Ordering Impressions

Maingear's website comes up immediately from a web search (searching for "Maingear"); thumbs up there. Their current Reseller Rating is 9.58 for the last six months and 9.81 lifetime, which is fantastic… but it's only for a small number of reviews (28 total). As has been mentioned before, many factors must be taken into consideration besides the raw score, but often the customer feedback is useful to read through. Several of the reviews that had problems with their machines raved that Maingear went above and beyond to correct them, and had great phone support besides. Maingear's forums are referenced often by owners and those researching a Maingear purchase, and there are several involved community members as well as staffers that posted recently. They even posted pictures of a recent office renovation, two of which we snagged below - it's always interesting to see the company behind the website.




Maingear's website is clean and uncluttered. Their product offering is also straightforward: Four gaming systems (Dash, Prelude, F131, and Ephex), an HD media center (Axess), and three workstations (Endurance RT, Endurance Pro, and Dash WS).


We did notice just a few oddities with the website: The Dash comes standard with a 9-month warranty, and the F131 with a 14-month warranty, but elsewhere Maingear states that "every" system comes with a 1-year warranty minimum. "About our Paint Jobs" returned an Under Construction page, and Customer Testimonials returned an error. However, most of the website was current and easy to navigate.

The F131 starts at just under $1800. A custom paint color will add $299 to that, unless you also want flames, which will weigh in at a whopping $999. The case used is the Silverstone Temjin TJ10, large enough to accommodate just about any system configuration while remaining a one-man lift. Most of the other options are sparse but well chosen; however, we'd like to see a few more choices for speakers (there's only "None" or a 2.1 system for $400), keyboards, and mice to facilitate one-stop shopping without being locked into a single choice.

Extras include T-shirts (which came in our box) and overclocking of both the CPU and GPU, which Maingear calls "Redlining". This is available at no extra charge and truly adds value. As mentioned before, a 1-year warranty is standard, with a 3-year warranty available for an extra $200 ($380 for onsite). In this area they fall a bit behind some other companies that offer 3-year warranties standard. However, their webpage on Assembly we really like - all systems are hand-built by one assembler, who is also the support person should your system encounter problems, and every system has a 72-hour burn-in period.

Their telephone support number was very easy to find front and center on the Support page, which we appreciate. It's not 24/7 but has reasonable hours Mon-Fri. and Saturday. Estimating shipping charges requires creating a full account, which we loathe - please allow customers to see the real shipping charges up front. FedEx Home Delivery was about $50, which is reasonable for a system this size.

A brief list of Pros and Cons regarding the website layout and content is as follows:

Pros

  • Website easy to find
  • Simplistic and clean layout
  • Solid component choices
  • Prominent support information
  • "Free" overclocking, including GPU
  • Fair shipping rates

Cons

  • Lack of choices on input devices and speakers
  • Estimating shipping requires creation of a full account
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  • CEO Ballmer - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    I run two of these towers, tricked out!
    These things are the very definition of cool!

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • pervisanathema - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    In the past 3 years, I have ordered over 400 Dell PCs, about 3 dozen laptops, and about 2 dozen servers. I have yet to see a piece of equipment that failed to boot on arrival.

    Praising a manufacturer for having a PC that boots on arrival is like praising a car dealer for having a new car that starts up when you test drive it.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    See above: it's the large GPUs, HSFs, and cooling that cause problems. I remember getting a review system a couple years back that had a giant styrofoam insert inside the case, just to help protect things during shipping. It helped secure the cables and cooling devices, but it was rather over-the-top. Reply
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    I think some of the Dell XPS's did at one time, or still do ship with a Styrofoam insert. And I remember the review of that system you're talking about, or at least remember you guys talking about the insert.

    With FedEx, and UPS in different areas tossing boxes around like they're garbage, it is no wonder. I have had a 21" CRT show up at our shop with the plastic front bezel completely ripped off because of some unscrupulous FedEX person . . .
    Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    "As a third point, while the Silverstone case is elegant and functional, it lacks the glitz and glamour that some people might look for in a gaming system. The ability to choose a couple case alternatives would help. Customization options are available for most components, but they are more limited than other vendors and the price premiums are higher than average."

    Please don't encourage them. That is a GREAT looking case. I think just about everyone is sick of the tacky "Gamer" case look. The Silverstone is very minimalistic in appearance (which is a good thing) while being functional. In fact, I think I'd consider buying one, although I've never seen one for sale. Anyway, in my opinion, case manufacturers and pre-built assemblers need to move away from the tacky "gamer" case design that should have died in the earlier part of this decade. Also, they won't offer a case option because it makes the assembly process less standard and you get different quality cases (and perhaps features). I would suggest they stick with one case and design around that case as they have done here.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Words of wisdom. This bling-bling bullshit with a window and strobes is seriously getting on my nerves. Maybe its the age... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    To each his own; there are plenty of other nice cases out there that don't have tons of bling but can compete with Silverstone. Using a single case helps with assembly and parts ordering for sure, but many other companies offer Silverstone cases as well as about 15 other options. Personally, I think choice is good and that users should be able to get what they want. But then they can: if you don't want Silverstone, you can shop elsewhere. :) Reply
  • Tormeh - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    I would like to see the time it takes to calculate a turn in Civ4...

    Really, back in the days of Civ3 I remember that the time it took from ending a turn until the game responded again could be several minutes. Well, at least in the later stages of the game with the maximum number of AI players and the biggest map you could get, anyway.
    Reply
  • surt - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Which really was quite ludicrously bad programming. Even an n^3 algorithm over the number of units or map positions has no excuse for taking minutes to run on a modern processor. Reply
  • Tormeh - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    Well, "back in the days of Civ 3" means that the relevant processor was also "back in the days." :) A high-end Pentium 4, if memory serves. Reply

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