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Maingear Vybe Desktop Review

Price Analysis & Conclusion

The Maingear Vybe offers top-tier 4K gaming performance with an Intel Core i7-7700K on a Z270 motherboard overclocked to 5.0 GHz with a 240mm liquid CPU cooler and two Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards in SLI. It also sports moderate productivity chops with its 512GB Samsung 960 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD and a speedy 16GB (2 x 8GB) kit of Kingston HyperX DDR4-2666. Coupled with a flashy remote-controlled RGB LED light strip, red individually braided power cables, and Maingear’s aesthetic case modifications, the Vybe houses a component set any gaming or PC enthusiast would be lucky to own.

Its primary competitor among the units we've tested is the Digital Storm Velox, which comes in at a significantly higher price than this configuration of the Maingear Vybe. Although the Velox narrowly bests the Vybe in the majority of our benchmark suite with its higher GPU core clockrate, the performance difference is nearly negligible, and the price-to-performance ratio winner in this showdown is easily Maingear.

When it comes to custom shop PCs, raw performance only tells half of the story. The Vybe offers plenty of aesthetic bonuses, many of which are also offered in the Velox (RGB LED lights, colored cables, modified cases). However, it lacks RGB LED fans and a custom paint job (which the Velox has), and Maingear’s automotive paint service starts at an additional $499. However, adding the paint would still put the Vybe’s price tag slightly lower than the Velox, which currently sits around $4,737 as it was configured for our review. Maingear stakes its reputation on its custom paint process (we know, we’ve seen it in action), but the premium cost can be a turn-off for performance and price-oriented shoppers, and this configuration of the Vybe (sans paint) would likely appeal to those consumers—although the price tag is still in the premium range.

The Vybe also lacks an internal optical drive (which we’re totally okay with, and it comes with an external DVD-RW drive) and has less memory and storage capacity compared to the Velox, which sports a slim DVD-RW drive, double the RAM (32GB DDR4-3000), and 1TB more HDD space. This also makes it harder to determine a true value winner between the two competing systems, as increased storage and memory capacities will only appeal to those who need it for specific workloads, and it certainly impacts final pricing. Without an identical sample from each shop, it's premature to declare a winner; we've got a few more systems on the test bench before we begin making some definitive recommendations.

Still, the Vybe provides a level of performance and quality that PC enthusiasts aim for in their own DIY systems, and Maingear sent us a beastly system any gamer would be proud to own. If you take away all the pricey hardware and extras, you’re still left with a custom-built and overclocked gaming PC with a sleek look, a lifetime warranty (with a free three-year comprehensive warranty as part of the back to school sale), and expert craftsmanship starting at $699, and for that, the Maingear Vybe is Tom’s Hardware Approved.

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Derek Forrest
Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • nitrium
    Not wanting to be cynical, but this looks like a thinly veiled advertisement for Maingear. I do understand that Tom's needs to get money from somewhere to continue to do the generally excellent work you do, but it is what it is.
  • Gam3r01
    20236838 said:
    Not wanting to be cynical, but this looks like a thinly veiled advertisement for Maingear. I do understand that Tom's needs to get money from somewhere to continue to do the generally excellent work you do, but it is what it is.

    If someone sends in something for free for review I dont see an issue in doing so. If some other company wants theirs reviewed then send in a unit.

    On a side note, would it kill these boutique builders to put in some cable combs for their custom cables?
  • redgarl
    Gimme your money... basically what the company cry out loud. This is overpriced by almost 75% of the retail price of the components.
  • redgarl
    I thought there was no good or bad components, only bad price... obviously they didn't put that perspective in their OBJECTIVE review...
  • Karadjgne
    You get what you pay for. In this, the price point is about right. Straight up retail prices are one thing, a fully furnished, oc'd pc with all the little details like led, really nice wiring job, plug n play extreme gamer is another. Considering the amount of cpus you gave to have on hand to get a stable 5.0GHz OC on a 7700k and not get smacked with a high voltage lemon, somebody had to take the time to actually OC that beast and run all the stability/longetivity testing, swap out dud cpus, wire it patiently, etc etc etc, sure there are some builders who can do all that themselves, but it's a guaranteed fact that the majority of ppl asking questions here cannot.
    I personally could build and furbish that pc much cheaper, just retail pricing, but if I put that kind of work into a $2000 pc, I'd be charging roughly the same, that's not a 30 minute slapper together pc.

    This would make a perfect Graduation present from parents vrs buying all the parts separately and praying their kid doesn't blow up the pc or buy parts that make no sense.
  • cknobman
    Looks like an awesome machine.

    Personally I'd choose a single 1080TI custom board that overclocks to 2+ghz over the 1080SLI.
    Less money, more reliable performance.
  • hendrickhere
    Honestly, I have a single 1080Ti and an overclocked FX8370 (yes, I know I get bottlenecks) and I get about the same gaming performance @4k. So a build that is 3+ years old with (essentially) the best graphics card at the current moment can complete with a $3,800 rig (no matter how beautiful it is).
  • g-unit1111
    $3800 for Founder's Edition cards? No thanks! I can build my own for $2500 and get MSI or Asus cards and save the other $1300.
  • Karadjgne
    Right. You can build. I can build. Gam3r01 can build. And have it look, perform similar if not the same or with some different choices in cards, better. But we do this for real, pro and amateur, hobbyist etc. Average Joe off the street doesn't know he's took when the salesperson says "this here FX is 8 cores at 3.5GHz, that crappy Intel is just 4 cores at 3.5GHz, save a few $ and get the amd cuz it's better! ". So buying retail to save $ isn't always the smart investment for everyone.
    You can buy everything you need to build a Mustang for less than $30k, but you'll find me at a dealership paying $40k cuz I'm not even close to being proficient enough a mechanic to build one myself.
  • mlee 2500
    About four years ago I bought a Maingear PC, partly to see what if anything I was missing by not using a Boutique Builder.

    Over the past 30 years I've built hundreds of PC's and servers, both professionally and for myself, and I have to say the Maingear was not only among the best PC's I've ever had, but also worth every penny I paid to have someone else do it.

    To the inevitable cacophony of folks pointing out how "they could build it cheaper" I will point out why that is: It is because YOU'RE CHEAP. It's because your time isn't worth anything to anyone, not even yourself.

    I'll still occasionally build my own machine because I love doing it. But I'll never second guess the value of someone else expertly doing it for me.