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(something promised on the website), and though we appreciate the color photos some of the information looked out of date and could use revision (i.e. hardware MPEG2 decoders?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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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