Maingear Potenza SS: A Cool, Quiet, SFF Gaming PC - HotHardware

Maingear Potenza SS: A Cool, Quiet, SFF Gaming PC

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The Potenza is so small, sleek, and dark, that it would be easy to miss – if it weren’t for the bright-red, backlit Maingear logo cut into the aluminum front panel. The logo is the only noticeable light on the system, inside or out. Even the fan at the base of the system lacks lighting.



In fact, the sides of the Potenza are so clean that you won’t even find a power button on them. Aside from the logo, the only item to blemish the PC’s monolithic aesthetic is the slot for the DVD drive, which sits vertically at the front. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

The rest of the ports are at the top of the system. There, you’ll find two USB ports, the power and reset button, and audio ports. To access the rest, you lift off the plastic lid. This is where things get interesting: not only are the motherboard’s I/O tray and graphics card ports hiding just below the Potenza’s lid, but so is the power supply. That’s right: you plug the power supply in at the top of the system and then run the cord out a nearby hole. There’s a groove in side of the external port tray that lets the power supply cord escape from the back of the PC. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in cord router to guide the power cord to the bottom of the PC, so it tends to dangle from the back-top of the system.



Obviously, having the motherboard and power supply in such close proximity makes for an unusual layout inside the Potenza’s chassis. There isn’t room for a large CPU heatsink, which is why the liquid cooler comes in so handy here. It pulls the heat down to the radiator at the bottom of the system, where the Silverstone fan cools things off.



The cabling job isn’t as pretty as I’ve seen in other Maingear systems. Then again, the Potenza’s layout leaves very little room for channeling cords out of sight. That lack of space also makes the hard drive somewhat hard to reach for upgrades.


The GTX 660 sits right at the front of the system, just behind the front panel. Its fans are very close to the front panel, but that doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on the card’s performance. I didn’t encounter any signs of instability in the system, even when it was under heavy loads.

As for the fan at the bottom of the system, which sits about a half-inch above the table surface, thanks to the system’s feet, it seems that Maingear is missing an opportunity here. As I mentioned earlier, the fan has no lights. LED fans are easy to come by, and the light from an LED fan could cast a red glow on the desk. The look would complement the backlit logo nicely.

 

The Potenza is an SFF system, so its size matters – particularly its footprint on your desk. At 7.5 inches wide by 14.75 inches high by 9.25 inches deep, it doesn’t take up much room at all. And at 20 pounds (give or take), it’s easy enough to lug to LAN parties.

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The water line that is forced into the RAM stick (tweaking it) looks hokey to me.

I like the case though.

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I have had a Maingear Potenza for almost a year (overclocked 3770K and Nvidoa 680 GPU with 256 GB SSD and 2TB Hard Drive). I have been extremely happy with both the computer and the company. At maingear, the person who provides your customer support is the person that built your computer. This is a good practice as the builders know they will need to support the machines they build.

The computer is indeed very cool, very quiet and very fast. What more coudl you ask for in a gaming pc?

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I thought a titan would be too long to fit in this case but obviously I'm mistaken. But anyways this is a pretty sweet looking SFF PC.

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Oh yes the Maingear Potenza may I add my 2 cents as to why this is an awesome case to go with? First off the footprint is the smallest of any sff computer you can buy, Yes Any!!! I do not like the shoe box cases, in reality their footprint is as much as a medium size tower I am talking to you Sg07, Sgo8, Fragbox, prodigy and many others including Lian Li. Now here is how to build the ultimate Potenza. Take the cabling off of the front light, then you can remove all 3 sides completely by hand easily no screws and see the beautiful hardware you have and of course cleaning is a breeze with compressed air or blower. Remove the hard drive cage and the optical drive cage and you have a simple case my friends. One SSd will attach to the side of the case. This case will be the most awesome if you get a logitech wireless keyboard and mouse. My plan is to place it behind my 30 inch monitor, people will assume I have an All In one since it will be out of sight and quiet. Since I need to bring this to S America I have also found a Pelican case to transport it in that is Carry on Size!! Yes Carry on Size case which makes this the only Sff Case that you can carry on with a Water Proof durable Case. Yes you can carry on others by hand in a duffel bag or in your hands but remember these things weigh 25lbs or more would it not be nice to have a wheeled lockable case? Of course it would be Pelican 1510 Carry On Case. Now then one last cool thing Maingear will paint this baby for 49 bucs!! I currently own a m18x laptop, if the Potenza had been on my radar back when I bought it I would of saved a bundle going with it instead. I have done a ton of research on Sff cases and to me The Silverston FT-03 mini case that Maingear uses checks all the right boxes. Quality, uniqueness, design, smallest footprint and customization via Maingear!

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That is pretty awesome. Im sure it would make a great gaming PC but also could do alot of other things too. While I think id always have to have a full case just so I can move stuff in and out and not worry about size I do like what companies are doing for the small form factor PC for everyday consumers that want to buy something just just play games on it and this looks to be a very nice option for those people.

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