Case Studies
Memory & Storage

How Samsung 980 PRO SSDs helped MAINGEAR create a best-in-class gaming experience

Maingear logo

The Challenge

When custom computer manufacturer MAINGEAR needed to source best-in-class solid state drives (SSDs) to install in their high-end gaming systems, they came to Samsung. The company, which sells to competitive gamers and enthusiasts who need high-performance systems that can handle the rigors of live gaming, required an SSD that would satisfy the needs of its demanding users.  

The Solution

We've never received so much demand for an SSD drive like we have with the Samsung 980 PRO. It's all about speed.

The Results

Maingear logo

MAINGEAR is a high-performance PC system integrator that offers custom desktops, notebooks and workstations. MAINGEAR has won multiple Editors’ Choice awards from publications such as PC Gamer, Hot Hardware, PC World, Maximum PC, Computer Shopper and more. Each MAINGEAR system is handcrafted for precision performance and uncompromised quality. With a mission to craft the best and most innovative high-performance computers, MAINGEAR sets the standard among gaming system integrators. 

The Challenge

Maintaining top status requires top tech

Wallace Santos, the founder and CEO of MAINGEAR, says he comes into the office every day driven by the knowledge that many in the industry refer to his products as being among the best in gaming PCs. As a result, speed — particularly read/write speed — is one of the top criteria he looks for when sourcing storage for his high-end, custom-build PCs.  

“My customers are coming to MAINGEAR because of two things: craftsmanship and performance. They want the bleeding edge of everything,” explains Santos. “They know the ins and outs of what they want since a lot of these customers actually built their own systems in the past.”

Today, they’re looking for systems that can handle the rigors of high-end, graphic-intensive multiplayer games. In addition, many of MAINGEAR’s customers have become content producers as well, streaming and recording video of their gameplay. Both use cases mean that systems must be stable, fast and reliable. 

“We’ve got customers firing up a game that’s very demanding, and then they’re recording that game and livestreaming the game on Twitch,” Santos said. “So now their SSD drive is constantly getting pinged. Think of it like your own brain if you had 10 employees asking you to do things for them all at once. It’s the same idea with the gaming application and an SSD drive. You have your game recording, you’re broadcasting, and the actual game application is running. The last thing you want is for that SSD to be a bottleneck.”

In addition, MAINGEAR’s component choices are very public, since the company interacts with thousands of people in live-build video streams. Every one of their component choices is dissected and discussed extensively online. There’s no room for subpar, average or even above-average SSDs. MAINGEAR needs the best options available for its discerning customer base. 

Finally, form factor, noise, heat and power efficiency must be taken into consideration. MAINGEAR’s custom-built cases are streamlined to bring the performance and cooling of a full-sized desktop to a compact chassis — without compromise. This means any SSD drive must be compatible and able to handle the higher temperatures and smaller, more aesthetically pleasing cases that make up MAINGEAR’s product line.  

The Solution

Red-hot performance in a cool package

From its inception in 2002, MAINGEAR has only stocked the newest and fastest components, with each one torture-tested for performance and compatibility. Its systems must stand up to the most hardcore gamers and games. Today, this means that Santos offers Samsung’s 980 PRO M.2 Gen4 NVMe® SSD as an integral component in his top-of-the-line gaming system. 

The Samsung 980 PRO features a compact M.2 2280 form factor, which can be easily plugged into desktops and laptops. Its size and optimized power efficiency makes it ideal for building high-performance computing systems. It’s the perfect size for MAINGEARs rigs, which have a smaller footprint to compete with traditional gaming consoles. The SSD’s powerful controller is designed to support larger input and output queues for PCIe® 4.0, so gaming goes off without a hitch.

The drive also features nickel coating and a heat spreader label to deliver effective thermal control of the NAND chip. Since the 980 PRO manages heat on its own, it delivers durable and reliable performance while also minimizing performance fluctuations during the extended usage that a typical gamer often requires. This also makes it easier for MAINGEAR’s build process, Santos said.

“The fact that the Samsung 980 runs cooler, it’s just going to give us more thermal headroom to apply that cooling [that we don’t need to do] towards something else in our box,” Santos said.

Most importantly, the Samsung 980 PRO features read speeds up to 7,000 MB/s2, sequential writes of up to 5,000 MB/s, and 1 million IOPS — so gamers get the reliability and performance they demand. Games load faster and don’t experience any noticeable lag or wait time during gameplay.

There are many other advantages to installing Samsung’s SSD technologies, including:

  • A powerful controller designed to support larger input and output queues for PCIe® 4.0, resulting in lightning-fast speeds
  • High-performance bandwidth and throughput for heavy-duty applications in gaming, graphics and data analytics
  • Built-in AES 256-bit security to keep gamers secure
  • A five-year warranty, which will outlast the useful life of a typical gaming PC

The Technology

980 PRO PCIe®

PCIe® Gen4 NVMe® M.2 Client SSD for Business

Genuine PCIe® 4.0 NVMe® SSD resulting in fast read/write speeds.


The Results

Game-changing — literally (and figuratively)

Since announcing it started configuring systems with the Samsung 980 PRO — something Santos calls “game-changing” — MAINGEAR is experiencing a good problem: keeping up with custom orders.

“We’ve never received so much demand for an SSD drive like we have the Samsung 980 PRO,” Santos said. “It’s all about speed. Gamers are paying top dollar to be the fastest and to be the best. And, whenever a game is accessing any part of the SSD — in this case with the Samsung 980 — you’re going to load your levels faster, certain worlds faster.”

“It’s all about speed. Gamers are paying top dollar to be the fastest and to be the best.”
—Wallace Santos, the founder and CEO of MAINGEAR

In addition, the systems that have shipped are stunning pundits and reviewers, Santos said. Reviews of the systems are glowing, with users mentioning the lightning-fast load times and amazing gameplay and performance. But the real proof of success comes straight from MAINGEAR’s customers, who are overwhelmingly happy with the systems running the Samsung 980 PRO.

“People are buying a full computer — they’re not buying just the SSD — so they’re not necessarily going to call us and say, ‘Hey, you know your SSD? This SSD is amazing.’” Santos continued. “They’re going to call us and say, ‘Hey, this is the best computer I’ve ever owned.’ Of course, every component needs to be perfect for that to be the case. And we’re getting a lot of that lately.”

1Results are based on a comparison with Samsung PCIe® 3.0 NVMe® SSDs and SATA SSDs.

2Disclaimer: Performance may vary depending on the SSD’s firmware version and the system hardware and system configuration. Performance measurements are based on Iometer 1.1.0. The write performances were measured with Intelligent TurboWrite technology being activated. The sequential write performances after Intelligent TurboWrite region are up to 500 MB/s (250GB), 1,000 MB/s (500GB) and 2,000 MB/s (1TB).

3To maximize the performance of the 980 PRO, please check whether your system supports PCIe® 4.0 at the Intel or AMD website.

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Karen Stealey

Karen J. Stealey is a veteran business, health, lifestyle and technology journalist with a wide range of publishing experience. Her tech and business work has appeared in Forbes, BusinessWeek Online, Adweek, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MyBusiness Magazine, Government Computer News, Workforce Management, CFO, Crain's New York and Crain's BtoB.

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