Maingear MG-1 review: the best custom-built gaming PC on the market

A personalized touch for a monster of a gaming PC, regardless of budget

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future / John Loeffler)

TechRadar Verdict

Thoroughly customizable with fantastic construction, the MG-1 gaming PC is the latest showpiece from custom PC builder Maingear. And Maingear really put its heart into this one, down to the customizable magnetized front panel that makes branding your rig for streaming a breeze. Starting at a very affordable price point for a prebuilt system and scaling up to match the high-end hardware options, there's literally something for everyone to fall in love with here.

Pros

  • +

    Highly customizable

  • +

    Beautiful design with customizable front panel

  • +

    Backed by phenomenal customer support

  • +

    Prebuilt and build-to-order options

Cons

  • -

    High-end builds are very expensive

  • -

    Some specs have limited options

  • -

    Ships throughout the US, but need to ship special order for international buyers

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Maingear MG-1: Two-minute review

When I opened the box for the Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage - Enthusiast desktop gaming PC, I got a very nice surprise. The folks over at Maingear had added a customer order front plate on the case emblazoned with the TechRadar logo and, intentionally or not, a graphic design that pretty accurately captured the site's color palette. 

It's the kind of touch I'm sure Maingear's builders included as a friendly gesture, but I took it for what it is: an emblem of Maingear's love of PC building, the company's incredible attention to detail, and an understanding that it's building gaming rigs for actual people who will actually use them. 

It's little wonder then that the Maingear MG-1 is easily the best gaming PC I've laid hands on all year, and I think it really underlines Maingear's coming into its own as the premiere custom PC shop in the US. I'd honestly say this is a better gaming PC than the Maingear Turbo I reviewed last year, which in itself was a work of art.

After unboxing the PC, setting it up was a breeze. The premium packing job goes above and beyond what a lot of other manufacturers will do, and it better protects the parts inside the PC during shipping. Powering it on for the first time, the interior displayed just enough flash to keep things interesting without being overwhelming. The system booted quickly and there was no bloatware to contend with. 

Opening up the PC is easy enough if fidgeting with components is your thing, and the magnetic front panel can pop right off if you're looking to swap it out for another. As a standard mid-tower-sized PC, getting to the ports along the top of the case and in the rear is as you'd expect.

How many rear ports you get will obviously depend on which motherboard option you go with, so if you're going for a custom build, keep that in mind when making your pick. 

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Speaking of configurations, a prebuilt Maingear MG-1 starts at just $1,099 (about £900 / AU$1,520), so the MG-1 is literally one of the best budget gaming PCs you can get. It's also among the most premium high-performance machines around, whether for gaming, professional content creation, or a mix of both. That is a very hard thing to do in a single product, but Maingear has put in the work to make the MG-1 as accessible as possible to just about everyone.

Performance is going to vary widely depending on which configuration you go with, so you'll definitely need to do a little research to find the best build for your needs. Maingear offers a number of MG-1 prebuilds to make the process simple or you can customize the PC to your specifications. 

One thing I can definitely say about the performance is that regardless of configuration the system stability will be stellar. I've had the privilege of touring the Maingear production floor in New Jersey, and the testing that goes into each build to ensure it will run without issue is very thorough, regardless of whether it's a prebuilt PC or a custom order. Whichever build you go with, you'll get a smooth-running machine that rivals the stability you'd get from far larger manufacturers. And if you do run into issues, Maingear's customer service will bend over backward to fix whatever problems pop up.

All told, the Maingear MG-1 is a stellar gaming PC that just about anyone, on any budget, can buy. It should be on the shortlist for everyone considering a new gaming rig this year. Whatever your need or price range, the Maingear MG-1 can slot itself into that niche with ease. You will not be disappointed.

Maingear MG-1: Price & availability

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • How much does it cost? Starting at $1,099 (about £990 / AU$1,520)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, but international shipping is an option

The Maingear MG-1 is available now in the US starting at $1,099 (about £990 / AU$1,520). And while shipping this PC within the US is going to be much easier, interested international buyers can contact the company to see about their shipping options as well.

The price you ultimately pay for this PC will depend on what configuration you choose, as well as whether you go with a prebuilt system or a custom build. Prebuilds range from $1,099 up to $4,699. There are also branded prebuilds co-developed with Shroud, the popular Twitch streamer and Valorant player, as well as AMD Advantage systems, the latter of which I received as a review sample (the MG-1 AMD Advantage - Enthusiast, to be precise), which starts at $3,199 ($3,449 as reviewed).

The specs sheet on the highest-end configuration.

(Image credit: Future / Maingear)

The lowest I've managed to configure a custom build has been $1,117, but if there's a cheaper one, it won't be less than the entry-level $1,099 prebuild. The highest-end configuration I've managed to get (seen above) will cost a staggering $7,441. It may be the only gaming PC you'll need for the next decade, but still an incredibly lux build.

That being said, all of this in a single gaming PC is a hell of a thing.

  • Price score: 5 / 5

Maingear MG-1: Specs

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

The Maingear MG-1 comes in dozens of configurations, ranging from fairly accessible prices to sovereign wealth fund levels of luxury, and includes both prebuilt systems and custom-built ones.

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These are the specs for the Maingear MG-1 | AMD Advantage – Enthusiast
ComponentBase modelReview unit (AMD Advantage - Enthusiast)Top configuration (prebuilt)
Price$1,099 (about £960 / AU$1,800)$3,449 (about £2,760 / AU$5,175)$4,699 (about £3,760 / AU$7,050)
CPUIntel Core i5-13400FAMD Ryzen 9 7950X3DIntel Core i9-13900K
GPUIntel Arc A750AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTXNvidia GeForce RTX 4090
RAM16GB DRR432GB DDR532GB DDR5
WirelessWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetoorh 5.3Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetoorh 5.3

As far as custom builds go, you can go to Maingear's MG-1 configuration page and play with the specs to get the build you want and find out the pricing across configurations.

The absolute breadth of configuration options is one of the MG-1's biggest selling points. It includes 13 processor options, 11 graphics card options, and nine motherboards (five Intel and four AMD), along with different RAM configurations, power supplies, M.2 SSDs, SATA SSDs, and HDDs. There are even capture cards for the streamers out there.

Throw in design customizations, coolers, and peripherals, and, well, you get the idea. Maingear has some of the best custom build options around, full stop.

  • Specs score: 5 / 5

Maingear MG-1: Design

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Mid-tower case with customizable magnetic front panel
  • Attractive interior
  • No option for custom cooling loops

The Maingear MG-1 is easily one of the better-looking gaming PCs I've seen this year, and not just because they splashed TechRadar's logo on the front of the rig (though flattery will get you everywhere, folks).

I'm not the kind of gamer who needs their gaming PC to look like a carnival booth or the dance floor of a German discotheque, and Maingear's MG-1 provides enough gamer flair without going overboard. The acrylic side lets you admire the high-quality build inside, while the customizable front panel can be a conversation piece or an opportunity to promote your brand.

Compared to other Maingear systems like the Turbo, the MG-1 lacks the custom water-cooling loop and instead goes for Cooler Master AIO coolers with Maingear's logo on them. This means it feels more off-the-shelf, but it doesn't feel cheap in any way. 

If there's anything to knock on the design here, it's that the case is a standard mid-tower form factor (though a very nice one, to be fair). There have been a lot of really interesting case designs coming out in the past few years, so if you're looking for one of those, you won't find it among the MG-1 options.

It's also important to note the radiator on the top of the case can feel a little exposed, with bare metal slots at the top bleeding heat from the AIO cooler. Several PC cases nowadays have some form of filter or cover on top to help keep dust out, and that isn't the case here. 

Had I reviewed this PC at home, rather than at our NYC office, my cat would've established a permanent beachhead on top of this PC, and it would've taken a supreme effort to dislodge her. Cat hair being what it is, I can see a potential problem here, though my laziness in not brushing out my cat's fur isn't really something I can knock Maingear for, is it?

  • Design score:  4.5 / 5

Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage: Performance

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
  • Fantastic system stability for a custom build
  • Performance will vary greatly depending on configuration
Maingear MG-1: Gaming PC benchmarks

Here's how the Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage - Enthusiast prebuilt system performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark Night Raid: 86,135; Fire Strike: 50,987; Time Spy: 25,821; Port Royal: 16,225
GeekBench 6 Single-core: 3,008; Multi-core: 20,477
PCMark 10:
10,427
CinebenchR23 Multi-core: 35,652
Total War: Warhammer III (1080p, Ultra):
264 fps; (1080p, Low): 498 fps
Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p, Ultra): 181 fps; (1080p, Low): 254 fps
Dirt 5 (1080p, Ultra): 264 fps; (1080p, Low): 425 fps
Handbrake 1.6: 138 fps (CPU); 185 fps (GPU)

As far as gaming and workstation performance goes, the MG-1 AMD Advantage - Enthusiast prebuild I reviewed is a phenomenal performer, all thanks to its AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D processor, AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPU, and ample memory and storage.

If there's something I can take points off for here, it's the creative performance. The RX 7900 XTX doesn't work with CUDA, so many CUDA-optimized programs won't perform nearly as well as they would have if this build used an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 or Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090.

On the flip side of that, the gaming performance on this PC is simply incredible (which my EIC absolutely loved as I played video games in the lab all afternoon and called it "work"). What parts you end up getting will make all the difference in terms of gaming performance, but as mentioned before, the system stability for the MG-1 is top-notch, something that's not easy to do when offering hundreds of different possible part combinations. 

They really do test these PCs extensively before they're shipped out, so you can be confident that your PC is going to work for the long haul without any weird part compatibility issues that can often plague these kinds of custom-built gaming PCs.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5

Should you buy the Maingear MG-1?

A Maingear MG-1 AMD Advantage gaming PC on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Maingear MG-1 Score Card
AttributesNotesRating
PriceStarting at $1,099, you can get a great budget-friendly gaming rig or blow stacks of cash on the best gaming system imaginable, all in the same PC.5 / 5
DesignExcellent personalization features, elegant build, and attractive lighting make this a great-looking PC no matter how you configure it.4.5 / 5
SpecsThe variety of prebuild options and the extensive customization options make this a top-notch option for the spec-obsessed.5 / 5
PerformanceThe actual gaming or content creation performance will vary depending on the specs you use, but you can choose from all the latest PC parts assembled by professional builders and extensively tested for stability, so performance will be fantastic and stable at every tier.5 / 5
Average ratingThe Maingear MG-1 might be the greatest gaming PC Maingear has ever made, and that's saying something. 4.88 / 5

Buy it if...

You want an excellent prebuilt or custom-built system
No matter which way you go, you're going to love what you get.

You want plenty of options to match your budget
Starting at $1,099, you can get exactly the right PC to match what you're willing to spend, getting the most out of every dollar spent.

You want great customer support
As a custom builder, Maingear is well-regarded for going the extra mile for customers, whether it's tech support or financing options.

Don't buy it if...

You want one of those funky new PC cases
Literally the only real thing I can knock the MG-1 for is that it's in a standard mid-tower form factor when there are some newer, more exciting PC case designs out there.

You don't live in the US and don't want to pay a premium to import it
International buyers can speak with Maingear about shipping abroad, but the cost of that shipping is going to vary depending on your country's import taxes and fees. If you're looking for a local distributor, you're out of luck.

Maingear MG-1: Also consider

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Maingear MG-1Origin Chronos V3Maingear Turbo
Price$1,099 (about £960 / AU$1,800)$1,501 (about £1,200 / AU$2,250)Starting at $2,215 (about £1,775/AU$3,325)
CPUIntel Core i5-13400FAMD Ryzen 5 7600XAMD Ryzen 5 7600X
GPUIntel Arc A750Integrated Radeon RDNA 3Nvidia RTX 4060
RAM16GB DRR432GB DDR516GB DDR5
WirelessWi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetoorh 5.3Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2

If my Maingear MG-1 review has you considering other options, here are two more customizable gaming PCs to consider...

Origin Chronos V3
Origin's Chronos V3 squeezes impressive performance into a console-esque form factor, with great airflow and customization options, but it can get expensive quite quickly, and the smaller case can make upgrading or swapping out parts challenging.

Read the full Origin Chronos V3 review

Maingear Turbo
As much a work of art as a gaming PC, the Maingear Turbo is the PC you buy if you want to enjoy how beautiful your computer looks while you wait at a loading screen or after a hard day of gaming. It's not cheap in either sense of the word, but you will absolutely love this PC (if you can afford it).

How I tested the Maingear MG-1

  • I had the Maingear MG-1 for several weeks
  • I used it as my day-to-day workstation PC, which involved content creation, game testing, and more
  • In addition to our standard benchmark tools, I played several of the latest games for several hours with every performance setting maxed out.

I tested the Maingear MG-1 for several weeks, using it as my main workstation PC in our NYC office, including content creation like photo and video editing, benchmark testing, and PC gaming (even on the clock!).

Given the number of possible configurations, the MG-1 will be suitable for everything from 1080p budget gaming to high-end content creation with 8K video, as well as high-performance PC gaming.

I've been reviewing computer hardware for years now, and I've been a PC gamer and PC enthusiast since I was a kid, so I know my way around a gaming PC, as well as what it needs to do well and how well it should perform at any given price point.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed July 2023

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 


Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.


You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.


Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).