PC gaming has always come down to either finding the best bang for the buck or for going all out if no budget is involved. When looking for a gaming setup, players either custom build a setup because they have the knowledge or they go the pre-built way which isn’t necessarily as cost-effective. But what if you could have both? MAINGEAR has introduced a line of gaming desktops known as the VYBE and they start off at only $699. Depending on what the player is aiming for in terms of graphical quality, they will pay more. With the VYBE, it seems to be cost effective to go this route with some perks involved. We were sent over a VYBE Stage 4 for review and this version of the gaming desktop is geared towards 4K gaming. In this day in age, that’s the way it should be.
A few years ago, PC players reversed the market and companies began to cater to these needs. Cheaper AMD processors and low to mid-level graphics cards became the norm as players realized they could have 1080p visuals with tons of effects turned on and get a frame rate that doubles or triples those of consoles. Going the 4K route was pricey and it’s safe to say that this VYBE Stage 4 will cost a pretty penny. But if this system were to be built with the same specs and parts, it’s actually cheaper to go this route. MAINGEAR specializes in creating its own PC cases and doesn’t use cheap parts in its builds. With the VYBE Stage 4, MAINGEAR not only implemented an RGB lighting solution, it added its own all-in-one cooler. The case is designed with air flow in mind and there are no worries about this system getting hot.
The VYBE Stage 4 allows air to be moved through the system and forced out the back. The case features a screen at the top, the power button and the USB ports on the side and a tempered glass to view just how clean the interior of the case remains. This full tower case already has everything needed to be ergonomically correct. The MAINGEAR logo on the front is integrated with the RGB on the interior as it comes with a remote control, rather than software, to adjust the color schemes on the fly. The AIO cooler also lights up along with a sliver of the included video card.
As mentioned before, MAINGEAR uses authentic parts when building its gaming machines. The VYBE Stage 4 is housed with a MSI Z390-A PRO motherboard, which is beyond solid for the effort. It includes two PCI-Express 3.0 slots for SLI if you’re looking to upgrade in the future. What is hidden with any MSI motherboard is the excellent BIOS utility that can be used for overclocking. MAINGEAR offers the best processor on the market with this build that is aimed at 4K gaming. Players can expect the Intel i9-9900K to be housed in the the MSI Z390-A PRO. At stock, the 9900K will run at 4.7 Ghz. What is spectacular is that we were able to overlock this bad boy to 5.2 Ghz, stable. This is thanks to the MAINGEAR Epic 240 AIO Cooler and the result was also without any fine tuning.
MAINGEAR sent us the boosted version which equates to about $250 more, but it’s ridiculous for what’s included. The boosted system features 32GB of HyperX Fury DDR4 RAM that runs at 2400 Mhz, stock. We were able to get the RAM speed up to 3200 Mhz while the processor was overclocked. This system simply is immediately reactive and booting the system takes under 10 seconds. There are a few corners that MAINGEAR did cut to make the price not completely outrageous. The power supply included is name brand with EVGA and is a bronze 80+ unit, but it only comes in at 750 watts. Imagine what could be pushed if this had a higher power supply. It is understandable that since there is a warranty involved, something higher could potentially ruin parts but that is like buying a Ferrari and only filling it up with 87 octane. The VYBEs are also touted to have Wi-Fi and the only thing that was included was a USB dongle that isn’t dependable for gaming. MSI offers motherboards that have Wi-Fi included, so that was also most likely a cost-effective measure. The last elements that the boosted version includes is Intel Optane NVME 1 TB and also a 2 TB Western Digital SSD.
The implemented RGB controller with the remote is really the only cost-effective measures that are there. The video card could arguably be the other, but it’s no slouch and will handle most 4K games at the highest settings without an issue. MAINGEAR included an ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Super Turbo EVO. While it’s not a 2080ti, it’s close behind it and is capable of ray tracing. There are, however, a few issues with this. The video card included only comes with one fan, so this thing does get hot. Under load, it was getting 80-85 degrees celsius but never had any issues with artifacting or crashing. Also, while ray tracing may be the future, it isn’t the current. When researching what available ray tracing games were on the market, it seemed to be about fifteen. Some of the titles such as Doom Eternal and Assetto Corsa: Competizione were listed for being compatible and well, they aren’t. Mechwarrior 5 is another that was listed, but the only thing it supported was the DLSS technology and not ray tracing. The problem here is that the next series of NVIDIA cards will really up the performance for ray tracing and with more games down the road implementing this, the current line of RTX cards won’t hang as well. If you are looking to purchase this or any system just to experience ray tracing, you should probably hold off. The list was disappointing and in the end, there were no games in our library to actually show this off and experience it.
The results from gaming were well expected. Gears 5 was tested, but unfortunately it never seemed to save the data while using FRAPS. The game was maxed out with its settings and it never dropped below 60 FPS in 4K with the high texture pack installed. As for the rest, we tested all these games at the highest settings: Doom Eternal, XCOM: Chimera Squad, The Division 2, Apex Legends, and World War Z. Doom Eternal is so well optimized and the game just released, so this was a must and the results were perfect. XCOM just released and isn’t that demanding. Apex Legends flourished with this setup and the game looked gorgeous. World War Z always has a lot going on and the system didn’t hesitate in offering the best experience out there. The one unicorn comes in the way of The Division 2. This game always seems to challenge when its fully maxed out no matter what the system is. The chart below shows off the minimum, maximum and average FPS in 4K at Ultra settings in each title.
Editing video and capturing gameplay was also a breeze with the VYBE Stage 4. Encoding a ten minute video only took about two to three minutes. The results of captured footage maintained its graphical integrity. Adobe would occasionally hesitate during editing, but that may have been more on the software side. Using OBS Studio to not only capture footage but also record with a camera also showed no faults. The VYBE Stage 4 is the ultimate multi-tasking machine.
There were also a couple of benchmarks we ran. These benchmarks produce a score that help gauge the system against other systems on the internet. Userbenchmark does not necessarily provide a score, but it did hit 108% for a gaming machine. The processor, RAM and video card are the true beasts that drive this monster. The other two benchmarks we used were FurMark ROG Edition and Cinebench. You can see these scores below and use these for a solid reference point against other PCs.
Compared to a current gaming PC setup that features an i7-8700 and a GTX 1080ti, the VYBE Stage 4 isn’t a huge upgrade over that. The traditional VYBE Stage 4 rings in at $2500 for everything here while the boosted comes in at $2750. We priced the parts of the components and minus the AIO cooler and the MAINGEAR case with RGB, the price was close. If you’re looking to go this route and spend that kind of money to build a machine, you’d be much better off going the route of the VYBE. Not only is everything guaranteed to work, it simply does that just. There is also a one year warranty included. There are only two reasons that the VYBE Stage 4 wouldn’t be recommended: your budget and if you have a similar system. If you’re looking to experience RTX, it would be better to wait. The VYBE Stage 4 is a powerful unit with a great bang for a lot of buck.