The specifications below are for the system as tested. We requested that Maingear "redline" our components so we could evaluate that aspect, but the GPU arrived at stock speed.

Maingear F131 Specifications
Processor Intel Core2 Duo E8400 @ 4.00 GHz
Motherboard XFX nForce 780i 3-way SLI
Memory 2x1GB Kingston DDR2-800
Video Card XFX NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260
Power Supply Silverstone 750W
Case Silverstone Temjin TJ10
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar 500GB
OS Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
DVD Burner Lite-on DVDRW
CPU Cooler Maingear 120mm x 2 Water cooling

The system arrived in a pleasant white box with the Maingear logo and other custom styling on it.

The "your" vs. "you're" grammar disaster



The box is sized right and wasn't too bad to transport, though handles would be appreciated. The case packing is very nice, with tight foam inserts that cushion the case.

This was my first experience with the Silverstone case, and it's an impressive one. It's very well constructed, has a nice magnetic closure on the front door, and the drive bay arrangement is a great way of isolating heat from the system (though it does increase noise slightly). The Maingear logo is nicely understated, though a laser etched or raised logo might be nice at this price.

Maingear also includes a user manual with their system. It contains some basic instructions, warranty information, and driver and recovery disks. It's a nice addition; however, we were disappointed we didn't receive a page of baseline benchmarks (something promised on the website), and though we appreciate the color photos some of the information looked out of date and could use revision (i.e. hardware MPEG2 decoders? That must be a couple of years old at least). The recovery disc is a welcome addition, and the hard drive also contains a recovery partition.


Maingear's water cooling option

The water cooler in the F131 is a self-enclosed solution, at a $300 price premium over the stock Intel cooler and utilizing two 120mm fans. It appears to be identical to the Swiftech H20-220.

Ordering Impressions Setup and Startup


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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