Performance Summary: As configured, Maingear's refreshed Vybe cruised through our collection of benchmarks, and proved itself up to the task for both work and play. Most people considering a Vybe are interested in the latter, and the Vybe does not disappoint. We saw strong performance at 1440p across the board, including Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Far Cry 5, with the Vybe churning out triple-digit framerates in two of those titles, and 90 frames per second in the other (Tomb Raider). At 4K, the Vybe also held its own. In our testing, it hovers right around the 60 fps mark at 4K with the eye candy dialed all the way up in a handful of popular games.
Maingear Vybe Stage 4 Configuration
Usually a product refresh means newer, faster hardware, and that is true of the new Vybe models for 2019. However, Maingear has taken things a step further, both by stocking pre-built configurations that are ready to ship within two business days, and offering the custom case and cooling as standalone purchases for those who prefer to roll their own rig. In doing so, Maingear is opening up its brand to a wider selection of gamers. It's a wise decision as more people hop into PC gaming, especially as the esports category continues to flourish and grow.
Our time with the Stage 4 configuration of the ready-to-ship Vybe left us impressed. Despite being stocked and on a shelf waiting for an order, these systems are still meticulously crafted with Maingear's clean cable management and overall attention to detail. There is no sacrifice in the build quality that we can discern -- the ready-to-ship Vybe lives up to our past positive experiences with Maingear's high-end, built-to-order gaming desktops.
What really stood out to us is how quiet this system runs. Even at full throttle, the cooling configuration is up to the task, keeping temps in check without being noisy. Your mileage may vary, of course, but in our testing, this system purred like a kitten under load, as opposed to roaring like a lion with a splinter in its foot.
So, what's not to like? Not much, actually. There is an inherent trade off with a ready-to-ship system, which is the limited component selection. Maingear breaks up its Vybe into four Stages starting at a surprisingly reasonable (for a boutique system) $699
. There is not much wiggle room in the part selection, though, and even bumping up from Windows 10 Home 64-bit to the Pro version is not allowed on these setups.
That said, Maingear still offers the option of fully customizing a Vybe, outside of the pre-stocked systems that are ready for shipment. In that regard, the limited component section on the ready-to-ship systems is not much of a downside, since they're supplementing the fully customizable builds and not replacing them.
As configured, the Stage 4 system we received costs $2,499. It's not exactly a budget system, but the markup isn't egregious, either. We priced out the cost of building a system around the same components -- including the custom case and all-in-one liquid cooler -- and came to around $2,200. Sure, you could get that price lower by shopping around and being flexible in the component selection, but for what Maingear is offering, the price is extremely fair. It's even a little surprising, considering that higher end boutique builds typically carry big premiums.
The only thing that has us scratching our head here is the 802.11n Wi-Fi USB adapter. Giving up a USB port can be forgiven, especially since it's only a USB 2.0 port, but Maingear really should be offering faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. Not that it matters if you're using a wired/LAN connection anyway, it just feels out of place on an otherwise expertly configured system.
It's a minor gripe, though. Maingear's Vybe is fast, it runs quiet, and is priced competitively. As such, the new Vybe is easy to recommend.
Systems are ready to ship within 2 business days
Clean cable management
- Runs fast and exceptionally quiet
Priced competitively with building your own PC
Custom case and cooling now offered as standalone purchases
- Wi-Fi adapter is only 802.11n and lacks Bluetooth support
- Sparse upgrade options on the ready-to-ship models