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(something promised on the website), and though we appreciate the color photos some of the information looked out of date and could use revision (i.e. hardware MPEG2 decoders?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

  • CEO Ballmer - Wednesday, November 12, 2008 - link

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

  • 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.
  • 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 . . .
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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