First Look: Maingear And Digital Storm Deliver Powerful, Customized Gaming PCs At CES 2019

As we mentioned in our piece on CyberPowerPC yesterday, the boutique PC gaming PC business is booming. That is even more evident by our visits to Maingear and Digital Storm, both of which had a slew of new gaming systems on display that use the latest and greatest hardware from Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD.
Maingear F131 With Apex Spectrum and Nintendo Switch Dock
Maingear F131 with Apex Spectrum and Nintendo Switch dock

Starting off with Maingear, which had its F131 on display with Apex Spectrum. Apex Spectrum uses RGB lighting integrated directly into the tubes and has its own RGB hub that interfaces with motherboard. As a result, gamers aren't locked into a proprietary system; instead, customers can use any manufacturer’s RGB standard -- ASUS' Aura Sync, MSI's Mystic Light Sync, Gigabyte's RGB Fusion, etc. -- and can control nearly every aspect of color representation to have it sync up with other components like your DDR4 memory, motherboard, graphics cards, keyboard and mouse.

Another interesting addition for the F131, which is made possible by Maingear's specialty One of One program, is a Nintendo Switch dock. One of One lets uses pay extra add custom features to their rig, and this particular Nintendo Switch dock is built-in to the front panel of the case. You simply [vertically] slide the gaming console into the dock, and you can then game on you PC's monitor. In this case, the demo was setup to run Super Mario Odyssey.

Up next was the Rush Omega Edition, which is the only other Maingear system to support Apex Spectrum. This flagship has two big radiators; one up front and one in the back. It's a limited run system that will only be available for two months for customers to purchase.

Maingear Rush Omega Edition
Rush Omega

Also on the docket was Maingear's Pulse gaming laptop lineup, which has been refreshed for 2019. There are Pulse 15 and Pulse 17 models using 8th generation Intel Core processors and NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX GPUs. The 17-inch model uses the full desktop version of the GeForce RTX 2070, while the 15-inch model has a GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q design. You can also now get a texture finished to the paint job for the display lid for an even more customizable machine.

Maingear GeForce RTX Max Q Gaming laptops
Pulse 15 and Pulse 17 gaming laptops

Maingear also had a lot of other accessories on display including a new lineup of gaming chairs, backpacks, mouse pads and a new partnership with Honeycomb to go after an undeserved market: the flight sim community. Be sure to watch the embedded video above to see everything that Maingear was offering up at CES.

Maingear Honeycomb Flight SIM System Controller Collaboration
Maingear is partnering with Honeycomb to market to the flight sim community.

Moving on, we also had time to stop by the Digital Storm both to see what they were cooking up. Digital Storm had four systems on display: Project Corsa, Spark, Vanquish and Aventum X. Starting off with Project Corsa, this a prototype that the company developed for CES that incorporates a quick disconnect system for the flex or hard line tubing. Cool air is drawn in from the bottom of the case with via 280mm and 560mm radiators, while the top of the case is served by a 420mm radiator. According to Digital Storm, production versions of the system will be available in the third quarter.

Digital Storm Corsa side
Digital Storm Corsa
The Spark starts at $999 and includes water cooling for both the CPU and GPU. It's billed as the world's smallest system with custom hard line water cooling. Up to four storage devices are supported (three NVMe PCIe SSDs, one 2.5-inch SSD), along with up to a GeForce RTX 2080 and Intel Core i9-9900K. The Spark will begin shipping in Q1.

The Vanquish takes over the entry-level mantel with a price tag of $699 and will be available in four pre-configured models or as a fully customizable system. This air-cooled system has "fully addressable" RGB fans and includes a tempered glass side panel. Like the Spark, the Vanquish will be available this quarter.

digital storm 3
Digital Storm Spark

Finally, we have the Aventum X, which was first released just last week. This system starts at $3,300 and comes with a custom-designed water block and quick disconnects for internal tubing. It will be available with custom, automotive-quality paint that incorporates metal flakes.

All of the above-mentioned systems just oozed quality and we'll no doubt have a few of them entering our labs for testing in the coming months.