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Here’s how MG-1: Shroud Edition, NZXT Player: Three PCs compare to a custom rig [Video]

1 year ago 75

When looking for a new gaming PC, there are pros and cons to buying a prebuilt computer or building your own custom rig. Over the last few months, we’ve looked at building a custom PC in the NZXT H9 case, checked out the NZXT Player: Three, and now we are adding the Maingear MG-1 Shroud Edition to the comparison. All three of these builds are packing near-identical processing power with an Intel 13700K or KF as well as an Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti. Be sure to hit the video below to see all of the performance and price details.

This article will mainly focus on the Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond PC. If you want to learn more about the custom NZXT H9 build, check out the article here. For more on the NZXT Player: Three, check out this article here.

Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Specs

  • CPU: i7 13700K
  • GPU: RTX 4070 Ti
  • Motherboard: MSI Pro B660 DDR4 Wi-Fi
  • RAM: 16GB Kingston Fury DDR4 RGB 3600Mhz
  • Storage: 1TB Solidigm P44 M.2 NVMe
  • PSU: 850W EVGA
  • Windows 11 Home
  • RGB Lighting Kit

MG-1: Shroud Edition – Design and build

From getting the MG-1 out of the box, it’s easy to tell that Maingear has paid attention to the details. RGB is a central part of the PC with six fans, the CPU cooler, and strips of light all making the hardware glow. While it can be a bit finicky, a remote controls the RGB color.

MG-1: Shroud Edition: Video

Removing the side panel reveals excellent cable management. Someone put a lot of time into securing everything with cable ties and clipping the ends. While the Player: Three also looked tidy, the MG-1 was on a different level entirely. We won’t even talk about my own custom H9 build. Despite the time that I did spend on cable management, my build looks quite cluttered by comparison. Luckily, that case has a pivoting bar that can hide a lot of the mess – perfect for cable management novices like me.

One of the main design points of the MG-1 prebuilt PCs is the removable front panel. On this Shroud edition, the stock panel has a Shroud logo but you can also customize your own panel for $99. Maingear goes as far as to let you upload your own artwork – pending approval, of course.

MG-1: Shroud Edition: FPS

With all three of these computers packing the same main hardware, you’d expect the framerate performance to be identical. For the most part, they were very close but there was one standout figure. When playing Battlefield 2042, both the MG-1 and the H9 were getting around 167 fps while the Player: Three was averaging 150 fps.

Based on my research it shouldn’t make a difference but the Player: Three PC is using an a13700KF processor rather than the 13700K in the other two. Even so, considering that all of these systems were running Battlefield 2042 at 1440p resolution on ultra settings with DLSS set to quality rather than performance, those framerates are pretty impressive given the often chaotic gameplay of BF2042; even 150 fps is great, but the difference was surprising and deserves a callout.

MG-1 slightly limited?

One test that surprised me was when running the Prime95 stress test to see how the computers did under an extreme CPU load. The Maingear was significantly cooler and quieter than the Player: Three, and my custom rig which both got very hot and sounded like jets in comparison. Digging into HWMonitor to check the stats of the CPU, the 13700K was getting about half of the wattage as the processors in the other computers. That kept the clock speed down, the temperature down, and the fan noise down as well. If you want a closer look at the numbers, watch the video above at the 7:30 mark.

That drop was also noticeable in the Cinebench multithreaded benchmark scores. The Player: Three and the H90 were nearly identical while the MG-1 lagged behind by 4,000 points.

But does it matter?

When it comes to gaming, though, that limited CPU performance had no noticeable drawbacks. The MG-1 was performing just as well as the other computers and even better than the Player: Three in Battlefield 2042.

Maingear talks about the MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond being fine-tuned for gaming, and this seems to be one way where that is apparent. The computer runs quieter and avoids the high temperatures that extreme tests like Prime95 can produce but still performs as well as the other builds when it comes to actual gaming.

Gaming temps

Now, with that in mind, the MG-1 did tend to run hotter than the other two builds when gaming but all of the computers were well within reasonable limits, even though the MG-1 was hotter these temps weren’t alarming.

How about pricing?

Typically, deciding between a prebuilt PC and a custom build usually comes down to price. Going with a prebuilt computer usually will run you more money than if you purchase the parts yourself and put the rig together.

That is certainly the case with these computers. The Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond comes in at $2,750 and from my calculations, you could get all of the same components for about $2,379 and build it yourself. That leaves some extra room for better components if you need them like a more powerful GPU or more RAM. But, of course, then you have to build and troubleshoot the PC yourself.

The Player: Three from NZXT is priced at $2,500 and by my calculations, the individual parts can be had for about $2,129. Once again, there is some extra room in there for more expensive components if you go the DIY route. The parts for my custom H9 build come to about $2,621.

Prebuilt or Custom build, then?

And for the most part, these computers all performed similarly. Sure, there were some outliers like the Player: Three framerates in Battlefield 2042 or the Cinebench score from the MG-1 but when it comes down to it they were all pretty similar.

Something to consider is shipping times. If you are building your own computer, getting all of the parts in can take a while depending on where you source them from.

Maingear states on its website that the MG-1 should ship within 7-14 business days and then the transit time will be on top of that.

NZXT, on the other hand, ships the Player: Three within 24-48 hours. If you’re in rush, that’s the way to go from this line-up of computers.

9to5Toys’ Take

Again, there are pros and cons to prebuilt and custom PCs. If you have the time and ability to do it, building your own PC is incredibly rewarding and there has never been a better time to do it with the wealth of information currently available on the internet. In my experience, though, you always have to factor in extra time and effort to get everything working perfectly. For some, they don’t have the extra time to allot for that.

On the other hand, prebuilt PCs are ready to go right out of the box. There’s no troubleshooting necessary. And on the Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond, the attention to detail is impressive. For those who want to go the prebuilt route, the MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond delivers on presentation and performance.

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