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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  • gorbag - Thursday, November 13, 2008 - link

    I'm not sure why this is a mac v. everyone else debate (again), but I could not let the following pass:

    "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."

    I don't consider myself an engineeer (I'm in R&D), but I do work with quite a few of them. Really, a whole lot (100s), and of all kinds: electrical, systems, software, etc. And I would have to say that in a consumer products company, if there is a requirement for "customer experience" that includes, e.g., the internal board layout, disk connection scheme, etc. that I've seen in Macs, then you better believe there were engineers who made it their job to create that experience. Engineering is about balancing trade-offs. I'm not quite sure what you think it's about, but I would suspect you have little professional experience in that area or you would not be making comments such as this one.

    I have more respect, not less, for the folks who can not only create a functional but also an aesthetically pleasing design. I'd rather have my office in the Sistine Chapel than in some steel and glass monstrosity out of the 70s, even though both would serve the same primary functional purpose. There are a lot of non-functional requirements (in software, the -ilities) that professional engineers must take into account when creating a system.
    Reply
  • mindless1 - Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - link

    Nice snowjob. Not true, but an admirable effort nonetheless. Reply
  • headbox - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    There is more than one computer being compared, and if the main computer in the article was upgraded to Mac Pro specs... oh wait... it couldn't because a Mac Pro is an 8-core system... it would still come in a flimsy box, likely not booting.

    And stop pretending SPEED is the only thing that matters with a computer. Reliability? Operating system? Tech support? If you know how to build a computer, then you'd build one and save the money and be your own tech support. If you don't know how, you buy a gaming system, and you're screwed when it arrives and won't boot.

    If speed were the only thing people cared about, the entire USA would be riding around on 1,000cc sportbikes. You can buy a 600cc sportbike faster than any car for $2,500- yet you only see a handful of these on the streets. They also get 50 mpg and insurance is about $15/mo. Speed isn't everything. Just like in computers.
    Reply
  • 3DoubleD - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

    The computer being compared is the one in the article.. I'm not sure what other one you are looking at? You are right though, you can't compare a Mac Pro to this computer as the computer in the article would be ridiculously faster for the intended use (general use and video games). Who needs 8 cores? I have a feeling that if you are using a Mac you might have trouble using software that uses 8 cores (except for the 100 people in the world who actual edit video and use a Mac). Not to mention that Apple wanted to give their customers the best performance, they probably should have gone with two AMD Opterons instead, as I think they are still king in the multi-socket arena. To summarize, the computer in this article is a far better application of technology to meet the end user's needs than the Mac Pro, which offers abysmal value to the customer outside of its small niche market (professional video editing).

    Why does speed matter... because this is an OVERCLOCKED computer. If speed didn't matter, then the customer wouldn't be looking at this computer! That was brilliant. Again, did you read the article?

    This computer is very reliable. You get a 1 year warranty with an option to extend it to 3 years, similar to most computer and Mac manufacturers. Tech support roles in with this one.

    As for OS, again, since this is mostly targeted towards users who will use this computer for both general use and gaming. Consequently, there is only one good choice, Windows!

    Again, you just sound like a fanatic Steve Jobs follower. Macs have their place in the world. They are great for Grandma who likes to type emails and check the weather. For people who have more serious things to do, more serious equipment is usually needed.
    Reply
  • kboom1 - Sunday, December 26, 2010 - link

    I thought Maingear's systems were one of the better boutique builders not only from reviews of benchmarks but because of their warranty (angelic service). in feb 2010 I finally took the leap and bought a F131 system and maxed out some of my hardware,It wasn't hard to spend 5g on my system. with in 9 mos. so far I had to have my MB,,RAM,Optical drive,and GPU replaced which I had no probs with the warranty as of yet.One thing that does concern me about MG,upon replacing my GPU I noticed the ssd I paid for and was on my invoice was not the one installed.I paid extra to have this spesific ssd installed.The one installed was a lower model That had problems with the controller and trim, this issue has yet to be resolved. so to sum it up although warranty service has been top notch make sure you check all your hardware when you get your rig. Reply

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