Maingear Vybe: Performance Summary & Conclusion
Performance Summary: Maingear took a risk by overclocking the Core i7-7700K processor in the Vybe to 5GHz before sending the system to us for evaluation, and for the most part it paid off. There were a couple of minor stability quirks—icons took longer than usual to appear on the deskyop than normal and Prime95 was not 100 percent stable—but otherwise the Vybe ran like a finely tuned sports car. It posted the highest single-threaded CPU score in Cinbebench that's we've seen, and it also managed to climb atop burlier configurations in PCMark 8 to take first place in both the Home Accelerated and Work Accelerated benchmarks. When it came to gaming, the two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 cards connected with a high bandwidth SLI bridge proved up to the task of tackling high resolutions, including 4K.
That's where the Vybe comes in. Maingear pitches the Vybe as a "boutique build for the masses," and with a price tag starting at $999, that's exactly what it is. Each Vybe is hand-assembled by a single builder who pieces together, cleans up, and even overclocks (if desired) a custom selection of parts before jotting down his or her signature on a 55-point QA checklist. It's a much more personal experience than what can be expected from a bulk OEM.
What Maingear sent to us was quite a bit more expensive than a default Vybe configuration. To showcase its talents, Maingear stuffed the Vybe full with two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics cards, a liquid-cooled Intel Core i7-7700K Kaby Lake processor overclocked to 5GHz, and 16GB of DDR4-2666 RAM. To address any potential storage bottlenecks, it also paired a 512GB Samsung 960 Pro SSD with a 1TB Seagate Desktop HDD.
The tally for for this configuration came to around $3,400. While pricey, that's far from incredulous for a boutique system sporting two high-powered graphics cards and an overclocked processor. It's still a healthy up-charge over buying the individual parts and going the DIY route, but where Maingear shines here is in its ability to assemble a meticulously crafted system that not every DIY builder is capable of.
Opening the Vybe reveals a squeaky clean interior with nary a stray wire or cable to be found. Even though it's packed full of hardware, there is plenty of open space for air to flow from front to back without running into obstructions. The few cables that are visible are sleeved in red and tightly bound, which arguably adds to the appearance, versus not being able to see anything at all.
The only minor fault we found with the build is that the overclock wasn't perfectly stable. Normally we'd be ultra-critical of an unstable overclock on a $3,400 system, but it didn't affect our day-to-day computing or intense gaming sessions, nor did it disrupt our benchmarks. The only visible traits that more tweaking might be needed at 5GHz were that icons sometimes took several seconds longer than normal to appear on the desktop (such as when dragging files from a USB flash drive or downloading from the web) and Prime95 had trouble engaging all four cores at 100 percent load.
Beyond these minor symptoms, the souped-up Vybe put on a strong performance by consistently scoring at the top of the pack and it did so without being overly flashy in appearance.