Maingear Turbo Review: A Jaw-Dropping Mini-ITX Gaming PC

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Maingear Turbo Review: Final Thoughts And The Verdict

maingear turbo side panel off
As we noted at the start of this review, we were a bit skeptical that a machine this size and so tightly-packed with performance components could actually deliver a no-compromise experience, but Maingear indeed proved us wrong. You could be tempted to complain about a lack of IO options, but the Turbo has all the latest connectivity including Wi-Fi 6, though we would have appreciated at least one USB Type-C port on its front side panel. We could have assumed a system of this size couldn't handle a powerful 12 or 16-core Ryzen CPU, along with one of NVIDIA's fastest GeForce RTX GPUs, at least without having to move its power supply to an external solution, but you know how assumptions generally end up. And finally, still, with all that horsepower and the latest technologies packed into such a tight space, it just has to get loud right? Wrong. 

maingear turbo top and side panel off

And we could drone on about how gorgeous the machine Maingear sent us is, with its custom Apex cooling solution, red non-conductive, anti-microbial cooling liquid and glorious ASUS Aura RGB lighting control. But really, we'll stop the gushing there and just let you gawk, like we do often as we walk by the Turbo in our studio.

However, there are still a few caveats, though it's not about the traditional SFF caveats we've grown accustomed to over the years. Again, Maingear proved us wrong. The company proved that a small form factor gaming PC like this can be every bit as powerful as a full-sized desktop. The company also proved that it can be as quiet as any liquid cooled system, whether pre-built or DIY. And more importantly, the Maingear Turbo is a veritable showcase of what the company does best, and that's deliver best-of-class, over-the-top gaming PCs that are as much a work of art and precision as they are performance machines. The company's founder, Wallace, is a car nut and owns a Porsche 911 GT3 (hit the 4:05 minute mark in the video) that he likes to bring to trade shows sometimes. Similarly, the kind of gaming PCs this company can produce are certainly Porsche-caliber as well.

maingear turbo side panel on

But as you might expect, Porsches are expensive and the Maingear Turbo, as configured and tested here, clocks in at $4,979. That's quite a premium for such performance and precision, though again entry-level pricing starts at $1499. We won't bother with calculating what you could save if you tried to build this yourself because let's be real, you'd need to have way above average technical skills to be able to engineer and put together this level of build quality and precision. And that brings us to this issue of future upgrades and serviceability. Again, if you go the full Apex Liquid Cooling route, choose your components carefully because this system isn't easily serviced by the average consumer. Its drain and fill ports are very accessible to service the cooling system thankfully, but swapping out GPUs or M.2 NVMe Solid State Drives will not be an effort for the faint of heart. It can certainly be done, however, just not easily.

Regardless, all told, if you consider the killer performance, beautiful build quality and stunning design of the Maingear Turbo, along with its amazingly well-behaved, quiet demeanor, it's hard not to lust after a machine like this. The Maingear Turbo we tested, with its Ryzen 9 3900 XT, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, fast PCIe Gen 4 SSD and custom Apex Liquid Cooling solution, is an absolute trophy and monument of an enthusiast Gaming PC.

Once again, we're left slack-jawed by what the team from New Jersey can design, configure and build.
hothardware recommended
  • Killer Performance In A Petite SSF Frame
  • Jaw-Dropping Design, Lighting And Build Quality
  • Quiet And Well-Behaved Under Load
  • Great Features Of AMD's Ryzen 3000 XT / X570 Platform
  • Very Pricey
  • Not Easily User Serviceable

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