The Making of a Boutique Gaming PC (Part 4 of 6): Maingear

Q: The new X79 platform has caused quite a stir for high-end system builders. Tell us about what you've been able to achieve with this new platform.

A: We’ve been able to push the boundaries of this new chip in a way that only a boutique can. It’s big, hot, and fast as a bat out of hell. You’ve got to have the right hardware and the right expertise to extract every last bit of performance, and we think we’ve done just that. We’re able to deliver the type of performance out of a single socket that took two just a year or two ago. We’re really pumped about the performance and features we’re able to deliver to our customers. We like the per-core overclocking. With so many cores available, it’s ok if not all six get to or beyond that magical 5GHz. Sometimes you might only get 2 or 4 to those levels. But beyond that, we’ve developed the proper internal procedures to ensure that those overclocks are stable in the long term, which is playing out to be a more difficult endeavor than some first thought.

Q: Almost all of your X79 systems are built with two or more GeForce graphics cards in SLI. Why is this? How do these two technologies complement each other?

A: When you go X79, you’ve already decided to go big or go home. SLI is the same deal. Customers who value performance at all costs are going to want to run multiple graphics cards for multi-monitor gaming, many going for 3D Vision Surround for a truly immersive experience. And with games like Battlefield 3 punishing puny configurations, we find that our customers are able to enjoy the game the way it was meant to be played – balls to the wall with everything maxed. With X79 you have enough PCI-E lanes o go native triple or Quad-SLI, and that’s important for a lot of people. Furthermore, customers that spend a lot of money on their CPU and GPUs like lots of memory. With the 8 slots available on most X79 boards, our customers are finding that 32GB is easily achievable without going to very expensive high-density DIMMs.

Q: Of all your gaming PCs, which model are you most proud of? Please give us a rundown of how it's built, from the component selection, construction, to testing.

A: The MAINGEAR SHIFT has been a category leader since it was launched two years ago. The SHIFT is meticulously crafted by hand by our senior builders and technicians. Every wire is carefully routed for a balance of airflow, aesthetics, and future expandability. We use only the best components from partners like Asus, Corsair, Seasonic, etc, and we carefully integrate them into a platform that includes our own technology from MAINGEAR EPIC Research Labs.

Q: When people buy a multi-GPU PC from you, what percentage choose SLI? What are the main reasons why people go with SLI?

A: We find that a majority of our multi-GPU customers choose SLI. We think for them SLI represents a standard of quality, performance consistency, long-term reliability, and a commitment from NVIDIA to make sure that their performance in both today’s games and tomorrow’s technology will deliver a premium experience. It’s something that NVIDIA has delivered consistently on in the past, and they know that they will continue to deliver in the future. Furthermore, they know that technologies like CUDA, 3D Vision, and PhysX are all great technologies that add icing to the cake. Some of these things, taken by themselves, may not be a big deal to some people, but when you start adding them up, it makes sense.

Q: Many of our readers are avid system builders themselves. What are your top three tips for someone looking to build a high-end gaming PC?

A:

  • The order of importance in which you choose components once you decide what CPU and GPU configuration you want are as follows: 1) Power Supply 2) Chassis 3) Motherboard 4) Memory. If you get those right, the rest will fall into place.
  • Read HardOCP.com, Anandtech.com, PCPer.com, LegitReviews.com, HotHardware.com, TweakTown.com, MaximumPC etcetera for great reviews and tips on building your own.
  • In doing the above, remember that not everyone in the forums has the right answer, but you can find quality advice if you just ask, so don’t hesitate if you don’t know how to do something, you don’t want to waste time or money!

Q: Finally, there are quite a few vendors building high-end gaming PCs. What makes you special? What's your philosophy when it comes to building systems and taking care of customers?

A: Anyone can take components off the shelf and screw them into a box. Some companies confuse this with innovating. We think that’s just integrating. That’s why we primarily invest in technologies, not marketing. Starting with the SHIFT, which is an exclusively developed MAINGEAR product and not available anywhere else, we’ve focused on delivering a unique product experience to our customers. We’ve developed technologies under the EPIC brand name like the EPIC 180, the world’s largest and most efficient closed-loop cooler. We can cool dual overclocked CPUs or dual GTX 590’s in Quad SLI with this behemoth. And you can only get that from us. We’ve also partnered with APHEX to deliver recording-studio quality headphone and microphone audio enhancements for the discerning gamer with our EPIC Audio Engine, and that’s just the beginning! If you’re looking for a one of a kind custom-built high performance PC that you truly can’t buy anywhere else, you can only find it at MAINGEAR. And when it comes to taking care of our customers, it means doing what is necessary to keep them happy and keep their systems purring. It’s that simple.

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