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MAINGEAR F131 P55 SLI Custom Gaming PC (Page 2)

By: Tim Roper from Sep 15, 2010 @ 1:34 CDT
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: MAINGEAR

Packaging

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The F131 arrived in a brown cardboard box with the company's logo on the side. Opening it up, we see that four foam brackets cushion the system.

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Inside, we find the system wrapped in plastic, along with a MAINGEAR t-shirt, a binder and an accessory box.

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The F131 comes in a very sharp-looking black chassis from SilverStone known as the Fortress FT01 with an abstract graphic on the side. This is one of the handful of standard graphics MAINGEAR offers at no charge on the F131. You can order the system with no graphic as well, or with a windowed panel. However, the true enthusiast will go for the fourth option-namely, providing your own custom artwork, which MAINGEAR will laser engrave for free on the side panel using a M.A.R.C. Laser Etcher. This is an option that very few builders offer, and MAINGEAR is the only one we're aware of that will at no extra charge.

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The tool-less chassis features a recessed, angled pocket on the top that holds two USB ports, FireWire, and mic & headphone jacks, as well as the Reset button. The front of the chassis holds the optical drive and media card reader.

On the rear of the chassis, we find P/S2 inputs for mouse and keyboard, 6xUSB 2.0, optical and coaxial S/PDIF outs, eSATA, FireWire, 2xUSB 3.0, Ethernet, multichannel sound outputs and mic input. Both graphics cards have DVI outputs as well as DisplayPort outlets, and MAINGEAR supplies the proper DisplayPort-to-HDMI cables to plug into your home theater or HDMI-equipped monitor.

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Internals

Removing the side panel requires the loosening of three thumbscrews-two on the rear lip of the panel, and one securing the mechanism that unlocks the top edge of the panel.

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Inside, we find a layout utterly devoid of clutter. Cables are properly secured and tucked out of the way so as not to restrict airflow.

The chassis sports seven hard drive bays, two of which are occupied, and five 5.25" bays above them.

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A couple of massive 180mm fans positioned on the lower front of the chassis and on top draw in cool air, which is then expelled through the rear near the power supply.

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CARDKEEPERS hold both GTX 470s securely in place.

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A "maintenance-free" Asetek X120 liquid cooler keeps the processor in its thermal comfort zone.

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A 1KW SilverStone Strider power supply keeps the electrons moving.

Documentation & Accessories

MAINGEAR includes a binder containing manuals for the system's various components, optical media, system and warranty info, recovery instructions, and a customer feedback form.

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Note that MAINGEAR includes both a Windows 7 disc, as well as a recovery disc/driver disc combo, which allows you to restore or repair your machine with two different methods, depending on your situation.

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We also got a copy of Napoleon: Total War included with the F131, although titles are subject to change.

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In the accessory box, we received the aforementioned DisplayPort-to-HDMI cables along with some other odds and ends. But MAINGEAR also threw in a very cool little screwdriver pocket set with both Phillips and flat heads.

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