Hard Stuff: Maingear VYBE Super Stock review

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The pitch line for the VYBE Super Stock is “Geared for gamers—priced for the masses.” But can you really get something that sports a reasonable price tag and can also meet the specialized needs of gamers?

The VYBE SS doesn’t feel like a budget box. In fact, the customized BitFenix Shinobi case has a nice quality to it and is fairly quiet. And looking inside the case, it’s obvious that Maingear didn’t skimp on CPU. Using Intel’s epically fast and cheap quad-core 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K, the VYBE SS makes no apologies to any other chip save Intel’s new Core i7-3960X, which is a hell of a lot pricier. Maingear takes advantage of a self-contained water-cooling system to overclock the 2600K by 1GHz to 4.4GHz. The Core i7 is mounted in a Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3-iSSD motherboard, which features a mini 20GB Intel 311 SSD on it. This SSD is used to cache often-used files to immensely speed up access to the machine’s single 1TB 7,200rpm Hitachi hard drive. Other important specs include 8GB of Kingston DDR3/ 1600 RAM, a 24x DVD burner, and a fairly quiet Seasonic 660-watt PSU.

Who knew something's insides could look so cool.


The most important part of any gaming system is the graphics setup, and Maingear opts for two GeForce GTX 560 cards in SLI. Why not a single GeForce GTX 580 instead? The simple truth is that two GeForce GTX 560 cards often outgun a single GTX 580, and a single GTX 580 would be more expensive by about a hundred bucks too. The dual-card setup can hamstring you should you ever want to upgrade—you’ll have to jettison both older cards to do so—but for someone looking to pack in performance on a budget, the 560 cards makes immense sense.

In performance this baby doesn’t disappoint, and for kicks, I also fired up EA’s Battlefield 3 beta on the VYBE SS and found it pushing out around 50fps at 1920x1080 when set to high.
At $1,700, the Maingear VYBE SS does what it claims to do—gives gamers pretty damn good performance for a pretty damn good price. In other words, it’s all damn good.