Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
Anyone who has been around the custom PC scene likely knows the name MAINGEAR. MAINGEAR for the uninitiated is a custom or boutique PC builder who makes showcase level systems that can ship to your door. Now, obviously, me being the guy that tests cases, PSUs, and Custom cooling, you can bet we are not testing a fully built MAINGEAR system today. We are, however, testing a MAINGEAR chassis with their Apex ICS.
MAINGEAR makes a system called Vybe, which is the chassis we are going to be testing today. It is a relatively standard smooth front panel chassis with a flexible and functional design for both air and liquid cooling based builds. MAINGEAR over the past few years have stepped up their liquid cooling game beyond off the shelf parts, to working with companies like Bitspower to outfit select chassis such as the Vybe and F131 with a custom liquid cooling manifold/distribution plate which MAINGEAR calls Apex cooling.
MAINGEAR is not like a typical case company and, therefore, does not have a features list for me to dig into. MAINGEAR's page for the Vybe chassis is quite simple and to the point with the only real description being as follows.
"As a master sculptor starts from a fine piece of clay, a master PC must start with fine case. With a built-in RBG and fan controller, you never have to worry about motherboard pins again. Prepared to be super cool with support for two radiators with no modifications."
So with that, we can say that the apparent target is build and system design flexibility, which I am sure is a welcome thing for both the MAINGEAR system building team who use this chassis daily. This may also be of great benefit to DIY users as MAINGEAR has made the Vybe available as just a chassis for enthusiast builders. We will see on the upcoming pages what MAINGEAR did with the Vybe and any tangible value it adds compared to a conventional chassis.
The name of the chassis, as mentioned before, is the Vybe, although this one is technically labeled the Vybe Mk. V. The Vybe measures in at 444.75mm high, 431.80mm deep, and 200mm wide. The width could be a bit of a concern here as being a bit wider will allow for more clearance between the motherboard components such as RAM to fit without the top-mounted AIO or LCS to interfere.
Motherboard fitment is ITX up to ATX, although from my view internally, there should be enough room to fit EATX here as well; we will test that when we build in it. HDD and SSD fitment number up to two 3.5" drives in a cage below the PSU shroud, while 2.5" can fit up to four. The SSD fitment is behind the motherboard tray and the adjacent front section via removable trays. However, the chassis we received only had two trays, so while you may be able to fit up to four SSD, you may need to get extra trays from MAINGEAR.
PSU space is up to 200mm, which should cover all but the most astronomical 1600W units, which are not necessarily realistic in this mid-tower chassis. The PSU shroud is built-in and covers the entirety of the PSU from view through the tempered glass panel. The front-most section of the shroud had a pass-through opening for a radiator or fans to fit through the shroud itself into the lower chamber. The PSU shroud is also ventilated so that heat cannot be trapped, and air can flow into or out of the lower chamber.
Cooling fitment for the Vybe is up to two larger 240mm radiators, one in front and one up top. The front from initial looking appears to fit up to a 360mm radiator, but we will explore that as we dig into the chassis. Fan fitment looks to be right around triple 120 upfront and triple up top or even 140mm dual front and top. The rear is adjustable mounting for a 120mm fan with up to 20mm vertical adjustment in 4mm steps. CPU cooler height is limited to 200mm, or let's just say, not so limited. Preinstalled fans number three, which are all 120mm standard black fans and are 3-wire DC controlled.
The price of the black Vybe chassis is $119.99 form MAINGEAR direct. The Apex ICS is $149 from MAINGEAR, and the two in one package as we received today would be $269. We will be testing the Vybe chassis as a chassis aloe before adding liquid cooling, so let's focus on that $119.99 price point. In this range, as always, it can be quite competitive. Competitors at this price point will be the MasterCase H500, MB530P, and MC500 from Cooler Master. Also, the 220T from Corsair and DG-77 from EVGA. For around $10 more, we enter the territory of the Define R6 from Fractal. So, in a nutshell, MAINGEAR and their Vybe will have to show some engineering prowess to excel among these entries.
Shannon's Chassis Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus XI Extreme (Wi-Fi) Z390 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair H100i Pro RGB (buy from Amazon)
- Memory: Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB CMW32GX4M4C3000C15 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 Gaming Z (buy from Amazon)
- Storage: SanDisk M.2 256GB
- Power Supply: SilverStone Strider Platinum 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging]
- Page 3 [MAINGEAR Vybe Mid-Tower Chassis]
- Page 4 [Inside the Vybe]
- Page 5 [Inside the Vybe Continued]
- Page 6 [Hardware & Documentation]
- Page 7 [Case Build & Finished Product]
- Page 8 [Liquid cooling parts for the build]
- Page 9 [Liquid cooled finished build]
- Page 10 [Final Thoughts]