Hands-on: Maingear Shift running Saitek flight-simulation hardware (video)

Custom PC builder Maingear had something pretty nifty up its sleeve at Pepcom tonight: versions of its desktops configured to run Saitek's flight-simulation hardware -- in this case, with a full cockpit setup. In partnership with Mad Catz, the company developed configurations of its Potenza, F131 and Shift desktops optimized to work with the Saitek line of flight-sim systems.

Tonight we saw the Shift paired with some pretty heavy-duty hardware: we're talking 18 USB connections for the full Saitek cockpit. Maingear's pro-certified system packs a Core i7 CPU clocked at up to 3.9GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics (with four GPUs), and with an experienced pilot behind the wheel, that translated into a smooth landing in Flight Simulator X. Maingear says the whole setup -- hardware controls plus the Shift desktop -- will go for $5,500 starting tomorrow. That's the top-of-the-line configuration, mind you; if your piloting aspirations are more modest, you could opt for the more affordable Potenza, which starts at $1,000. Check out a video demo below.%Gallery-158862%


The award-winning SHIFT, F131, and Potenza desktops get certified by Saitek to run their intense flight simulation hardware.

Kenilworth, New Jersey – June 21, 2012 – MAINGEAR, an award-winning custom PC builder offering custom desktops, custom built laptops has always been known for having one of the fastest machines on the ground with their race car theme inspirations offering the very best in performance and design has now teamed up with Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. to create pro certified systems, capable of offering a full flight simulator experience at home. The pro certified systems will be launched under the Companies' Saitek simulation brand.

Through its Saitek brand, Mad Catz is a global leader of consumer focused simulation hardware, specializing in flight simulation products which allow enthusiasts to get the most realistic flight experience possible on the ground. Their products are based around a modular system which can begin with a simple yoke and rudder pedal setup and gradually expand to create a complete cockpit experience. MAINGEAR has partnered with Mad Catz to create Saitek branded Pro Flight Certified Systems powered by MAINGEAR.

Flight sim hardware and software has always traditionally required a high-end system configuration in order to run a flight sim program and hardware efficiently. Mad Catz and MAINGEAR have developed three specific good, better, best default configurations of the Potenza, F131, and SHIFT desktops which Mad Catz believes will prove ideal to run their Saitek range of pro flight products.

Not only are these certified systems spec'd to deliver the best performance experience, but each custom desktop solutions offers the flexibility of desktop chassis size that would fit any home setup. From the flagship SHIFT system for maximum future expansion to the space saving F131 or Potenza, all of these Saitek certified systems powered by MAINGEAR are expected to run the Saitek range of pro flight simulation products with ease.

"I have always wanted to expand the MAINGEAR brand into something more than just a gaming PC." Said Wallace Santos CEO and Founder of MAINGEAR. "This opportunity with the Saitek branded pro flight certified system goes above and beyond my expectations providing not only entertainment value but also a learning experience for flight enthusiasts and those who wouldn't have the opportunity to sit in an airplane cockpit and experience what it is to fly."

Joe Pollicino contributed to this report.