Maingear Potenza Super Stock SFF System Review
Software, Accessories, and First Boot
Every Maingear system we've reviewed has delivered a white glove experience beginning with the contents. Maingear takes the simple process of bundling cords, drivers discs, paperwork, and other included goodies and transforms it into a bona fide welcome package that makes you feel as though you're part of an elite club. In some respects, you are. Unlike any of the bulk OEM vendors, Maingear systems, including the Potenza reviewed here, come with an optional "Out of Box" experience with gifts wrapped in a customized binder.
The Out of Box Experience bundle includes:
- Maingear t-shirt
- Mini toolkit
- Maingear mousepad
- Maingear pen
- Customized plastic binder
- Quality control checklist signed by two senior technicians
- Owners manual
- Various paperwork, driver discs, and applicable free game codes
This is precisely the sort of the thing the boutique buying experience is all about, or at least it should be. Maingear's attention to detail here is what separates the boutique buying experience from that of shopping a bulk OEM PC or picking up a computer at your local Wally World.
Another upside to shopping a premium system vendor is the lack of performance robbing trialware and other cruft that can muck up an otherwise clean Windows install. As you can see in the screenshot above, Maingear's awesome "Zero Bloatware" policy is in full effect. You inevitably end up paying more for the luxury of a clean desktop -- third-party companies pay big bucks to have their wares littered across OEM desktops, which can result in lower priced system configurations -- but you gain an uncluttered system that's firing on all cylinders.
When configuring a Potenza, or any Maingear system, you want to be sure and scan for any free promos you might be eligible for and mark the appropriate checkboxes. If buying a Potenza today, checkboxes include:
- $15 credit for Windows 8 Pro Upgrade with purchase of Windows 7 -- details at www.windowsupgradeoffer.com
- $50 Tribes Ascende Promo Pack
- FREE! Just Cause 2
- FREE! Dirt SHOWDOWN with purchase of Radeon HD graphics!
- Maingear Dual-Sided Poster 18x24 inches
Our review system shipped with an Nvidia graphics card so it's not eligible for the Dirt Showdown freebie offer, but it does include Just Cause 2 and other goodies.
Maingear's bloatless installation policy also means your system ships without any security software, leaving you on your own to choose an antivirus solution. That's not a problem for tech savvy users, but for the less experienced, this could be a problem. Fortunately, Maingear does give users the option of having Microsoft's free Security Essentials program pre-installed. It's not the best or fastest performing AV program out there, but it does a good job overall and is certainly better than surfing the Web naked (figuratively folks).