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Maingear Readies Itself For The Mainstream

Boutique computer maker Maingear is setting the tools in place so it can expand from its direct-sales-model roots into the e-tail market.

The 7-year-old company, which last week introduced a new configure-to-order notebook called the m-XL, now has the pieces in place to take this next step, said Wallace Santo, president.

“We had been approached by a few retailers in the past, but we didn’t have the infrastructure at the time to handle them. Now we are ready to talk to them,” Santos said, adding the company has just acquired a nearby warehouse in preparation for this next step.

While no deal has been set in stone, Santos said talks are on-going with a few e-tailers at this time.

The company hand builds all it models at its Union, N.J., facility.

Maingear’s configure-to-order notebooks and desktops range in price from $860 to $15,000 with the weight of its sales coming from its higher-priced models, Santos said. The company’s customer base runs the gamut from regular PC users to hardcore gamers, with the latter group providing most of the sales and giving Maingear a great deal of word-of-mouth advertising.

Customer recommendations are so important to Maingear that the company has even developed an $860 entry-level desktop that the gamers can offer to their friends and family.

Maingear also uses the forums section of its Web site to prove itself.

“We are very transparent with our forums. We will address problems posted there to show that we work with our customers to fix a problem,” Santos said.

Machines for gaming enthusiasts have helped put the company on the map, but Santos prefers to think of Maingear as a high-performance computer maker that just happens to make gaming machines.

Maingear will expand its professional workstation line and has a new gaming notebook in the pipeline, Santos said.

That model will join the m-XL. With a 13.3-inch screen and weighing in at 4.4 pounds, the m-XL falls between a full-sized laptop and an ultra-portable.

The m-XL is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with an Intel G45 Express Chipset with integrated graphics. It has 8GB of dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM and a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc reader with DVD/CD rewrite ability. The customer can opt for either a 160GB solid-state storage system or a 500GB hard drive.

Customers can also have the notebook’s cover etched with a custom design.