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

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: The Maingear Potenza put up some great numbers throughout our testing. There's no question that it's a strong SFF gaming system. That said, at nearly $1,600, it's about $200 more expensive than the iBuyPower Revolt that we recently checked out, and it trailed the Revolt in a number of benchmarks (if only by a little) due to the iBuyPower machine's more powerful graphics configuration.

The Maingear Potenza has just about everything you'd want from a high-end system. The performance is there, and the eye-catching design is certainly there as well. Another important plus is that the system is extremely sturdy, thanks to the metal chassis. It sits solidly on the desk and won't tip when bumped by accident. The computer is easy to carry, and the unusual all-ports-at-the top design makes it easy to plug in your peripherals, which can be handy if you're at a LAN party. Speaking of LAN parties, you'll only be lugging about 20 pounds of computer with you with this Potenza configuration.

Should you need to get into the machine, removing the front, back, and side panels is very easy and you're not likely to break any latches in the process. But as "open" as the case is with its panels removed, it's not really very open at all. There just isn't enough space to make the system easy to upgrade. For one thing, you'll have a tough time reaching components, let alone replacing them. Upgrades mean replacing parts, as there are no free bays for adding drives, no extra memory slots for adding DIMMs, etc. Limited space and expansion is always the price to pay with an SFF, but this system is especially tight.

Space constraints aside, the Maingear Potenza is a polished, powerful machine with a small footprint. Yes, it's more expensive than some competing offerings, but we'd argue that the sturdiness, silence, and appearance of the system justifies the additional investment. Whether those factors tip the balance or not depends on one's taste, but we're impressed with the Potenza.

  • Strong performance, particularly for an SFF
  • Unique, stylish, and sturdy design
  • Bloatware free
  • Limited space makes upgrading difficult
  •  Interior cable management isn't on par with other Maingear systems
  • No option to run power/video cables from bottom or lower back of the computer

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