was the result of the tremendous amount of heat put out while under load. Even with the fans going full blast (there’s an app on the system to control fan speed), the temperature under the WASD keys would hit upwards of 125 degrees Fahrenheit (about 50 degrees Celsius). Again, it wasn’t the cause of the freezing and those temps shouldn’t hurt the components, but it was definitely warm on the finger tips and the top left corner of the metal chassis got very hot. 

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