Maingear F131 Review: A High Performance Gaming PC Masterpiece

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Maingear F131: An Entirely Impressive Custom-Built Gaming PC

Boutique, custom-built Gaming PCs from some of the more prominent brands are almost always a cut above mainstream pre-built computers from larger OEMs. However, even among premium boutique brands, build quality, design aesthetics and cost can vary greatly. Maingear has delivered its share of ultra-high end killer gaming rigs to us for evaluation over the years, but perhaps nothing so custom and so premium in design as the machine we're about to dig deep on today.

We got a look at Maingear's highly custom F131 back at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, and though we came away impressed at the time, it was really only a quick chance to kick the tires. Now that we have it in house for a full review? Well, see for yourself... 

Maingear F131 With Monitor

Custom-built boutique systems are largely assembled from off-the-shelf parts. Standard components are used, mostly stock cooling solutions employed, and even chassis designs are often only semi-custom, modified versions of existing cases that you can find on the market. That said, Maingear's F131 is a highly-customized gaming PC, from its full-custom mid-sized ATX chassis with automotive paint finish, to its Maingear APEX ICS (Integrated Cooling System) that features a huge acrylic liquid block, dual pumps, multiple hard-line tubing feeds, and a monster 420mm radiator. To say the Maingear F131 is a work of PC geek art would be wholly accurate. The Maingear F131 model we received for review is a high-performance desktop PC for gamers and enthusiasts that want a complete showpiece of modern computing technology, but also one that backs-up its looks with the horsepower of a hypercar. LaFerrari, Koenigsegg Agera RS, Bugatti Chiron -- you get the idea. And, as you might expect, if you have to ask "how much," you probably can't afford it - but don't hate the playa, as they say.

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's give you the showroom demo here in our video review. Then we'll pop the hood for all on the strip to gawk at, and finally we'll take her for a beating on the test track...

Maingear F131 Custom, Liquid-Cooled Gaming PC
Specifications & Features
Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
Processor Intel Core i9-7960X (16-Core/32-Thread, 22MB Cache, 4.4GHz Factory Overclock)
Graphics 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti w/ 11GB GDDR5X, Factory Overclocked
Memory 32GB G.Skill Trident RGB DDR4- 3000MHz (4x8GB)
Exterior Finish Automotive Paint: MARC II Vanquish Red With Modern Camo
Storage 1TB Samsung 960 Pro NVMe SSD
4TB Seagate Barracuda (64MB Cache, 7,200 RPM)
Cooling System Maingear APEX ICS Custom Liquid Cooling With EKoolant Distilled, Deionized Water
Premium Copper Core Radiator- 420 (3x140mm) With High Airflow Phanteks Fans
Maingear Custom Hardline Liquid Tubing
Motherboard MSI X299M Gaming Pro Carbon 
Front Panel Ports 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, Headphone Input, Mic Input
Rear Panel Ports 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A W/ Power Share, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x GbE LAN, Clear CMOS Button, PS2, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3 Gen 2 Type-A/C, HDMI, 7.1-Channel  Golden Audio, Optical S/PDIF-Out, Intel WiFi w/ Bluetooth 4.2
Power Supply 1200W EVGA® SuperNOVA P2 80 Plus PLATINUM Certified Fully Modular PSU
Dimensions 21.3" x 6.4" x 19" inches (HxWxD)
Weight ~ 65 Pounds  / 29.48 kilograms
Warranty Lifetime Warranty And Support
Pricing $9,627.00 As Tested

The specs list of the Maingear F131 we're looking at here reads like a DIY gaming rig builder's dream, with almost no expense spared. Maingear went with MSI's X299M Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, which is a Micro-ATX design, but as you'll see on the pages ahead, the intent there was design efficiency. Dropped into its socket is a 16-core Intel Core i9-7960X Skylake-X CPU that alone retails for $1579 currently, and of course that chip is overclocked to 4.4GHz across all cores. That processor is flanked by 32GB of G.Skill Trident RGB DDR4-3000 memory, while its Windows 10 Home OS is served on a Samsung 960 Pro 1TB NVMe SSD with bulk storage supported by an addition 4TB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM HDD

For its graphics subsystem, we have a pair of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards in SLI with 11GB of GDDR5X each; both liquid cooled with custom EK water blocks that are integrated into the Maingear Apex ICS open loop cooling system (more on this shortly). And of course, as you might expect, those cards are also factory overclocked +140MHz on their core clocks and +300MHz on their memory. Finally, that beastly setup is backed-up by 1200 Watts of EVGA SuperNOVA modular Gold Series power. 

All told, the Maingear F131 config we'll be testing has the makings for total PC gaming and content creation domination -- at least on paper. We'll leave the spoilers out for now, but as you might expect, you almost can't go wrong here. 

F131 Pallette
Badass Usually Arrives On A Palette

And yes, this Maingear F131 weighs in at about 65 pounds, it's completely badass, and if you are bold enough to order one, arrives strapped down on a palette like this, waiting for you to unleash it. 

Which is exactly what we'll do, next...

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