My Maingear Experience

MightyGeekMan

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Feb 11, 2008
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69
After much deliberation, I finally placed an order with Maingear for a new computer on February 20, 2008. I'll use this thread to discuss my experience with Maingear, from the initial ordering process all the way through to whatever conclusion, good or bad, the entire process leads. First, let's discuss the ordering process.

As I made my way through the Maingear website, configuring my new dream machine, I found myself impressed with the layout and design of the site with only a couple of caveats.
  1. The splash page that appears after you've chosen the base machine and before you begin configuring it to your liking acts only to slow down the ordering process. There must to be a better way to integrate all the "feature" information without REQUIRING the visitor to click through it.
  2. There is no running total next to the configuring screen to keep the visitor informed of the price of the system they're creating. Having one would make the process a little easier for people who are building a machine based on a predetermined budget. As it was, I went back and forth a few times, changing this or that option, to get the machine to better match my budget.
After creating my machine and adding it to my cart, I started the checkout process but stopped nearly immediately. I did this because although the site was asking for some personal information including my name, email and address, there was no "lock" icon in my browser. To me, that meant the website was not secure even though I was being asked to supply my identity. That is a big no-no for any legitimate company that wants my business. I brought this up in these forums and the problem has since been rectified. However, at the time I nearly took my business elsewhere which is why I'm bringing it up here again.

So, based on the glowing recommendations I found here and elsewhere, I instead called the Maingear sales number on the website and ordered my computer that way. I spoke with Rafael, a sales rep who was VERY courteous and helpful even though I was skeptical and gun-shy by this point, and after taking my order he told me that I would be contacted soon by email by the actual build technician in charge of building my machine. This helped put my mind at ease about my order and I hung up feeling as if I had put my faith in a company that truly cared about their customers.

The machine I ordered was as follows;

F131 SLI
Exterior Automotive Color: Black Brushed Aluminum Finish
Power Supply: 750W MAINGEAR Ultra Quiet Power Supply
Motherboard: NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI Motherboard
Processor: Intel Q6600 Core 2 Quad (2.4GHz x 4) $91.65
CPU Cooling: Zalman Ultra Quiet CNPS9500 LED 92mm $99.99
CPU Cooler w/ Copper Base
Memory: 4GB Corsair XMS2 PC2 6400 $95.00
Do you want us to RedlineT your CPU?: YES
Hard Drive One: Western Digital Caviar SE16 500GB $56.24
7200RPM 16MB Cache - SATA II
Flash Card Reader: All-in-One Internal USB 2.0 $29.99
Flash Card Reader & Writer
Optical Drive One: 20X Dual Layer DVD±RW Drive w/LightScribe Technology - black
Optical Drive Two: 16X DVD-ROM - Black $29.25
Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForceT 8800GT 512MB DDR3
Do you want us to RedlineT your GPU?: NO
Sound Card: Integrated 8-channel High Definition Audio
Network Card: Integrated Gigabit Network Card
Game: FREE! Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition $33.67
The Final Finesse: Flawless Hand-crafted Wiring and Cable Management
Warranty: 1 Year Maingear Warranty
PRODUCT SUBTOTAL: $2,138.94
Next, the looooong wait...
 

MightyGeekMan

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Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
After ordering the computer on February 20th, I received an email confirmation with my order number and login information for their website. Then, amazingly, I received another email the very next day with the message;
"We wanted to let you know that order number XXXXX that you placed on 2/21/2008 has been processed and will be shipped soon."
Aside from the date I placed my order being off by one day, I couldn't believe how fast the whole process was going and I set about making my office ready for my new computer that would surely arrive sooner than I had ever dared hope. From reading reviews of Maingear, I knew that the actual tech responsible for building my machine would be contacting me shortly to inform me of how my build was progressing and ask me about partitioning, display resolutions, special installs and other assorted minutia. I was beside myself with anticipation as I waited to hear from Maingear.

And waited and waited and waited.

After 2 weeks of waiting I was a little concerned, so I called Maingear and spoke once again with Rafael and was told that my machine was number three on their list of machines to be built and that a tech would be contacting me in the next couple of days. Another week of silence passed before I called again, this time to be told the tech was starting on my machine that very day. Lo and behold, 2 hours later I received an email from Giovanni (Hi dude! I know you're reading this!) stating that he was working on my build and if I had any questions he was there to help. A couple of days later I received another email that my machine was being shipped and a tracking number.

In all, it took 30 days from placing my order to the order being shipped. Not a horrible turnaround time for a boutique builder, but not as quick as I would have liked, especially since I had been misinformed via Maingear's email that I would receive my machine within two weeks of placing my order. Also, one small note about the personalization so many have mentioned, on these forums and elsewhere, about Maingear. Although I was asked how I wanted the drive partitioned, which I want to make clear is FAR more than any large builder will do for its customers, I had thought from reading other people's reviews that I would also be asked about special software installs, OS and software updates I might require to be or not be pre-installed, and my preferred screen resolution amongst other things. I was asked none of those questions. Now, I cannot in good faith mark this as a negative in my experience with Maingear because I was never promised any of that, and truthfully, just having the option of the hard drive being partitioned to my specifications is a MAJOR bonus. So, I can honestly say that even though I didn't get the level of hand-holding I had been lead to believe I should expect, I'm not disappointed in the least with how this entire process has been handled so far.

All told, Maingear has impressed me with their professionalism and customer service throughout this entire process so far. They really seem to be interested in one-to-one interaction with each customer, and I believe that each member of the Maingear team tries very hard to do all they can to make the entire experience of working with them as easy for each customer as possible. All I need to do now is wait for my computer to arrive and, once it does, I'll be sure to relate the entire experience to everyone here by updating this post.
 

WhiteGuardian

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
421
1 month and it's still not shipped? That's pretty long for a mid-ranged system..other boutiques like velocity micro has like a 10 period before they ship it.
 

MightyGeekMan

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Feb 11, 2008
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That's interesting. I didn't think much of it, but now it does seem like a long time. I wonder what the "normal" order-to-ship time frame for a boutique like Maingear, VM, Puget, AVA, et. al is? Anyone else out there know?
 

Omaura

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 25, 2008
Messages
87
Normally it's much shorter - about 2 weeks, or 10 business days. Sometimes there are delays, and believe me, they happen at EVERY company - I think I've worked with more boutiques than anyone in the business. ;)
 

bigted

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - Oct. 2013
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3,334
it's good to hear good experiences with places, it's all too often that you only hear the bad, thanks OP
 

WhiteGuardian

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Feb 15, 2008
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dunno about Puget or AVA but I had a couple of friends that bought from VM and one of their's shipped in 8 days and the other in 10 days but that was during holidays. They have a estimator on their website that says 8 days before shipping, but that's not always accurate. But I'm sure it's not gonna be 3x that time.
 

Omaura

Weaksauce
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Jan 25, 2008
Messages
87
dunno about Puget or AVA but I had a couple of friends that bought from VM and one of their's shipped in 8 days and the other in 10 days but that was during holidays. They have a estimator on their website that says 8 days before shipping, but that's not always accurate. But I'm sure it's not gonna be 3x that time.

You seem to be very focused on whatever you can nit pick with MG - is there a particular reason?

And like I said, delays happen at every company, I have personally witnessed it.

This is an overclocked system. They get extra special attention. Perhaps that should be more clearly enumerated in the check out process - if instabilities occur in speed-binning chips, or if lengthened burn in periods yield failures, you have to start the process over again.
 

WhiteGuardian

Limp Gawd
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Feb 15, 2008
Messages
421
You seem to be very focused on whatever you can nit pick with MG - is there a particular reason?

And like I said, delays happen at every company, I have personally witnessed it.

This is an overclocked system. They get extra special attention. Perhaps that should be more clearly enumerated in the check out process - if instabilities occur in speed-binning chips, or if lengthened burn in periods yield failures, you have to start the process over again.

how is answering to what the OP asked nit picking MG? I'm telling him facts that I found and real situations instead of generalizations.
And yes, I find the maingear staffs on this forum very rude, especially to the other boutiques.
 

Omaura

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Jan 25, 2008
Messages
87
how is answering to what the OP asked nit picking MG? I'm telling him facts that I found and real situations instead of generalizations.
And yes, I find the maingear staffs on this forum very rude, especially to the other boutiques.

If you're referring to the exchange yesterday, that was the culmination of keeping quiet while competitors curve ball MG's reputation, make remarks about them, and butt into threads. In particular, AVA decided that the day MG started THIS promotion that they would make snide remarks about such marketing activities. MG is one of only TWO boutiques that gave back to the [H] community during [H] Consumer by supporting the program through ad dollars.

I'm personal friends with most of the boutique guys in the business. We all get together for drinks and fun at industry events, and we all pretty much get along. Heck, Heather Taylor from Puget and I used to work together at one point. What none of us like is some of the behavior that has been going on in these and other forums, and what you saw yesterday were passionate people fed up with it.
 

michael.pa2

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Dec 26, 2006
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I really saw nothing snide in AVA's remarks,they simply stated they would rather offer consistent savings over occasional promotions. And I haven't really seen anyone trying to"curveball" Maingear. Why not just let the products speak for themselves,and keep the infighting out of the forums?
 

flurp

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Aug 14, 2004
Messages
111
I too would caution the reps of the various companies to remain civil.

I absolutely want to see them discuss the merits of their systems in the context of a comparison to another builder, but when i see aggressiveness or combative responses, oftentimes with more heat than is required, it makes me question how I, as a customer, might be treated, or thought of behind the scenes, should I be deemed as the "enemy".

I'm shopping for a system and will pull the trigger within the next 2-3 weeks on a mid-range system and I came to this thread (and others) because Maingear is one of the top contenders for my business and I certainly don't want to see their reps going off on anyone.

This isn't the Counterstrike forums. E-Peen battles are an extremely poor choice on the part of any business. This should be considered as a valuable tool for these reps to build credibility and reinforce customer confidence.
 

DRB

n00b
Joined
Jul 17, 2007
Messages
8
I ordered my F131 on 2-21-08 and received an email on 3-21-08 that the rig was built and shipped. Maingear told me when I placed the order that it would take 3-4 weeks to ship, which was correct. Mine is overclocked which is why it took a little longer. The bottom line is this - I have no problem waiting as long as it takes for Maingear to build a solid, properly working and stable system and I am CONFIDENT that is what they will deliver.When you order the BEST, you expect the BEST and you dont mind the wait to get the BEST. Maingear is a great company with dedicated people who do everything they can to give you a great product in return for your hard earned cash that you spend. Yes, I am a Fanboy of Maingear and proud of it!
 

Heather Taylor

Velocity Micro Customer Experience Specialist
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
620
I'm personal friends with most of the boutique guys in the business. We all get together for drinks and fun at industry events, and we all pretty much get along. Heck, Heather Taylor from Puget and I used to work together at one point. What none of us like is some of the behavior that has been going on in these and other forums, and what you saw yesterday were passionate people fed up with it.

Something everyone outside should know about this sector of the industry is that everyone knows everyone else, and most of us have had some kind of relationship with one or more builders (no West Virginia jokes, please).

I know Chris well--we still talk often, and I still ask him for advice on sticky HTPC questions--and I've become friends or acquaintances with almost every other personality who pops up on these forums. In general, we have great respect for one another personally and professionally. While we are competitors, we are also comrades in an industry that has few successful participants. Conflict, therefore, is kind of inevitable. It's probably even healthy.

All of these guys have strong personalities, and all of them are passionate about what they do. It's how they got to be where they are. [H] forums got to see some of that passion up close and personal. :D
 

MightyGeekMan

Weaksauce
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Feb 11, 2008
Messages
69
Amazingly, even though I had gotten an email stating that my machine had been completed and was being shipped on Thursday, March 20th, I actually received it as I was leaving my home for Easter weekend on Friday, March 21st! No amount of cajoling or begging would convince my wife that we should postpone our departure for a day so I could play with my new toy, so instead I had to wait until today to open up my new toy. I took many pictures of my entire unboxing experience and I have a few notes about it to share with everyone.
  • After a careful visual inspection I noted no glaring issues like dents or scratches on the case
  • The interior of my new machine also seemed to be in perfect shape with no loose wires, screws or components in sight.
  • The case is very nice looking, but much bigger than I expected. It exceeds the dimensions of my previous case in every direction which will make positioning it on my desk problematic.
  • The cabling is impeccable, although a few wires and cables seem to be a little too tight with no slack whatsoever. Not a problem if you're like me and never plan on upgrading, but could be an issue for DIYs or tinkerers.
I find it interesting that such a well made machine that was packaged so nicely had two oddities that had me laughing out loud to myself. First, on the box there was the Maingear logo and a slogan I can't imagine is spelled correctly. The slogan reads, "You're Life. You're Style. You're Gear." Which is odd to me, since I don't think anyone believes they are (You're = You Are) life, or that they are gear unless their name is Data, T1000 or some other cybernetic life form. Although personally I could believe that I am style, I don't think anyone else on the planet would believe me. I think what was meant was, "Your Life. Your Style. Your Gear." But hey, I've been wrong before.

Secondly, I knew just by looking at my new computers beautiful black case that it had been hand assembled by a real person. I knew this not because someone told me, but because of all the fingerprints on the case. A note to potential identity thieves scared by fingerprint identification services, order a Maingear computer and you just might be able to steal someone's identity!

I'll be setting up the computer sometime this week, I'm just waiting for some other parts to arrive like a new keyboard and mouse. I've also got to travel from Thursday to Thursday so I might just wait until I return next week before setting it up and playing with it. Once I've had it up and running for a week I'll be back to present my thoughts on everything. However, so far I am very, very happy with my purchase.

Pictures below...

Unboxing:


Exterior:


Interior:
 

Omaura

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"I find it interesting that such a well made machine that was packaged so nicely had two oddities that had me laughing out loud to myself. First, on the box there was the Maingear logo and a slogan I can't imagine is spelled correctly. The slogan reads, "You're Life. You're Style. You're Gear." Which is odd to me, since I don't think anyone believes they are (You're = You Are) life, or that they are gear unless their name is Data, T1000 or some other cybernetic life form. Although personally I could believe that I am style, I don't think anyone else on the planet would believe me. I think what was meant was, "Your Life. Your Style. Your Gear." But hey, I've been wrong before."

Spelling errors suck, eh? ;) The box company gave MG a nice discount for that little error. ;)
 

WhiteGuardian

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
421
I find it interesting that such a well made machine that was packaged so nicely had two oddities that had me laughing out loud to myself. First, on the box there was the Maingear logo and a slogan I can't imagine is spelled correctly. The slogan reads, "You're Life. You're Style. You're Gear." Which is odd to me, since I don't think anyone believes they are (You're = You Are) life, or that they are gear unless their name is Data, T1000 or some other cybernetic life form. Although personally I could believe that I am style, I don't think anyone else on the planet would believe me. I think what was meant was, "Your Life. Your Style. Your Gear." But hey, I've been wrong before.
Snips pictures*

Wow, that wiring is amazing, probably the best I've seen in a while.
But seriously lol that grammar mistake is kind of embarrassing.
 

NKDietrich

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jul 25, 2004
Messages
5,442
I should see if one of these boutique builders will take my rig and do cable management for me on it ;) Ive built so many rats nest over the years.
 

SouLXIV

Gawd
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Jan 20, 2008
Messages
670
One of my biggest pet peeves, and yeah, I quite literally blushed. ;)

I think you meant "figuratively".

Sounds like the person from Maingear that submitted the design made that mistake lol, how would the box company make a mistake like that unless the design was flawed in the first place.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
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3,254
I've heard of people wearing like latex gloves or things along those lines when working on their case, to keep fingerprints off, anyone have any firsthand experience with that? (i.e. Maingear ;))
 

Omaura

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Messages
87
I think you meant "figuratively".

Sounds like the person from Maingear that submitted the design made that mistake lol, how would the box company make a mistake like that unless the design was flawed in the first place.

I've personally had it happen to me when things were improperly transcribed or another's auto-correct had run amok. It does happen. ;)
 

AndonSage

Gawd
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Jan 19, 2007
Messages
897
Not that fingerprints on a case would bug me, but I don't think latex gloves are necessary. Just wipe down the computer after building it :)
 

Heather Taylor

Velocity Micro Customer Experience Specialist
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Messages
620
I've personally had it happen to me when things were improperly transcribed or another's auto-correct had run amok. It does happen. ;)

Heck, it even happens on other things...not just boxes. My nameplate at one particular company was "Customer Care Coordianter" for about six months. I still have it as a testimony to the fact that titles don't mean nearly as much as you'd think. LOL.
 

Omaura

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Heck, it even happens on other things...not just boxes. My nameplate at one particular company was "Customer Care Coordianter" for about six months. I still have it as a testimony to the fact that titles don't mean nearly as much as you'd think. LOL.

Hehehe, you and I have seen a few. ;)
 
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