There are a lot of things to say about MAINGEAR, and one of them is quality.
When I got my particular unit, it came with something that threw me off a bit: a binder. This binder was filled with all sorts of good stuff: a t-shirt, all of my software, and then the best thing I have ever seen. You see when MAINGEAR builds YOUR computer, they do it with style; on a floor with only a few employees, and each desktop is catered to by a single individual. You can look through your little binder, and find a piece of paper that has checkmarks on it. What happens is they build your PC, inspect it, re-inspect it and test it out to make sure everything works well.
The best thing however, is that when they ship out YOUR unit, there is NO extra software on it –unless you requested it. When I say there is NONE, that means absolutely 0; if you do not request it, it does not end up on your system.
The roots of the Maingear history stretches back to 2002 when Wallace Santos and his friend Jonathan Magalhaes were debating whether to start their business towards their passion of building high performance PC or modding and tuning cars. Ultimately, they decided to combine the best of both by building high-performance custom PCs and tuning them for the best experience possible.
Wallace and Jonathan have always been focused on delivering the best personal support, build quality and performance. Since 2002, Maingear products have earned numerous industry awards such as PC Magazine Editors’ Choice and Maximum PC Kick-Ass Editors’ Choice award. Their dedication to genuine one-on-one personal customer support is part of their foundation making them different than other PC manufacturer.
Maingear is a private self-funded company that is shaping the future of the PC, pioneering new and better solutions while always remaining inspired to offer excellence to its customers.
MAINGEAR Vybe Super Stock
|Chassis||VYBE Super Stock ATX Compact Chassis|
|Black Brushed Aluminum with 140mm dorsal intake|
|Exterior Finish||Stock Black|
|Motherboard||Intel DP67BG Extreme Series|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz/3.7GHz Turbo 6MB L3 Cache GT2 (with MAINGEAR Redline)|
|CPU Cooling||MAINGEAR LiquidX 1500 Supercooler|
|Memory||8GB Patriot Division2 G2 DDR3-1600 Enhanced Latency (2x4GB)|
|Graphics||2x (EVGA) NVIDIA GeForceT GTX 560 Ti 2GB in SLI w/PhysX|
|Power Supply||660watt Seasonic X-660 80 Gold Certified Modulate Power Supply|
|Hard Drive||Bay 1: 64GB Crucial RealSSDT C300 SATA 6G (w/TRIM)
Bay 2: 1TB Samsung F3 7200rpm 32MB Cache SATA
|Optical Drive||24X Dual Layer DVD RW Drive w/ Included LightScribe Technology|
|Memory Card Reader||All-in-One 3.5” USB 2.0 Flash Card Reader & Writer|
|Audio||7.1 Channel High Definition Surround Sound|
|Network Adapter||On-board Gigabit Ethernet|
|Wireless Networking Adapter||Integrated 802.11b/g/n lan-integrated wireless|
|Bluetooth||Integrated Bluetooth Technology Module|
|Operating System||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|“The Final Finesse”||Designed, Manufactured, and Supported in the USA – Flawless Craftsmanship and Wire Management|
|Angelic Service Warranty||Lifetime Angelic Service Labor and Phone Support with 1 Year Hardware Warranty|
|Grand Total = $1,983.00|
Here how this is going to play out: I am going to completely break down this unit and review each thing individually, then after that is done, I will review MAINGEAR support, as well as Customer Service. So let’s get to it.
As you can see, you have this drop dead sexy black brushed aluminum finish that is insanely lightweight. These days custom PC building revolves around heavy as hell objects; everyone knows that. It is getting more and more difficult to find a PC that is light enough to go on top of your desk, or light enough to easily move around when you get the need to. For comparison purposes, my Dell Inspiron 531s weighs more than this machine, AND it is a SLIM!!!
I have always been skeptical of Intel chipsets, dating back to the Pentium days, so when I finally got the product specs I was somewhat in a daze as to why. Well when I had talked to Chris Morley (Product Manager @ MAINGEAR), I had asked him why there was no love for AMD. He gave me a simple and shocking answer: AMD is just not selling.
So back on track, I would like to explain my system a bit. My system comes with the Intel i5-2500k with REDLINE. Redline is MAINGEARs version of overclocking but without the major extremism. Since my i5 runs around 3.3GHz, the REDLINE makes it run at a cool 3.7GHz.
To keep this thing cool is a CoolIT System ECO A.L.C. liquid cooling system.
As you can clearly see in the CPUZ picture, it confirms most of what I have been saying. Intel has somewhat impressed me with this chipset / motherboard. Unfortunately PC Mark Vantage and 06 both told me it failed to benchmark my particular system.
MAINGEAR shipped out the unit with being a powerhouse in mind. This is why I currently have 2x EVGA GeForce 560 Ti’s in my desktop with SLI support; which some would think is overkill. Well to those that do think that, think again; gaming industry is growing faster and faster while using more demanding technology. So why do we not get into the real-time testing right?
About Portal 2:
Portal 2 draws from the award-winning formula of innovative gameplay, story, and music that earned the original Portal over 70 industry accolades and created a cult following.
The single-player portion of Portal 2 introduces a cast of dynamic new characters, a host of fresh puzzle elements, and a much larger set of devious test chambers. Players will explore never-before-seen areas of the Aperture Science Labs and be reunited with GLaDOS, the occasionally murderous computer companion who guided them through the original game.
The game’s two-player cooperative mode features its own entirely separate campaign with a unique story, test chambers, and two new player characters. This new mode forces players to reconsider everything they thought they knew about portals. Success will require them to not just act cooperatively, but to think cooperatively.
As you can see running Portal 2 at full resolution (1920×1080) was pretty effective, running consistently at 60fps while having background applications running at the same time. Now Portal 2 might not seem like a very demanding game, but I really do beg to differ. Portal 2 is using update (and outdated) technology for this one, and at times it does push the SLI 560 Ti’s to their almost breaking point.
About Crysis 2:
It’s 2023; terrifying alien invaders stalk the New York City streets. Only you can prevail, wielding the super soldier enhancements of the Nanosuit 2.
I had a bunch of success running Crysis 2 at 1920×1080, which usually kept consistent at around 60-65fps. This is quite the impressive foot, since only so many years ago, only NASA could run Crysis at full resolution. Again, I had NO issues running it at full resolution at any point during a 5-6hour gaming session.
About Call of Duty: Black Ops:
The biggest first-person action series of all time and the follow-up to last year’s blockbuster Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare 2 returns with Call of Duty®: Black Ops.
Call of Duty®: Black Ops will take you behind enemy lines as a member of an elite special forces unit engaging in covert warfare, classified operations, and explosive conflicts across the globe. With access to exclusive weaponry and equipment, your actions will tip the balance during the most dangerous time period mankind has ever known.
Call of Duty: Black Ops was run again at full resolution, and at perfect frame-rate of 60fps the entire way through, except for a moment of 59 which was right before an explosion.
About Section 8 Prejudice:
On the battlefield, prejudice takes many forms, knows no boundaries, and drives all conflict. In the distant future, humanity will call on its most fearless defenders to confront an emerging threat determined to eradicate all human life as we know it. Section 8®: Prejudice™ is a sci-fi first-person shooter with dynamic combat, where every decision – from customizing equipment to activating team based objectives – drastically impacts the battlefield.
Section 8 Prejudice was perfectly ran at full resolution at a HUGE 209fps!! Granted, it is not as detailed as some other games, but the one thing that makes this game good for benchmarking is it utilizes Unreal Engine and has a ton of stuff going on all the time.
While utilizing every up-to-date game I have, I thought maybe I should do a round of 3DMark Vantage. So my results gave my system a score of P30410 3D marks. However keep in mind that my current video drivers are NOT YET approved by Futuremark. So if you want to view my results head on over to: http://3dmark.com/3dmv/3141614
MAINGEAR really hooked me up with something special, and something I have a bunch of: Patriot Division2 DDR3-1600 memory.
As you can see, a total of 8GB worth of memory, that clocks at CL9. Pretty good memory, but honestly if you have the budget, go bigger. The more Division2 you can fit, the better; specially for Windows 7 64-bit.
Now the above picture may not be very good, but you know what? I did not have the patience to take everything out (with liquid cooling) to take a decent enough picture. All you need to know is that there is an awesome skull on it.
The Intel DP67BG is one of your more than standard P67 Sandy Bridge motherboard. I suggest if you happen to want this board, to go all out on memory with the full 16Gb.
|Processor||Intel Core i5 and i7 (LGA1155 socket)|
|Audio||Intel High Definition Audio system in the following configuration:
|LAN Support||Gigabit LAN subsystem using the Intel 82579V Ethernet Controller|
I will be honest, I did call MAINGEAR a few times to test the waters on their customer service and support staff. I did this for the reasons of I wanted to rate their performance without knowing I am a journalist.
I had so much fun talking to various Customer Service reps; they were very friendly after-all. My previous customer service experiences where pretty bad with other companies, so MAINGEAR actually gave me some hope as far that goes.
My reason for calling was I had an issue with my order, but little did they know I did not have one. We spent roughly around 30 minutes on the phone talking about football, video games and PC building while they attempted to find what it is they were looking for. When they finally decided it was not there, I told them what I was doing. Of course normally that does not get good reception because I “wasted” their time, but this person was good about it.
Customer Service Experience was 5 out of 5.
Probably the most knowledgeable people in the business it seems. They had an answer for every little question (no matter how stupid it was) and answered it with a very friendly attitude. Again I kept thanking this person for his awesome people skills, and allowing me to find out the complete logistics of my particular system. The second time I called however was an even friendlier person. I called for a real reason this time, which my Multi-media card was not functioning. Of course they walked me through the entire process (even though I fixed it), and really was encouraging when I told them I was having trouble. As a custom PC builder, the support team is the people I fear the most, but again MAINGEAR has it covered to the letter.
Support Experience 5 out of 5.
So overall, if you want a sweet and sexy system, that will take the demands of modern day (and future) gaming, I suggest looking no further than MAINGEAR. Trust me when I say that you will NOT find a more humble and encouraging group of people in this lifetime.