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Hard Stuff: Maingear VYBE Super Stock review


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.

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.