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Maingear F131 hands-on
“Maingear’s F131 Apex is available in a liquid-cooled tower that may flip heads”
Eye-catching liquid cooling
Smooth, svelte case
Nice customized case
Video card is likely to be annoying to switch
PC avid gamers like to indicate off. That’s why multicolored LEDs, tempered glass home windows, and full-loop liquid coolers exist. None of that’s technically required to get pleasure from video games, simply as 21-inch chrome rims and a physique package aren’t technically required to motor down the freeway. That’s lacking the purpose. Amongst followers, type itself turns into the perform, proving to all of the world how a lot every rig’s proprietor loves PC hardware and gaming.
That’s why the F131 is bound to show heads. I noticed its press launch, studying the lengthy checklist of predictably unbelievable specs — the newest Intel or AMD processors, as much as twin Nvidia Titan Xp graphics, and so forth. I raised an eyebrow in curiosity. Then I noticed it in particular person, and I used to be floored.
Matt Smith/Digital Developments
Matt Smith/Digital Developments
The very first thing I seen was the F131’s Apex liquid cooling answer. It consists of all the same old pipes, pumps, and radiators, however throws in an enormous, clear reservoir that’s as tall because the PC, and about half a foot large. Backlit and full of varied dyed liquids – consumers can customise these – it seemed beautiful. Full-loop liquid cooling is all the time good, however Maingear’s reservoir steals the present. It’s the form of factor solely a severe boutique builder can supply.
That’s not the one manner you possibly can trick out your rig. Maingear additionally got here able to tout its customized, automotive-quality paint. Such extravagance isn’t uncommon for a customized gaming rig, however the element Maingear affords is particular. This remedy, known as Marc II, enables you to choose no matter brand, design, or paintings you’d like, and have it utilized as paint to your pc.
The corporate had a aspect panel executed up with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds artwork on the present, and I used to be giddy. I’ve seen loads of customized paint earlier than, however the tremendous element displayed by the Marc II paint couldn’t be ignored. I needed to sneak the panel house, however it sadly wouldn’t slot in my bag.
I also needs to word the F131 is a completely customized chassis. Origin additionally debuted a brand new customized chassis at CES 2018 with its revised Millennium, and Digital Storm confirmed off its Spark. Admittedly, I just like the Millennium greatest, however the F131 delivers comparable hardware in a svelte design, and Maingear’s liquid cooling undeniably appears betters.
Whether or not it’s simpler to service is debatable. The F131 has a sensible, clear chassis that, regardless of its skinny dimension, does little to impede the internals. The total-liquid-cooled setup will complicate issues, however that’s true for any PC. The one actual complication is Maingear’s resolution to show the video card sideways, putting it on the identical aircraft because the motherboard, just under the motherboard. That may make eradicating the cardboard tougher.
You possibly can customise and purchase the Maingear F131 now, beginning at $1,600 for a Ryzen configuration, or $1,785 for an Intel setup.