Maingear Vybe Super Stock (fall 2011) review:

Maingear Vybe Super Stock (fall 2011)

From a purely gaming-driven perspective, the Vybe Super Stock also sits where we expect on the competitive landscape given its pair of 2GB GeForce GTX 560Ti graphics cards. Our only complaint here relates to our earlier comments about being forced to accept the built-in SSD in the Vybe Super Stock, rather than being able to opt out of the drive and direct the savings toward a pair of faster 3D cards.

On Metro 2033, our most challenging real-world gaming test, the Vybe falls short of our ideal score of 60 frames per second, suggesting it has room for some performance gains. This is still a rock-solid mainstream gaming PC, and we expect all but those playing with 3D effects or with multiple high-resolution monitors will be satisfied with this desktop. This system can handle Metro 2033's actual gameplay with relative smoothness at the same high settings at which we tested it. Just understand that a pair of higher-end graphics cards would likely help the Vybe maintain that same high performance for future games, and more so than the SRT drive.

Rounding out the Vybe's features, we were happy to see a full assortment of connectivity options on the motherboard. You get eight USB 2.0 jacks on the rear panel, along with a pair of USB 3.0 jacks for faster transfers. Audio outputs include a set of 7.1 analog audio jacks, and an optical S/PDIF digital audio out. For video you get four DVI outputs and a pair of Mini-HDMI-outs between the two graphics cards. You even get a few legacy ports by way of a FireWire 400 jack and a PS2 mouse and keyboard input.

If you want to upgrade the Vybe, you get a pair of 1X PCI Express slots and a standard PCI slot to play around with for adding a TV tuner, wireless networking, or a dedicated sound card. You can also add two more memory sticks and four more hard drives.

Juice box
Maingear Vybe Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 3.23
Sleep (10 percent) 2.92
Idle (25 percent) 93.5
Load (5 percent) 427.1
Raw kWh 636.7
Energy Star-compliant No
Annual power consumption cost $72.27

Annual power consumption cost

The Vybe, like most modern, overclocked gaming PCs, is not modest in its energy demands. At least Maingear put only a 660-watt power supply in this system. You can opt for a higher-end PSU if you want the freedom to add very high-end graphics cards, but for this configuration, Maingear paired the power supply appropriately with its specs.

The chassis and the integrated solid-state hard drive constitute the most novel hardware features of the Vybe Super Stock, and Maingear's updated service and support policies put it alongside Falcon Northwest in offering the most robust customer protection available. The system comes a one-year parts-and-lifetime-labor warranty, along with a reasonable time frame for phone support, which runs from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT on Saturdays.

Those policies are relatively standard. Among the new support terms is a 30-day no-fail guarantee, wherein Maingear will rebuild your system with new components if you experience a part failure within the first 30 days of ownership. Also interesting is a new trade-in program, in which Maingear will pay you a rebate for the system to put toward a new one. The rebates move on a sliding scale, with a 33 percent refund within the first six months of ownership, and then 25 percent during the next six months, and then 15 percent during the third six-month period. That would translate to just under $300 if you returned this system after a year.

Maingear debuted an assortment of new features and perks with this Vybe Super Stock. We love the new case, and the 30-day no-fail offer. The rebate program is welcome as well. We certainly understand the benefits of the integrated SSD for speeding drive access, and we agree that many people will appreciate that feature, but we wish Maingear would expand the flexibility of its configurator, at least for the Super Stock variant of its Vybe line, to allow you to select or opt out of the various hardware features according to your usage priorities. That's a small criticism of an expertly built desktop, of course, and we recommend the Maingear Vybe Super Stock to any PC gamer or performance enthusiast.

Find out more about how we test desktop systems.

System configurations:
Alienware Aurora (Core i7-2600K, spring 2011)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-2600K; 4GB 1,866MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2) 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards; 1TB SATA 300 7,200rpm hard drive; 2TB SATA 600 7,200rpm hard drive

Digital Storm Ode Level 3
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.8GHz Intel Core i7-2600K (overclocked); 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)1.28GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 graphics cards; 128GB Intel solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive

Falcon Northwest Mach V (Core i7-2600K, spring 2011)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.6GHz Intel Core i7-2600K (overclocked); 16GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics cards; 128GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

Maingear Vybe Super Stock (fall 2011)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4,5GHz Intel Core i7-2600K; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; (2)2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560Ti graphics cards; 1TB 7,200rpm Samsung hard drive

Origin Genesis (Core i7-2600K, spring 2011)
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit; 4.7GHz Intel Core i7-2600K (overclocked); 8GB 1,333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580 graphics card (overclocked); 80GB solid-state hard drive; 1TB 7,200rpm Western Digital hard drive

What you'll pay

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