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Paradigm SHIFT: MainGear's Unique Gaming Rig Tested

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Paradigm SHIFT: MainGear's Unique Gaming Rig TestedWhen it comes to the business of building PCs, true innovation is hard to find. There are exceptions—HP had the Blackbird 002, Alienware designs its own enclosures, and there's always the Thermaltake Level 10—but most companies aren't willing to take the financial risk that's part and parcel of designing new and different products.

Fortunately, MainGear is. While they've not been around as long as Alienware or Falcon-Northwest, the company has six solid years of experience in building custom PCs. MainGear recently sent us a high-end system built around its unique SHIFT chassis. When it designed the Shift, Maingear took a standard ATX configuration and literally turned it 90'. Add a hybrid aluminum/steel frame, custom detailing, and a cable mount system that turns what might've been a ghettoish kludge into a gorgeous surface, and you've got the Shift. It's a unique blend of style and practicality that manages to improve system thermals and look good doing it. Curious? So were we...

Paradigm SHIFT: MainGear's Unique Gaming Rig Tested

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rapid1 replied on Thu, May 20 2010 4:08 PM

I really like the up flow heat pattern, but with silence thrown in the picture it complicates it. The CPU cooling is good, but if your going for silence, and your charging top dollar I am pretty sure liquid cooling on a mass scale (relative to how many PC's they build) would not add to much to there build cost. I would love to have a setup like this which was all liquid cooled (CPU/NB/SB/GPU) with memory as an option! Especially with the heat up flow (which heat does automatically as well) I am positive the results would be much better. I particularly like the GPU's exhausting up into the large top exhaust as all heat output automatically rises to an open out portal. This would seem to cool the whole system to a degree. With Liquid cooling thrown in you would have a very cool running stable set up all the way around! I like it, but feel it could be improved most definitely, but for the price that should be automatic I think!

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Kosta replied on Thu, May 20 2010 5:29 PM

I think it's a bit unfair to say that

"When it designed the Shift, Maingear took a standard ATX configuration and literally turned it 90'"

when this is in fact a Silverstone FT02 with a different faceplate and an added compartment for the PSU. God knows I love Maingear's interpretation, but give credit where credit is due :)

Also, you say that there is six decibels of difference between SHIFT and Genesis, but the graph clearly shows 3 decibels difference (66 vs. 63)

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3vi1 replied on Thu, May 20 2010 7:05 PM

Great review.

Sweet system, but OMG I would never pay that for a desktop PC. It seems like they gave you a showcar, but their real plan is to sell us the 4-cylinders that look the same. Which makes them pretty smart salesmen, I would say.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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JeffB replied on Thu, May 20 2010 8:33 PM

"it performs with the speed and grace of a fat kid hunting cake"...love it!

 

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rapid1 replied on Fri, May 21 2010 12:39 AM

Yeah Kosta when I first saw this I was wondering about the Silverstone FT02 as I knew it was flipped 90% as well. The boutique builders I really have a hard time respecting. This started when I got my Aluminum full tower years ago. I was looking through a lot of cases online and this case just seemed to good to be true. I bought it and was putting it together and keep thinking I had seen it sometime when I was searching through cases. Then I realized it was a Xaser I, but preproduction. That means without some of the bells and whistles and unpainted. Other than that it is the same machine, and it know houses Sarah's computer (as well as 3 different builds of my own), and still works great.

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Joel H replied on Fri, May 21 2010 1:04 AM

Sorry about the graph screwup--our CMS doesn't always like to actually update graphics images, even when new versions have been uploaded. Correct image is now shown.

Kosta,

You say: "when this is in fact a Silverstone FT02 with a different faceplate and an added compartment for the PSU." That's emphatically untrue, for a variety of reasons. The two cases are two different sizes and two different shapes. The front ports are different, the internal case layout is very different, the airflow design (and the location of the fan mounts / types of fans meant to be installed) are also different. The FT02 looks to reverse the standard ATX entry system (components are accessed through the right-side panel (facing the system) rather than the left), and in the FT02, the video cards lay near to the CD-ROM bays.

So yes, sure, they're just alike--except, of course, for being completely different. I've never seen an FT02, got nothing against the case (or Silverstone), but MainGear isn't selling rebadged FT02's or anything of the sort.

 

Rapid,

The CPU is water-cooled, albeit via a small all-in-one unit. I agree that it would be nice to see water-cooled GPUs. As for flowing water over the northbridge and southbridge, the southbridge is a flat waste--it never generates enough heat to need watercooling--and you probably only need to do the NB on boards meant for serious, serious overclocking.

3vi1,


The cheapest Shift starts at $1899. I'm not saying this is cheap by any means, nor am I implying you couldn't build something more powerful for the money, but MainGear does sell systems far below the $5800 price point. Also, if you check the "Test Setup" page, I discuss how the system's cost can be drastically cut from that $5800 point with a few simple substitutions--swapping for a quad-core Nehalem alone can save you $1000.

Rapid1 (Again):

You got an unpainted Xaser? Sounds like you got the deluxe version. ;) That case was.....yark. "Hideous" comes to mind.

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Kosta replied on Fri, May 21 2010 4:22 AM

Joel,

You are correct in saying that this is a radically redesigned chassis, I never disputed the fact that Maingear put in a lot of work into it's own interpretation, but it IS based on the Silverstone FT02. That's why I thought it's somewhat misleading to say that it was Maingear's idea to rotate the motherboard during their design phase and at the same time not mention the FT02 anywhere. If you look at the picture I attached, you can see that even the 5.25" bay locking mechanisms in the SHIFT still have Silverstone's logo on them.

 

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realneil replied on Fri, May 21 2010 10:23 AM

The thermal issues would keep me from buying one of these, if I was in the market for one. PC's do get dusty and it happens quickly too. This computer with some dust thrown into the mix may be useful as the grown-up version of the Betty Crocker Oven.

Quiet doesn't mean that much to me being almost deaf without my hearing aids, so If I had this box at hand, (I don't see it ever happening though) I would take steps to make it cooler with higher CFM rated fans to start with. (all of the system's fans) I would probably take the CPU cooler off and clean the surfaces, reapplying my own paste between the cooler and CPU. (just to ensure that it is done properly) And I would put higher rated CFM fans on the cooler's radiator too.

I really like my CoolerMaster Storm Sniper case's design and I wonder how it would change the dynamics of this reviews results.

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Dave_HH replied on Fri, May 21 2010 10:39 AM

Kosta, we've edited the intro slightly to call out the fact that MainGear partnered with Silverstone to develop the case. Obviously MainGear isn't a chassis manufacturer but if we're splitting hairs, we might as well be accurate.

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Ouch - that's a pretty serious accusation.  We build and ship systems like this everyday.  Heck, this is tame.  We sell a lot of 3-way Fermi systems loaded down with a lot more hardware than this.

 

Chris Morley

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MAINGEAR

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^ That was addressed to this comment:

"Great review.

Sweet system, but OMG I would never pay that for a desktop PC. It seems like they gave you a showcar, but their real plan is to sell us the 4-cylinders that look the same. Which makes them pretty smart salesmen, I would say."

 

 

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@realneil-

 

We don't have thermal issues with the SHIFT, period.  We've sold a ton of these since November and not one has had overheating issues.  None.

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Joel H replied on Fri, May 21 2010 12:08 PM

RealNeil,

The thermal issues would keep me from buying one of these...Quiet doesn't mean that much to me being almost deaf without my hearing aids...


If you could still hear normally (no disrespect intended) I think you'd come away with a different opinion. Under full load for long periods, the Origin Genesis sounds like a steam engine--or a bunch of belligerent drunken monkeys being thrown unwillingly into a trash compactor. It's CPU cores *still* get up to about 82'C if memory serves.

As Chris' post makes clear, he and I have different definitions of what constitutes a potential thermal issue. That said, the Shift we tested has no thermal issues (by my definition) when tested at stock speed *or* when tested at shipped speed with lower voltages. When you say "The thermal issues would keep me from buying one of these," I think you're honestly taking a single case and improperly generalizing it across a product line.

Remember:

1) Peak power is a very synthetic test.

2)  In that test (at stock speeds, and with *two* Fermis), the CPU hit 81'C. We saw problems beginning at 95'C, Intel's own engineers confirmed that operation--even sustained operation--at 90-91'C is fine.

Since you can buy a Shift at stock speeds, with cooler-running GPUs, or with slower, cheaper, chips, there's no reason to believe the Shift (as a product series) has any sort of thermal issues.

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So the only thing you would really be paying for is the brushed Aluminum case!
 
As long as you can build your own, you can get a better performer at half the price. If they were going to try and charge these prices, they should at least put it in that BMW level 10 case.
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Joel H replied on Fri, May 21 2010 8:02 PM

That BMW-designed ThermalTake Level 10 is $850 retail. Even people splurging on boutique systems have a budget. :P

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I really like this case and I am about to buy a ft02. It actually looks better than ft02, but since I am in Japan, I cannot get one. Besides look, why did you need to build a new version of ft02? What are the merits of this case over ft02?

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Joel H replied on Fri, Nov 19 2010 8:52 AM

The FT02 has rounded edges and visible drive bays; the Shift's bays are hidden behind a door and aren't rounded. The Shift we tested didn't have a case window (that might be an option). The FT02's front panel ports appear to be accessed via a sliding panel; the Shift's ports are accessed through a spring-loaded casing.

I've never seen an FT02 in person, but judging from Silverstone's photos, the differences are entirely cosmetic.

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Jajuka replied on Thu, Sep 15 2011 3:14 PM

I've been eyeing those 90 degree shifted Silverstone cases for a couple years now. I'm not sure if my next build will be air cooled with one of those cases, or liquid cooled in a Corsair 600T. They're both pretty great options.

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Hey Guys,

I'm pretty new to the site always been more of a lurker but for the first time i felt the need to kind of get my opinion out there. I am not quite sure who brought back this thread but there is a lot of bad information on here.

 

The case is not a "Radical" redesign it is a Silverstone RV01 chassis that has had its outer panels tooled or custom fabricated to look different. I would like to say that the system is some how different in more than just cosmetics but it is not. it is in all form and function a silverstone RV01. because you changed the outside panels does not mean you designed the 90 degree rotated board design and that you designed the case. they may have designed the new "look" of this RV01 that they call the shift but it is by no means their mechanical design. because i custom add a cupholder in my BMW 335 does not make me the designer of the car, because i add a new bodykit does not make me the designer of my car.

 

In essence give credit where it is due and to who it s due for the right reasons. congrats Silverstone on a very new approach on motherboard mounting that helps take the natural flow of hot air into consideration when venting a system. congrats to maingear for creating some panels that make the case look different, though i think they didnt need to BS people about them having designed it.

 

Also for being reviewers you guys seem to be pretty biased about the Maingear system and really go out of your way to defend it without getting your facts straight. also though Kosta makes an error by calling the unit an FT02 which he is incorrect for you simply say that it is not and dont mention what it actually resembles.......the RV01 here is a side shot just like the maingear of the RV01. my rant is over.

A whole lot of redesigning that they did, i mean this was a HUGE financial risk!!!

 

you guys made statements in the original post on this thread that basically slapped every major PC manufacturer in the face and then praised Maingear for this alteration to the RV01. as much as i am not Alienware fan they actually designed their chassis from the ground up, sure it looks like crap but at least they designed it. this is not a bash at maingear nor do i want it to be taken that way this is a rant to all reviewers and companies that feed this crap to the consumer. As a reviewer you guys should be the ones calling these things out, but when they pay for advertisement and fund giveaways its hard to stay true and the fine line between good reviews and bad reviews gets blurred.

 

I would suggest the entire first post be revised as all of it is marketing BS that has been clearly brought to light.

"When it comes to the business of building PCs, true innovation is hard to find. There are exceptions—HP had the Blackbird 002, Alienware designs its own enclosures, and there's always the Thermaltake Level 10 No

(cant believe you actually put a re-skin of a chassis on the same platform as the level 10 the blackbird and Alienware.)

 

—but most companies aren't willing to take the financial risk that's part and parcel of designing new and different products. No

(the financial risk isnt as large when all the engineering has been done and you are changing exterior panels)



Fortunately, MainGear is. While they've not been around as long as Alienware or Falcon-Northwest, the company has six solid years of experience in building custom PCs. (this is the only true statement)

 

MainGear recently sent us a high-end system built around its unique SHIFT chassis. When it designed the Shift, Maingear took a standard ATX configuration and literally turned it 90" No

 

(Silverstone designed it, Maingear didnt take anything and do anything to it except change the outside panels)

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DLouisiana replied on Sun, Sep 18 2011 11:14 AM

Still a pretty rig. But it is very big and heavy. I would also like to see liquid GPU cooling, but I think that would take away from their clean airflow insides. I would think they could come up with a liquid flow system that is different then the norn, and routed in a few ways that do keep up with their extra effort in wire management also. Lastly, I do not like the pop up top multi plug setup. What if someone wanted to place into a cabinet. Sure, it can be ordered changed and place in the front bay area, for a small added price. It's more than a work of art in my view. I like.

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