Maingear Potenza Super Stock SFF System Review

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Every Maingear system we've reviewed has delivered a white glove experience beginning with the contents. Maingear takes the simple process of bundling cords, drivers discs, paperwork, and other included goodies and transforms it into a bona fide welcome package that makes you feel as though you're part of an elite club. In some respects, you are. Unlike any of the bulk OEM vendors, Maingear systems, including the Potenza reviewed here, come with an optional "Out of Box" experience with gifts wrapped in a customized binder.

The Out of Box Experience bundle includes:
  • Maingear t-shirt
  • Mini toolkit
  • Maingear mousepad
  • Maingear pen
  • Customized plastic binder
  • Quality control checklist signed by two senior technicians
  • Owners manual
  • Various paperwork, driver discs, and applicable free game codes

This is precisely the sort of the thing the boutique buying experience is all about, or at least it should be. Maingear's attention to detail here is what separates the boutique buying experience from that of shopping a bulk OEM PC or picking up a computer at your local Wally World.

Another upside to shopping a premium system vendor is the lack of performance robbing trialware and other cruft that can muck up an otherwise clean Windows install. As you can see in the screenshot above, Maingear's awesome "Zero Bloatware" policy is in full effect. You inevitably end up paying more for the luxury of a clean desktop -- third-party companies pay big bucks to have their wares littered across OEM desktops, which can result in lower priced system configurations -- but you gain an uncluttered system that's firing on all cylinders.

When configuring a Potenza, or any Maingear system, you want to be sure and scan for any free promos you might be eligible for and mark the appropriate checkboxes. If buying a Potenza today, checkboxes include:
  • $15 credit for Windows 8 Pro Upgrade with purchase of Windows 7 -- details at
  • $50 Tribes Ascende Promo Pack
  • FREE! Just Cause 2
  • FREE! Dirt SHOWDOWN with purchase of Radeon HD graphics!
  • Maingear Dual-Sided Poster 18x24 inches

Our review system shipped with an Nvidia graphics card so it's not eligible for the Dirt Showdown freebie offer, but it does include Just Cause 2 and other goodies.

Maingear's bloatless installation policy also means your system ships without any security software, leaving you on your own to choose an antivirus solution. That's not a problem for tech savvy users, but for the less experienced, this could be a problem. Fortunately, Maingear does give users the option of having Microsoft's free Security Essentials program pre-installed. It's not the best or fastest performing AV program out there, but it does a good job overall and is certainly better than surfing the Web naked (figuratively folks).

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eunoia 2 years ago


insidesin 2 years ago

Eventually everything gets smaller and slimmer. I wasn't too long ago that flat screen monitors were replaced CRT monitors. Perhaps gaming rigs much farther in the future will shrink down to the size of a Mac Mini or even further, a Raspberry Pi.

karanm 2 years ago

The problem that I find with a lot of mini itx cases is usually their depth, If you want to build a system with a decent graphics card then it can get too deep to fit inside a media cabinet. By mounting the graphic card vertically Maingear solved this problem but I guess ran into another problem of having the back I/O in an awkward position. Either way this is a powerful and small system.

Can this be the prize for the next contest?? That would be AWESOME!!

MCaddick 2 years ago

Why does Maingear KEEP releasing stuff as if they designed and manufactured it themselves, when they are really just re-badging great designs/products from others?

The case is from Silverstone (FT03-mini).

I built an i5 based HTPC with one several months ago, and it IS a brilliant case and will fit dual-slot video cards unlike a lot of mini-ITX solutions. The 140mm fan blowing air from the bottom of the case up through the chassis and out the top grill works brilliantly.

Erakith 2 years ago

[quote user="MCaddick"]

Why does Maingear KEEP releasing stuff as if they designed and manufactured it themselves, when they are really just re-badging great designs/products from others?

The case is from Silverstone (FT03-mini)


I'm so glad someone said this.

I like Maingear, the computers they build are relatively well priced for prebuilt machines, and are always nice eye-candy.

But this is not their case. Neither is their flagship case either; that's a SilverStone too. They should at least credit SIlverStone when describing the case on the build page. It's not a Maingear i5/i7, it's intel. so why can't they call it the Maingear Potenza, that uses the FT03 Mini?

karanm 2 years ago

@MCaddick you are absolutely right, I saw a video review for that case a while back and realized my mistake once I read your post. As for the other builds from Maingear they are usually parts that anybody can throw together (I don't know why I thought they made a case out of no where). it's mainly the Maingear laptops that impress me. 

LBowen 2 years ago

Maingear astounds once again. Definitely one of the tops when it comes to high performance builds. I certainly wouldn't mind one of these for a portable gaming system.

MDerby 2 years ago

The only thing I like about this is the case, build quality, and pre-built. What I don't like THE PRICE for what you get, I'd prefer to build my own if that meant that I would save a few bucks to get the same results.

realneil 2 years ago

It performs well. I think I would prefer not to have the Maingear name brightly painted on it. The case looks good without that flash on it.

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