Help me decide...

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Hello all.
Please excuse my longwindedness. I wanted to be thorough.

I'm looking for a new computer and have narrowed my choices to the two rigs below. If it helps, I don't game but I'm a professional graphic artist (PhotoShop and Illustrator) and photographer who dabbles in video editing and Flash creation.

Maingear F131 SLI - $2,171.51
  • Black Brushed Aluminum Finish
  • 750W MAINGEAR Ultra Quiet Power Supply
  • NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI Motherboard
  • Q6600 Core 2 Quad (2.4GHz x 4)
  • Zalman Ultra Quiet CNPS9500 LED 92mm CPU Cooler w/ Copper Base
  • 4GB Corsair XMS2 PC2 6400
  • Overclocked CPU (Redline)
  • Western Digital Caviar SE16 320GB 7200RPM 16MB Cache - SATA II
  • All-in-One Internal USB 2.0 Flash Card Reader & Writer
  • 20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Drive w/ LightScribe Technology - black
  • 16X DVD-ROM - Black
  • NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8800GT 512MB DDR3
  • FREE! Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
  • Integrated 8-channel High Definition Audio
  • Integrated Gigabit Network Card
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
  • 1 Year Maingear Warranty


Velocity Micro z55 - $2379
  • LX Black - Velocity Micro Signature Aluminum Case - Full Sized chassis, removable front door
  • Aluminum Wheel Kit
  • 850 Watt Velocity Micro® Power Supply - Nvidia® SLI™ Certified
  • EVGA nForce 780i SLI, Socket 775, PCI-E, DDR2
  • Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor Q6600, quad 2.4GHz cores, 8MB L2 Cache
  • Arctic Cooling® Freezer 7 Pro Heatsink, Ultra Quiet Fan, Copper Heat Pipes, plus Arctic Silver™ 5 Thermal Compound
  • 4096MB Corsair™ DDR2 PC6400 DDR2-800 (4x1024)
  • 512MB eVGA GeForce 8800GT DDR3 PCI-E w/HDCP
  • Basic 3D Video Performance Tuning & Optimization
  • On-Board Integrated High Definition 7.1 Channel Sound
  • 500GB Hitachi 7200rpm 16MB Cache SATA 300 w/NCQ
  • 20x Lite On® DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner with LightScribe Labeling Technology, Black
  • 16x DVD/48x CD-RW Lite On® Combo Drive, Black Bezel
  • 8-in-1 Floppy Drive & Media Reader Combo, Black Bezel
  • Genuine Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional SP2 on original CD
  • FREE Lost Planet Extreme Condition game
  • Rounded Silver Braided IDE and Floppy Cables
  • Immaculate custom hand wiring for ultimate air flow, assembled in Richmond, Virginia, USA
  • Individual custom testing for complete system functionality, signed by the system builder and QA inspector
  • Owner's Portfolio with Velocity Micro manual, driver disks, and accessory pack
  • 1 Yr VelocityCare™ Parts & Labor Ltd Warranty, 1 Yr 24/7 Support with Emergency Hours, and On-Site Service (+$69.00)
  • Velocity Micro Lifetime Upgrade Plan allows you to return your system for maintenance, discounted upgrades, and tuning

The main differences between the two rigs I can see are as follows;

Velocity Micro's MB is an eVGA while Maingear doesn't mention who makes theirs.
Velocity Micro's graphics card is an eVGA while Maingear doesn't mention who makes theirs.
Maingear will overclock the CPU and GPU, Velocity Micro only "tunes" the GPU.
Maingear doesn't mention the maker of their optical drives, Velocity Micro uses Lite-On.
I don't think the power supply difference will matter for my needs.
Hard drive size doesn't matter to me since I use external NAS for all my files.
The service and support of both Maingear and Velocity Micro seem to be about equal according to the reviews I've managed to find online.

My questions are:
Which of these would you recommend and why?
What changes to the config would you make for me, and why?
If you've bought from either in the past, what has your experience been like?

Thanks!
MightyGeekMan
 

AndonSage

Gawd
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
897
These are some of my thoughts...

Do the programs that you use like lots of memory? If so, you should call the companies and find out if the motherboards support 8GB (they should, but best to be sure). If you think you'll ever want to go up to 8GB, get 2 x 2GB memory chips so you can just add 2 more chips later.

The Zalman HSF rates better than the Arctic Cooling at http://www.silentpcreview.com/article30-page1.html

Call VM or ask Randy (velocitymicro) in this forum if they will overclock the Q6600, and if so, how much it costs.

If you need a Floppy Drive, you'll have to change the spec of the Maingear and switch out the All-in-One Internal USB 2.0 Flash Card Reader & Writer for something with a Floppy Drive.

VM looks like it has better cabling, although Maingear may just not list that spec in their config. I don't know how Maingear does their cabling.

VM has on-site service in their warranty. I don't know if Maingear does.

For me, the difference would come down to who will overclock your CPU, which right now looks like Maingear. Also, the Maingear is $200 less. How important is that to you?

I have not bought from either company, so I don't have any personal experience to provide.
 

Zero82z

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 20, 2004
Messages
27,897
If you don't game, you may as well ditch the 8800GT and go with a budget card to save a few bucks. Since you'll just be doing image and video work, a good video card won't do anything for you.
 

Peter_Moeller

Maingear Computer Marketing Director
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
23
Hello all.
Please excuse my longwindedness. I wanted to be thorough.

I'm looking for a new computer and have narrowed my choices to the two rigs below. If it helps, I don't game but I'm a professional graphic artist (PhotoShop and Illustrator) and photographer who dabbles in video editing and Flash creation.


The main differences between the two rigs I can see are as follows;

Velocity Micro's MB is an eVGA while Maingear doesn't mention who makes theirs.
Velocity Micro's graphics card is an eVGA while Maingear doesn't mention who makes theirs.
Maingear will overclock the CPU and GPU, Velocity Micro only "tunes" the GPU.
Maingear doesn't mention the maker of their optical drives, Velocity Micro uses Lite-On.
I don't think the power supply difference will matter for my needs.
Hard drive size doesn't matter to me since I use external NAS for all my files.
The service and support of both Maingear and Velocity Micro seem to be about equal according to the reviews I've managed to find online.

My questions are:
Which of these would you recommend and why?
What changes to the config would you make for me, and why?
If you've bought from either in the past, what has your experience been like?

Thanks!
MightyGeekMan

Hey MightyGeekMan,

All of our motherboards and graphics cards are EVGA. The Optical Drive is LiteOn as well. Our cable management is impecable and something we are very well known for. With purchase of a Flashcard reader you can specify to have a floppy drive included, no charge.

Either config is great. The one you have listed above is very similar to our Web developers setup. In any case, Goodluck with your choice and happy hunting!:D
 

jkalland

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
95
Both are good... guess it depends on which one you have a preference towards...I personally have never dealt with either, but if I'm nto msitaken, BestBuy sells velocity...so you get the "brick and mortar" advantage there [plus a try before you buy opportunity]
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
AndonSage:
The programs I use do hog memory (especially PhotoShop), but as far as I know none can use more than what WinXP itself can use, which is about 4GB. I IM'd VM and was told they don't overclock the CPU. I don't need a floppy drive, so that's not an issue and the cabling seems to be equal for both companies. One thing that I don't think I like is that VM has on-site service options whereas Maingear doesn't. It might be rarely needed, but it is still a comfort.

Zero82z:
The 8800GT is the lowest card offered on the Maingear site. And I might need that power for running a giant 30" monitor. ;)

Peter_Moeller:
Thank you for responding here! It's nice to know that your MB and graphics card matches that of the VM rig. Now it feels like a real apples to apples comparison. The only question I still have would be the warranty differences between Maingear and VM which is why I'm still waiting for people to chime in with some real-life experiences before I pull the trigger here.

jkalland:
I don't have a preference yet, which is why I'm here asking! :)
 

Velocity_Micro

President & CEO
Joined
Jun 13, 2005
Messages
278
I think our Z15 is a better match with our new GX2 case. Here is a link to something I built that should match the general specs of the Z55 system you designed on our site for only $2088. Diffs are the case is a tiny bit less (but still all aluminum) and the tuning is a bit less. People on these forums can help you crank it up as needed.

You'll only be able to use about 3.2GB of the DDR2 memory due to the Windows limitation, so you may want to dial back to 3GB and save another $50.

Good luck in your quest!

Randy

Edit: Oops, missed the 850w PSU, making the total $2213 with onsite.
 

jkalland

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
95
Yea..that's a good point about the RAM, unless you have x64, it will cap at 3.2GBs [my $8 x64 upgrade disc is in the mail, thank god...but that offer, as far as I know, is Business & Ultimate Editions only]
 

Usquabach

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
434
if you plan to game, no it would not be the best bet

if not, remember they cost more $$
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Velocity_Micro:
Thank you for responding to my inquiry! The rig you've got spec'd out seems pretty good to me, aside from the case being a little... underwhelming. Plus, you included the mouse and keyboard in the price which I don't need. So all told the price would be $2,193, which all but negates Maingear's price advantage. Of course, this puts me right back at square one, but hey, that's why I'm asking for people to tell me their experiences, right?

And, for what it's worth, I've got to say that just the fact that both Maingear and VM took the time to respond to this post makes me 1,000,000,000 times more confident in their claims of superb customer service and support. I honestly don't think I'd go wrong with either company, which is of course making my buying decision all the harder. Damn you free choice!

Peter_Moeller:
If you're still checking this thread, does Maingear include an original Windows XP CD with each computer like VM, or do I only get the operating system pre-installed on the computer?

jkalland:
The RAM might be a bottleneck here, but I simply cannot install Vista for business reasons, so I'm kind of stuck with 32bit WinXP.

vixer & Usquabach:
Didn't quite understand where vixer was going with those suggestions, but neither of those are available from Maingear or VM for the computers I'm looking at, and Usquabach is right that they cost more in other config's.

Does anyone have personal experience with either Maingear or VM machines in the past year and want to praise/blast them and help me make a decision? Anyone?
 

Peter_Moeller

Maingear Computer Marketing Director
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
23

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Peter_Moeller:
You will recieve the original Windows XP CD.
Thanks!
One more question for you, Peter. I see that you've got sections of your website "under construction." Any chance you'd be willing to give me a hint as to when they might go live? I'm in the market for an HTPC to compliment my home theater.
 

Omaura

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 25, 2008
Messages
87
With Omaura's help, I'd expect Maingear will have HTPC systems very soon.

Absolutely! Like other hardware vendors in this industry, we are proud of our relationships with our partners and customers, and are committed to making sure our products are successful in the marketplace!
 

Heather Taylor

Velocity Micro Customer Experience Specialist
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
620
Absolutely! Like other hardware vendors in this industry, we are proud of our relationships with our partners and customers, and are committed to making sure our products are successful in the marketplace!

Omaura's cases are SWEET. I have one sitting on my desk right now....
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Omaura:
How soon would 'very soon' be? ;)

Also, prices at Maingear seem to have changed slightly in the last four days so the Maingear system is now at $2,231.05 making the cost difference between them and VM less than $150.All in all, the cost differential isn't the important thing to me, service and support is. And so far, both company's are knocking my socks off and I haven't even bought the computer yet.

I'll be making my decision by Monday the 18th, so if anyone has something to add, now's the time!
 

aethelwulf

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 20, 2007
Messages
1,938
Might be too late, but is there a reason you're getting an SLI board if you're not a gamer? I would personally go with an intel chipset over nvidia.
 

Velocity_Micro

President & CEO
Joined
Jun 13, 2005
Messages
278
Might be too late, but is there a reason you're getting an SLI board if you're not a gamer? I would personally go with an intel chipset over nvidia.


We love the Nvidia board, even for non-gamers. It's rock solid and we have far more experience with it, since we sell so many. I wouldn't worry about that.
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
After MUCH deliberation, I have finally decided to make my purchase from Maingear. To VM, I'm sorry that you didn't win this time, but someone had to get my business today and unfortunately I chose your competitor. It was close though, very, very close.
The system I got is nearly identical to the one I originally posted, with the only changes being a larger hard drive (WD 500GB) and a price reduction to $2,188.32 including shipping. I'll be starting a new thread as soon as someone from Maingear contacts me to start building my rig. Wish me luck!

A note for Maingear:
As I was going through the ordering process on Maingear's website, I noticed that on the account creation page there was no "lock" icon in my browser, meaning the account creation pages ARE NOT secure. That might seem a minor thing, but considering the page was asking for my name, address, telephone number and such, it nearly made me change my mind and go with Velocity Micro instead. However, I canceled what I was doing, called Maingear's toll-free number and placed my order with a pleasant fellow named Rafael instead.
If Peter is still visiting this thread, you might want to bring up the security issue with whoever is in charge of your website. Should my order be to my satisfaction, I'd love to recommend your company to my clients (large and small graphic design studios) when they ask me for computer recommendations, but if I don't feel secure giving you my billing information then I don't feel I can recommend the business to you because they definitely won't feel secure giving you their info.
 

Peter_Moeller

Maingear Computer Marketing Director
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
23
After MUCH deliberation, I have finally decided to make my purchase from Maingear. To VM, I'm sorry that you didn't win this time, but someone had to get my business today and unfortunately I chose your competitor. It was close though, very, very close.
The system I got is nearly identical to the one I originally posted, with the only changes being a larger hard drive (WD 500GB) and a price reduction to $2,188.32 including shipping. I'll be starting a new thread as soon as someone from Maingear contacts me to start building my rig. Wish me luck!

A note for Maingear:
As I was going through the ordering process on Maingear's website, I noticed that on the account creation page there was no "lock" icon in my browser, meaning the account creation pages ARE NOT secure. That might seem a minor thing, but considering the page was asking for my name, address, telephone number and such, it nearly made me change my mind and go with Velocity Micro instead. However, I canceled what I was doing, called Maingear's toll-free number and placed my order with a pleasant fellow named Rafael instead.
If Peter is still visiting this thread, you might want to bring up the security issue with whoever is in charge of your website. Should my order be to my satisfaction, I'd love to recommend your company to my clients (large and small graphic design studios) when they ask me for computer recommendations, but if I don't feel secure giving you my billing information then I don't feel I can recommend the business to you because they definitely won't feel secure giving you their info.

MightyGeekMan, thank you for choosing us.

The security issue that you are facing I have already brought to our web team, just in case. However, our website is secure. The portion of the ordering process where you put any credit card information is secure and encrypted. Once past that point all information is secure and encrypted, including any saved information, in prior pages.
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Peter,

The problem isn't the credit card information, which you say (and I believe you) is secure, it's everything leading up to the CC info. The page where someone creates their Maingear login info isn't secure, or if it is, it doesn't appear to be and that can cause potential clients to feel unsafe in giving you their business.
 

Peter_Moeller

Maingear Computer Marketing Director
Joined
Nov 9, 2007
Messages
23
Peter,

The problem isn't the credit card information, which you say (and I believe you) is secure, it's everything leading up to the CC info. The page where someone creates their Maingear login info isn't secure, or if it is, it doesn't appear to be and that can cause potential clients to feel unsafe in giving you their business.

Understandable. Ours should be secure by tomorrow.
 
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