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The Maingear Drift Is A Steam Machine For 4K

Steam machines have been rolling out steadily this quarter, with mainstream vendors such as Zotac and Alienware offering set-top box-sized gaming consoles powered by mid-to-high-grade Intel Haswell-based processors and middle-of-the-road Nvidia graphics solutions. These small form factor machines are mostly designed to offer optimal gaming performance at 1080p, with a few teasing 4K capabilities. But what if you want your personal Steam OS-powered rig to dominate at 3840x2160? For those framerate-craving, next-level enthusiasts, there's Maingear's Drift.

Maingear announced the availability of a Steam machine that on paper is as impressive as its "regular" PC counterparts. The Drift can be customized with overclocked Intel Haswell-E (X99) or Skylake (Z170) processors, up to 16 GB of Kingston DDR4 memory, and up to Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti or Titan X GPUs. Here's a table of the primary customization options for the Drift:

Intel ChipsetProcessor OptionsMotherboard OptionsNvidia GeForce Graphics OptionsAMD Radeon Graphics OptionsStorage OptionsPower Supply Options
Z170 (Skylake)-Core i5-6500-Core i5-6600K-Core i7-6700-Core i7-6700K-Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI-ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Impact-GTX 750 1 GB-GTX 750Ti 2 GB-GTX 950 2 GB-GTX 960 2 GB-GTX 970 4 GB-GTX 980 4 GB-GTX 980Ti 6 GB-Titan X 12 GB-R7 360X 2 GB               -R7 370 2 GB               -R9 380 2 GB               -R9 390 8 GB               -R9 390X 8 GB -R9 Nano 4 GB HBM              -R9 Fury 4 GB HBM-Up to 6 TB HDD-Up to 2 TB SSD-Up to 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD400 GB -Intel 750 Series PCIe SSD-450W Silverstone ST45SF -500W Silverstone SX500-LG-600W Silverstone SX600-G (X99 Only)
X99 (Haswell-E)-Core i7-5820K-Core i7-5930K-Core i7-5960X-ASRock X99E-ITX

The Drift can be configured with 8 GB (2 x 4 GB) of DDR4-2666 or 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2666 RAM, and it sports two 2.5-inch drive bays and one 3.5-inch bay for larger HDDs. In addition, it can house an optical drive (Blu-ray or DVD burner), a 120 mm closed-loop water cooler and an Intel 750-series PCIe NVMe SSD. Somehow, this all fits into a 14.8 x 13.8 x 4.2-inch custom-painted chassis.

If 4K gaming is the goal, few Steam machines are offering performance at this level. The Drift doesn't just dabble with next-generation resolutions, it's giving you the weapons to dominate them. It can be configured with the Steam OS in addition to Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Home and Pro (all 64-bit editions). It can even be setup for dual-boot.

Maingear's Drift is available now, with Z170 models starting at $1,199 and X99 configurations starting at $2,399. Both Steam machines come with a Steam controller. If you want to take the Drift on the road, Maingear also offers a custom body-shell travel case for an additional $249.

Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. PC gaming, graphics hardware and VR devices are among his favorite topics to cover. He is a lifelong PC enthusiast, former IT administrator and a custom PC builder with a penchant for creating music, voice acting and all things geek.

Follow Derek Forrest on Twitter. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

  • cknobman
    I went to the site and configured a system.

    They look nice but freaking graphics card upgrades are too high plus they only go up to a 500w power supply.

    Lowest spec i5, 500w power supply, 390x, 256 Samsung SSD, and 2 TB Seagate HDD, base motherboard, 8GB ram, no other upgrades or add ons.

    System cost was over $1800. Too much markup for me.
    Reply
  • stoned_ritual
    16925204 said:
    I went to the site and configured a system.

    They look nice but freaking graphics card upgrades are too high plus they only go up to a 500w power supply.

    Lowest spec i5, 500w power supply, 390x, 256 Samsung SSD, and 2 TB Seagate HDD, base motherboard, 8GB ram, no other upgrades or add ons.

    System cost was over $1800. Too much markup for me.


    I just built a similar system on pcpartspicker and it came to $1655. I didn't use the same exact components as they didn't have the silverstone case, so I saved $50 on that. I also went with a cheap cpu cooler. So the "markup" isn't much to write home about. These companies make money by buying OEM parts at wholesale in bulk, they don't have to pay retail price, and most of the time will get surplus inventory (even cheaper cause warehouse needs to get rid of it). I see these claims a whole lot, of how it's cheaper to build one yourself. Unless you've got access to a wholesale supply chain, it isn't. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2wxFjX

    Reply
  • pitch4d
    I just built a similar system on pcpartspicker and it came to $1655. I didn't use the same exact components as they didn't have the silverstone case, so I saved $50 on that. I also went with a cheap cpu cooler. So the "markup" isn't much to write home about. These companies make money by buying OEM parts at wholesale in bulk, they don't have to pay retail price, and most of the time will get surplus inventory (even cheaper cause warehouse needs to get rid of it). I see these claims a whole lot, of how it's cheaper to build one yourself. Unless you've got access to a wholesale supply chain, it isn't. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2wxFjX

    You have a 980ti in your list, alot more expensive than a 390x. Not sure where you were going with this.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    16925204 said:
    I went to the site and configured a system.

    They look nice but freaking graphics card upgrades are too high plus they only go up to a 500w power supply.

    Lowest spec i5, 500w power supply, 390x, 256 Samsung SSD, and 2 TB Seagate HDD, base motherboard, 8GB ram, no other upgrades or add ons.

    System cost was over $1800. Too much markup for me.


    I just built a similar system on pcpartspicker and it came to $1655. I didn't use the same exact components as they didn't have the silverstone case, so I saved $50 on that. I also went with a cheap cpu cooler. So the "markup" isn't much to write home about. These companies make money by buying OEM parts at wholesale in bulk, they don't have to pay retail price, and most of the time will get surplus inventory (even cheaper cause warehouse needs to get rid of it). I see these claims a whole lot, of how it's cheaper to build one yourself. Unless you've got access to a wholesale supply chain, it isn't. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2wxFjX

    Disagree with you. I just built a system from parts at newegg for $1312 ($1265 after MIR) that is specd the exact same as a $1860 build from this place.

    In fact it was:
    AsRock M8 Mini ITX Gaming PC
    Seagate 2TB HDD
    Core i5-4460
    16GB GSkill RipJaw DDR3
    256GB Samsung 850 SSD
    MSI R9 390x

    That puts markup at ~$600 which is a lot.
    Reply
  • pitch4d
    @cknobman, I think he just put in the wrong graphics card as you can see from my post.
    Reply
  • stoned_ritual
    16926445 said:
    I just built a similar system on pcpartspicker and it came to $1655. I didn't use the same exact components as they didn't have the silverstone case, so I saved $50 on that. I also went with a cheap cpu cooler. So the "markup" isn't much to write home about. These companies make money by buying OEM parts at wholesale in bulk, they don't have to pay retail price, and most of the time will get surplus inventory (even cheaper cause warehouse needs to get rid of it). I see these claims a whole lot, of how it's cheaper to build one yourself. Unless you've got access to a wholesale supply chain, it isn't. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2wxFjX

    You have a 980ti in your list, alot more expensive than a 390x. Not sure where you were going with this.

    I was going for the 4k requirement in the article. And that 200 dollar difference in gpu would be offset if I used the same chassis, power supply, and cpu cooler.
    Reply
  • pitch4d
    16926445 said:
    I just built a similar system on pcpartspicker and it came to $1655. I didn't use the same exact components as they didn't have the silverstone case, so I saved $50 on that. I also went with a cheap cpu cooler. So the "markup" isn't much to write home about. These companies make money by buying OEM parts at wholesale in bulk, they don't have to pay retail price, and most of the time will get surplus inventory (even cheaper cause warehouse needs to get rid of it). I see these claims a whole lot, of how it's cheaper to build one yourself. Unless you've got access to a wholesale supply chain, it isn't. http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2wxFjX

    You have a 980ti in your list, alot more expensive than a 390x. Not sure where you were going with this.

    I was going for the 4k requirement in the article. And that 200 dollar difference in gpu would be offset if I used the same chassis, power supply, and cpu cooler.

    Just built your system on Maingear that you have in PCPartpicker and it came out to be 600 dollars more expensive. $1619 vs $2221. And that is without adding Windows 7 for $55 more and you didn't add an optical drive. Which i know if negligible, but still don't see where you are going.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    Markup gets worse usually the more EXPENSIVE the system too.

    *Also, building for "4K" is problematic no matter what the system. If you have a 4K HDTV then your system is preset to 4K so you can't change in-game like you can with a PC monitor (AFAIK).

    Thus you need to tweak games to maintain 4K at 60FPS. To do that for many games you'll either need to drop the game quality settings or deal with lower frame rates.

    So spending a LOT of money on a "4K" system to have a worse experience in SOME games than at 1080p seems a bit silly, but then most people don't have enough PC building and tweaking experience to understand this.

    Put another way, I'd suggest for most people to use 1080p for an HDTV experience even if they own a 4K HDTV.
    Reply
  • photonboy
    per above...
    If not clear, I meant you can change settings to 1080p, 4K etc for an HDTV but I believe with an HDTV (via HDMI) you are locked to the DESKTOP setting for the games, so if set to 4K you'd have to change desktop to 1080p if you want the game at 1080p.

    Also not 1440p middle ground option for an HDTV (AFAIK) unless you have one with a PC input option (thus a scaler solution).
    Reply
  • db188
    "dominate 4k" on a single 980ti or Titan X? i don't think so. cut back the hyperbole Tom's or are you a marketing shill for Maingear?
    Reply