Three, custom H9 PC comparison

When looking for a new gaming PC, there are pros and cons to buying a pre-built computer or building your own custom rig. For the past few months we’ve looked at building a custom PC in the NZXT H9 case, reviewed the NZXT Player: Three, and now we’re adding the Maingear MG-1 Shroud Edition to the equation. All three of these builds have nearly identical processing power with an Intel 13700K or KF and an Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti. Be sure to watch the video below to see all the performance and pricing 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 information on the NZXT Player: Three, check out this article here.

Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Specifications

  • CPU: i7 13700K
  • GPU: RTX 4070Ti
  • Motherboard: MSI Pro B660 DDR4 WiFi
  • Working memory: 16GB Kingston Fury DDR4 RGB 3600Mhz
  • Storage: 1TB Solidigm P44 M.2 NVMe
  • PSU: 850W EVGA
  • Windows 11 Home
  • RGB lighting set

MG-1: Shroud Edition – Design and build

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

MG-1: Shroud Edition: Video

Removing the side panel reveals excellent cable management. Someone spent a lot of time securing everything with zip ties and cutting the ends. While the Player: Three also looked neat, the MG-1 was on a whole other level. We won’t even talk about my own custom H9 build. Despite the time I did spent on cable management, my build looks rather messy by comparison. Thankfully, that cover has a swivel bar that can hide a lot of the clutter — perfect for cable management newbies like me.

One of the key design points of the MG-1 turnkey 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 even goes so far as to let you upload your own artwork – pending approval, of course.

MG-1: Shroud Edition: FPS

With all three of these computers running the same main hardware, you’d expect frame rate 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 H9 averaged around 167 fps, while the Player: Three averaged 150 fps.

Based on my research, it shouldn’t make a difference, but the Player: Three PC uses an a13700KF processor instead of the 13700K in the other two. Still, considering 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 considering BF2042’s often chaotic gameplay; even 150 fps is great, but the difference was surprising and deserves a mention.

MG-1 slightly limited?

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

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

But does it matter?

When it comes to gaming, however, that limited CPU performance had no noticeable drawbacks. The MG-1 performed as well as the other computers and even outperformed the Player: Three in Battlefield 2042.

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

Game temp

With that in mind, the MG-1 tended to run hotter than the other two builds when gaming, but all computers were well within reason, although the MG-1 was hotter, these temperatures weren’t alarming.

What about prices?

Typically, the choice between a pre-built PC and a custom-built PC usually comes down to price. Going with a pre-built computer will usually get you more money than buying the parts yourself and putting the setup together.

That is certainly the case with these computers. The Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond costs $2,750 and by my calculations you could get 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 then of course you have to build the PC yourself and solve problems.

NZXT’s Player: Three costs $2,500 and by my calculations the individual parts retail for around $2,129. Again, there’s some extra room for more expensive components if you go the DIY route. The parts for my custom H9 build are about $2,621.

Prebuilt or Custom build then?

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

Something to take into account are the shipping times. If you are building your own computer, it may take some time to get all the parts, depending on where you get them from.

Maingear states on its website that the MG-1 should ship within 7-14 business days and transit time will be in addition to that.

NZXT, on the other hand, ships the Player: Three within 24-48 hours. If you’re in a hurry, that’s the way to go with this range of computers.

Take 9to5Toys

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’s never been a better time to do it with the wealth of information currently available on the internet. However, in my experience, you should always allow for extra time and effort to make everything work perfectly. For some, they don’t have the extra time for that.

On the other hand, turnkey PCs are ready to go right out of the box. Troubleshooting is not necessary. And on the Maingear MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond, the attention to detail is impressive. For those wanting to go the ready route, the MG-1: Shroud Edition Diamond delivers presentation and performance.

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