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Evaluating the Excel-lent Maingear MG-1 Platinum

Gamers, sit this one out. I’m using the MG-1 for work.

A gaming mouse with red accents connected to a computer with a monitor displaying the "KnowTechie" logo, on a white messy table against a teal wall.
Image: Curtis Silver/KnowTechie

When taking a second pass at reviewing the Maingear MG-1 Platinum I have decided to take a more practical tact relevant to my lifestyle as my last review was more of a here’s this thing article.

Most reviews rightfully hone in on the MG-1’s capability as a gaming PC for hardcore gamers. It was even designed in collaboration with Shroud, a gaming streamer.

But I’m not a hardcore PC gamer. Outside of taking a few minutes to continue building my Minecraft kingdom, I only play a few PC games that would genuinely test a system.

That isn’t to say Minecraft itself doesn’t already crash my current GPU because it does.

Really, any time I engage my current PC in any sort of multiple video exercise across three monitors, it’s very likely to crash. Or at least blink out for a bit.

But that’s not the point, the point is that I use a gaming PC for its raw processing power, rather than gaming, because of what I do for a living.

Editor's Choice
Maingear MG-1 Platinum Gaming PC
4.5
$1,799

The MG-1 is a range of gaming PCs designed in collaboration with shroud, one of the best competitive gamers around.

What We Like:
  • Powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card
  • 280mm AIO liquid cooler to keep the Intel i5-14600K cool under pressure
  • Stylish case with removable, customizable, magnetic front panel
Check Availability
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

The secret of my success

The image shows a desk with a computer monitor displaying a spreadsheet, a backlit keyboard, a custom PC with RGB lighting, and various collectibles on shelves.
Image: Curtis Silver/KnowTechie

My entire career (outside of being Kevin’s thunder buddy on the internet) consists of massaging, manipulating, and manhandling large sets of data.

Basically, I spend a lot of time in Microsoft Excel creating formulas that pressure my processors like knuckling a perineum, and work-issued PCs can’t handle those calculations. So, I turn to gaming machines.

I’ve used at least one Maingear PC for work, the Maingear Potenza. I convinced an employer to purchase it for me, since the department-issued laptop was about as competent as slicing cold pastrami with a spoon.

Most recently I built my own gaming-ish PC, the one that crashes all the time because the motherboard is too small and the GPU is OK.

But it has good RAM and only stutters a bit when calculating rows and rows of Index formulas in Excel. But it’s not good enough. It could be better.

And the MG-1 Platinum is much, much better.

Let’s get into what these formulas look like, the computing load involved and how the MG-1 took these formulas, smacked them around a bit, and sent them straight back to the abyss from whence they came.

Bright lights, big city

A desktop PC with RGB lighting visible through a clear side panel, featuring a GeForce RTX graphics card, beside a monitor with colorful wallpaper.
Image: Curtis Silver/KnowTechie

This is what an Index formula looks like (well, one iteration at least):

{=IFERROR(INDEX(Pivots!$AJ:$AJ,SMALL(IF(Pivots!$AI:$AI=$D11,ROW(Pivots!$AI:$AI)-ROW(INDEX(Pivots!$AI:$AI,1,1))+1),AA$8)),””)}

In the Excel workbook I pulled that from, a workbook I utilize almost every day, this type of formula occupies 40 columns by X rows (based on variable lookup data sets).

It’s accompanied by 37 more columns of simple VLOOKUP formulas, but those take little computing power below 50K rows.

Anything under 200 rows of calculations takes my current PC 2-3 minutes to complete. If I press it to around 500 rows, I have to play games on my phone while waiting.

If I press it to 1000 rows, I have to upload it to Google Sheets and make Google do the calculations because my PC can’t handle it.

So I copied this workbook to the Maingear MG-1, pasted in 2,136 rows of lookup data in the lookup column, and pressed F9.

Go big or go home; no sense in testing the smaller sets that my PC can already handle. Let’s go downtown and see what the MG-1 can do.

While that’s calculating 85,440 Index formulas and 79,032 VLOOKUPs at the same time, let’s run down the MG-1 Platinum’s stats:

Graphics CardNVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 (12GB GDDR6X)
ProcessorIntel Core i5-13600K (14 Cores/20 Threads)
CPU CoolerCooler Master 280mm AiO Liquid Cooler
MotherboardMSI Pro B660M-A CEC DDR4 WiFi Motherboard
System Memory16GB T-FORCE RGB DDR4 3600MHz Memory (2x8GB)
Storage1TB Solidigm P41 M.2 NVMe SSD
Power Supply Unit600W EVGA Power Supply
Operating SystemWindows 11 Home
LightingRGB Lighting Kit & Rear RGB Fan

Ok, back to the calcs. Well, they took a while. I made a bagel, I ate the bagel, and I watched some YouTube videos. But most importantly, the MG-1 handled it.

It didn’t lock up; it allowed me to do other things while the 20 threads were calculating, and I eventually got it done.

That’s crucial for me to be able to watch reruns of 30 Rock while my PC is running calcs. I don’t want the entire thing to lock up on Liz making a weird face, and hear audio in broken snippets.

I want to be able to do other things while the calcs are running. The MG-1 Platinum makes that multitasking (or ADHD soothing) possible. I can actually type an email while it’s calculating.

The hard way

Yeah, I could use Microsoft 365 and do all this calculating online, but I prefer to control data locally, rather than in the cloud. Cloud services always react different to hot keys, formulas, and VB scripting.

Basically, I need Excel on my PC in order to competently complete my tasks the to the best of my ability. Some might find this overtly complex, but to me, it’s easier than screaming at Google Sheets because I can’t use CTRL-D.

There are probably some other pressure tests out there that would test the computing power of the MG-1 Platinum, like video rendering or CAD engineering, but I don’t do those things.

But considering that it didn’t require me to take a nap while data was processing, that’s a huge win.

Evaluating a gaming PC is tricky, even if you specialize in benchmarking performance factors as it pertains to gaming.

These PCs have a wide audience, mostly people who either think they need a gaming PC or don’t actually need a gaming PC but want one for the clout.

I found out a long time ago that attempting to use the shit laptops and desktops provided by my employer to perform my job functions only resulted in stress and frustration.

Whether it’s because of the way I perform my tasks, or their inability to heed me when I demand more powerful computers, gaming PCs have been the answer.

And more often than not over the past two decades, those have been Maingear PCs.

The point is that we’re generally advertised gaming PCs as being the optimal machines for gaming, and they are. But they are just as competent work machines as well.

I can’t imagine being able to do my job, as it stands now, with some dusty Dell workstation that struggles to formulate anything beyond a simple SUM formula.

Maingear is currently running a holiday sale, and the MG-1 Platinum edition is on sale for $1,649.

This is the mid-tier offering of the MG-1 line, and a solid purchase if you don’t want to spend too much on a gaming PC, but don’t want the bottom of the product line either.

If you have any sort of job that requires your computer to think as hard as you pretend to, then a Maingear PC might be the thing that elevates you from cubicle drone to fluorescent formulaic god.

Editor's Choice
Maingear MG-1 Platinum Gaming PC Maingear MG-1 Platinum Gaming PC
4.5
$1,799

The MG-1 is a range of gaming PCs designed in collaboration with shroud, one of the best competitive gamers around.

KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

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A tech writer on the internet for over 15 years for outlets such as Forbes, Wired, TNW, and others, Curtis is exhausted, burnt out and happy to just write buying guides and the occasional review for KnowTechie, the best tech blog your mom never told you about. Ephemeral existence for ephemeral times. Please send pitches and grainy pictures of the inside of your elbow to kevin@knowtechie.com

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