Maingear Force Intel 8-Core Extreme Gaming Computer Review
Maingear is a PC manufacturer based out of New Jersey. Their CEO Wallace Santos is a visionary and all around good guy. He believes in what I like to call “System Purity”. System Purity is the idea that computers are designed for speed and purpose. When you buy one you don’t want to wait for 20 minutes while it boots up and loads every plugin, demo program, and garbage app you didn’t want, need or even know about. Bloatware and “value-adds” are all the rage and if you ever got a new PC from some of the big named companies you know exactly what I’m talking about. It has gotten out of hand. These manufacturers do this because they get a lot of money to put those advertisements in front of you. It’s like going to the Tattoo shop and asking for a dragon on your back. When you are done and look in the mirror, there is a dragon holding a can of coke, wearing Tommy Hilfiger Jeans and Rayban Sun Glasses. It’s bullcrap. Thank goodness for Wallace Santos.
Each PC that rolls out of Maingear’s base camp is hand-crafted and custom built by the elves that care. More importantly those elves know what they are talking about. The service is extraordinary. You get a little folder with each PC that has information about the machine, along with the name of the person that built it. When you call support more often than not you can talk to the actual person that put your PC together. They have a vested interest in making things right because they take person responsibility for knowing what is going on with your system. Maingear Support folks know their stuff. I’ll say it again. Maingear support folks know their stuff. The Maingear support is quick to identify problems, they will quickly replace parts that act up and the process is easy/painless.
On a completely unrelated side note if you ever want to avoid problems just don’t get an ATI Card. Yah I said it. Let the emails flood in. ATI Cards really blow and I’ve never had a system that had one in it that didn’t have problems. This is consistent across the board for the last 10+ years. In fact the last good ATI card I had was an ATI All-in-Wonder card back in the day. The cards have gobs of promise but their drivers are like those pills that are on pharmaceutical commercials. You know the ones that cure indigestion but then have side effects that include, nausea, headache, fatigue, rash, and in rare cases death… Just get an NVIDIA card and do yourself a favor. Trust me.
May the Force be with you
Errr… sorry had to do it. Getting on to the actual topic at hand the Maingear Force Gaming Computer… Let’s start with some specs (and they vary depending on what you order)
- Intel® Core™ i7 5960X 8-core 3.0GHz/3.5GHz Turbo 20MB L3 Cache w/ HyperThreading
- ASUS Rampage V Extreme X99: USB 2.0: 7 USB 3.0: 4 FireWire: 0 eSATA: 2 Audio: 7.1 Analog, S/PDIF Out
Networking: (1) 10/100/1000 Ethernet, Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
Expansion Slots: (4) PCI-E x16, (1) PCI-E x1, (1) PCI Multi-GPU: Triple CrossFire and SLI Ready
Extreme Engine Digi+ For Excellent Overclocking
- Custom Exterior Automobile Finish (they have 9 colors and you can get custom colors too, it’s pricey $399-499 depending). We opted for Brushed Black Aluminum for the ZERO dollar add so we could put another video card in this thing.
- You can do lighting on the Chassis – I’m not a big fan of that stuff. It was ultra cool when I was 20… but that was 24 years ago. Bleeding edge back then… played out now. K thanx bye.
- Processor Cooler: EK Supremacy – Nickel
- EK 420 (3x140mm) + EK 480 (4x120mm) copper core with high airflow fans
- BiTurbo Dual Laing D5 Vario Pumps
- 400mL Bitspower Oversized Reservoir
- Primochill Advance LRT Flexible PVC Tubing
- EKoolant in various colors (including custom ones) we went with RED.
- 64GB of Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum DDR4-2666 RAM. (*That’s right DDR4)
- TWO NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti w/12GB Total in SLI with G-Sync
- Overclocking service up to 5.0GHz (We didn’t go that route but for $49 you can)
- 2x 1200 Watt Corsair Professional Digital Series AX1200i 80+ Platinum Certified Modular Power Supplies ROHS
- Corsair Black Power Supply Sleeving (Wow does that make a difference in look)
- 1.2TB Intel® 750 Series 2.5″ PCI-Express 3.0 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)[2,400MB/s Sequential Reads]
We went with the Razer Blackwidow Ultimate Gaming Elite Mechanical Keyboard (From New Egg) and a Razer DeathAdder Chroma mouse. (*I do like my mice and keyboard to light up lol, don’t ask me why). For speakers we went with Some Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1’s. Don’t bother to try and buy them. If you don’t have them you can’t get em they are discontinued and hard to find even on eBay. They are absolutely stellar.
So let’s start with the processor shall we? The new Intel Core i7 5960X 8-Core is a BANGER. It is the first processor that officially supports the new DDR4-2133+ memory. You are looking at a 30-35% (realistic, but up to 45%) increase in performance. Worth it? Hell yes. Smoother games, faster performance, more power.. (reminds me of that scene in Donny Brasco when Al Pacino’s character Lefty is talking about Cadillac’s vs. Lincoln’s and he says More Power like 5 times). “Fahget about it.” *Note in order to get the 8-core option you have to go into the Force Custom Config and select it (the button says Customize Yours Now). They don’t advertise it on their site in the range they show for whatever reason.
The ASUS Rampage V Extreme X99 motherboard is one of the best motherboards on the market for this type of machine. Love it. The rest of the stuff is pretty standard flyboy gaming gear. Things to note are the 16GB of DDR4-2666 ram (blazing fast), the 980 Ti SLI Config (nominal performance increase most of the time but that extra performance really comes in handy when you are in 3840×2160 (4k) we see a 40% increase in performance and that is why we do it).
The DDR4 RAM is so Choice… and 2666!!! Can you say Screaming fast? Reminds me of that eminem song “Ass like that”. #justsayin’
If you aren’t rocking a 4k monitor on your games, you’ll be fine with a single config unless you are doing multi-monitor 1080p stuff in which case you might want to rethink the SLI configuration. You can go up to 4 cards with the Maingear Force.
The innards… artistry is the only way to describe it. With the Power Supply Sleeving, Beautiful Compression Fittings on the liquid cooled tubing configuration, the color profiles… it’s beautiful. Maingear system builders are true artisans.
Maingear Force Intel 8-Core Extreme Gaming Computer Review – Conclusion
I give the Maingear Force system 4 1/2 stars out of 5. It’s an excellent machine, backed by an excellent support group. The CEO is quality people, I’ve had quite a long phone conversation with him and he is the real deal. You can trust this company to be around, and know that when you drop 10k or more on a super gaming system that you are going to be taken care of with concierge level service. Every time I called Maingear support I felt like a rock star. It is these boutique computer builders that really have their shit together that make things worth while. The only thing that could go wrong with Maingear is if Wallace Santos sold the company to a big manufacturer. (Think Alienware and Dell) Alienware used to be pretty decent (although I never met an Alienware desktop that didn’t freeze intermittently, and I’ve met about a dozen). Now they are just wearing high-end gaming costumes. They remind me of your parents at the 7th grade prom trying to be cool by dressing like kids. The video at the top of the article sums up every feeling I have about the Maingear Force in 20 seconds. Watch it.