What with crazy powerful quad-core CPUs and GPU-assisted application processing, companies have started referring to every new flagship desktop as some kind of personal supercomputer. MAINGEAR is jumping on the bandwagon with a similar claim – but wrapped in a sexy and sleek exterior.
The new SHIFT line of desktops use extremely powerful components – Intel Core i7 and Xeon CPUs, high-performance solid state drives, top of the line video cards from NVIDIA and ATI – along with some clever product design and engineering. MAINGEAR offers closed-loop watercooling along with from-the-factory overclocking up to 4GHz. There are six hard drive bays that feature built-in SATA connections such that you can basically slot in your hard drives; the bays themselves let you fit one 3.5-inch or two 2.5-inch (like SSDs) per slot.
SHIFT’s cases are constructed from a mostly-steel allow for rigidity, and, similar to Alienware’s recent designs, offer compartmentalized internals that pare off sections of the case in order to maintain heterogeneous airflow. A mouthful, I know — but what it boils down to is that the power supply is on the bottom of the machine and enclosed within its own little box and fan setup, which vents externally and not into the case. This keeps all that waste heat, which high wattage PSUs tend to generate copious amounts of, from poisoning the cooling efforts of the other fans inside.
More than anything, it feels like MAINGEAR isn’t quite coming up with anything we haven’t seen other companies do, but – and this is a big, big but – they’re doing it with a polish and panache rarely seen by manufacturers. Very clean wiring jobs, clever storage and optical drive bay access, concealed, top-mounted port access, it all adds up to a very stylish package.
Of course, all that style, performance and clever engineering doesn’t come cheap. Prices start at $2199 and that’s with an anemic (by current standards) GeForce GTS250 video card. Things only get progressively more expensive from there on out. You do get a number of things for your money aside from a cool case and nice design, like what MAINGEAR is calling their “Angelic Service”. It includes non-commission-based technical support, free 2-way warranty shipping for the first 30 days of ownership, free phone support and labor for the life of the system and a couple of other perks. Given what some companies and 3rd party groups like Geek Squad charge for their service and support, that $2199 price tag, while still high, is at least understandable if you’re the person who’s going to want or otherwise rely on extensive manufacturer support.
MAINGEAR’s SHIFT site is up starting today, but it looks like the first orders won’t be shipping until 12/12/09.