Maingear takes a few pages from the Old Guard when it comes to systems integration. Read on to find out why we are very impressed with Maingear and their mid-range gaming computer offering.
We invite you to take a moment to read our editorial on how the [H] Consumer Systems Evaluation program works.
In our opinion, the best way to evaluate a PC is to go through the entire customer experience ourselves. We intend to evaluate not only the hardware but also the entire purchasing process from start to finish. We also evaluate the technical knowledge and the support of the vendor. And the only way to do this is to purchase a system, just like any other customer would.
We don’t get hand picked, extensively tweaked systems that are not for consumer consumption. Instead, we take a sample from a company’s everyday production queue and look at everything from a consumer-eye view.
We’ve previously used the evaluation program to review computers from Gateway, Velocity Micro, ABS, PC Club, Falcon Northwest, and Dell. This is our first computer from Maingear.
We ordered the Maingear Prelude, the lowest end of the Maingear offerings, an SLI ready system with Socket 939. Our base configuration cost us $1478.09 plus $99 S/H at the time we bought it in late October, although there have been some configuration changes by Maingear since then. Currently you can get this configuration from Maingear with a much faster 6800 GS 256MB video card for about $100 less.
If you wish, you can also have the computer chassis painted with automotive paint for $299, so if your computer absolutely must be red, Maingear can serve your needs.
We decided to get a mid-range Athlon 64 3500+ CPU and a NVIDIA 6600 GT 128MB graphics card for both a good gaming and multimedia experience. We were drawn to Maingear’s selection and use of quality components, as well as their claim that every PC that leaves Maingear’s doors are “tested, benchmarked, and burned in.” And we were interested in seeing if we could get premium-quality components and service in a mid-range price.
AMD Athlon 64 3500+
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI Motherboard*
1GB Dual-Channel Mushkin Extreme Performance PC 3200 memory
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT PCI-E x16 128MB
Integrated Sound Blaster Live 7.1 channel 24-bit Audio
120 GB Western Digital Caviar SE 7200 RPM w/ 8MB cache
16x Plextor PX-740A 16x DVD+/-RW****
7-in-1 Flash Card Reader/Floppy Combo
Lian Li PC6070 Plus Silver Aluminum Chassis
1 80mm CPU fan, 2 80mm chassis fan in front, 1 rear 80mm intake fan with duct. 1 blower over expansion slots.
USB 2.0: 2 Front, 4 rear; FireWire: 1 rear
1 x RJ-45, 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet nForce 4 SLI, 1 x RJ-45 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet by Marvell**
SinTek 600SLI 600W w/ 1 80mm and 1 120mm adjustable fans
Windows XP Home SP2
1 year Maingear Warranty, Lifetime phone support
$1478.09 + $99 s/h***
* We ordered an MSI K8N Neo4/SLI NVIDIA nForce4. Maingear upgraded us at no charge to the Platinum version when they had a shortage of the regular type of motherboard
** The second RJ-45 jack is only available with the Platinum version of the MSI K8N Neo4/SLI motherboard.
*** There have been some configuration and price changes in Maingear’s offerings since this computer was ordered.
****Editor's Note: Originally we printed that this system came with an additional 8X DVD burner. In fact that was a error and it only came with the Plextor burner.