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:


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


  • Lack of choices on input devices and speakers
  • Estimating shipping requires creation of a full account
Index Specifications


View All Comments

  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    No, ludicrously bad programming would be Hellgate: London. CivIV or 3 DO NOT take ridiculously long on even a moderate PC. A couple of minutes towards end of the game with hundreds of cities spread across 8-11 AI players is reasonable. Reply
  • headbox - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Seriously? A $4,000+ computer booting out of the box is practically "unheard of?"

    The packaging looks terrible. It's like they crammed some stuff into the box a bare case came in. Ever unpack an Apple computer?

    PCs haven't changed for years- metal box, cables everywhere, and the best anyone can do is make the cables a little more tidy than the next guy? You'd think engineers (other than Apple) could come up with a better system to mount a board and PSU into a reliable, stylish and sturdy case by now.
  • Penti - Monday, November 17, 2008 - link

    This seriously isn't designed by engineers.

    It's just stuff independent system-builders put together with retail parts.

    They aren't engineers designing and ordering their custom stuff from OEMs/ODMs/EMSs. They don't try to be and they couldn't. They are into assembling stuff. Buy a Dell if you'd would want something like that. Otherwise just build it yourself as you can buy the same exact parts in shops. That's why they are all cluttered and stuff.
  • D3SI - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Apple employs engineers? haha good one.
  • Jedi2155 - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    I have to say that Apple probably employs some very damn good engineers. Misguided ones...but damn good ones. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    Not sure if misguided is the word, they just don't mind the functional aspects of the design taking a back seat to the aesthetic aspects. Maybe Apple parties like Max Mosley. Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    At work we buy dozens of generic cheapo Dell desktops and I've never had one of those that did not work out of the box. If I were paying this kind of premium for a system, I would certainly be upset if it couldn't do the same. Another thought is that one could buy the components and build it themselves for a lot less money. So I would assume that the person who would be buying this system would be someone who does not want to (or does not know how to) mess with it - and is willing to pay for that. That sort of person is probably going to RMA the system if it doesn't boot out of the box. Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    These systems have large, often dual-slot video cards, extremely heavy copper air coolers or water cooling setups, etc. that make them much trickier to ship than a traditional desktop. Usually it's as simple as reseating the video card or plugging in a S-ATA hard drive. That area does bug me, the S-ATA retention system should really be better. Reply
  • headbox - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    Most people don't know how to reseat a video card or plug in a SATA drive.

    What if you bought a car that didn't work? It could be as simple as connecting the starter. Do you know how to do that?
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    First of all, this computer isn't $4,000, it was $2130 + Shipping. If it were an Apple, yes it would be $4,000, but fortunately it isn't so we save ~$1,800. Oh wait.. you can't buy a desktop from Apple unless it is the Mac Pro, so you have to get a dual socket Xeon with FB Dimms. To make things worse, you horrible choices for graphics: 4x 2600XT Crossfire (wow that might be as fast as a single 2900XT in optimal conditions), 8800GT (is Apple clearing out old Nvidia/ATI stock or what?) or Quadro FX 5600 ($2,700 upgrade from the 8800GT). To top it off, the case is fugly. What is with the handles?

    As for the unpacking process. The computer tower clearly came in the Styrofoam packaging beneath the tray additional parts (extra PSU cables, display adaptors, ect), instruction manuals, recovery CDs, ect. The only difference between the box used here and the box a Mac comes with is that a team of people at Apple wasted their time designing the box to look good. Only a person who buys a Mac gives a crap about fancy Styrofoam and pretty cardboard. The packing was perfectly functional (as the author mentioned in the article, did you read it?).

    PCs haven't changed for years... that's true as they still use the same parts more or less. I think another interesting observation would be that Macs haven't stopped copying the PC design and branding it as something else for years! I'm really not sure what you are looking for here. How else to you package computer components together? You could use a large case that is optimized for cooling and noise suppression or you can try to cram the components together and optimize for portability. Hmmm maybe you could stick a monitor on that portable computer... ya, that's a great idea... I'd call it a laptop! Get it... because it fits on your lap!

    Finally, do you really think engineers are responsible for the look of Apple's computers or most cosmetic designs for that matter? Usually it is an industrial design artist who's job is to make products look pretty. Unless ergonomics are a factor, an engineer wouldn't even come close to the drawing board. Where the engineer comes into the pictures is to fight with the industrial design artist when they try to hinder the functionality of the original design.

    Anyway, the point was that there is nothing wrong with this computer, it is actually not a horrible deal. If I were 20 years older and had a lot more money than time, this is something I would seriously consider. $600-700 isn't bad for the time you save and the quality of the build.

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