Review of PC Maker

I recently bought a new PC – what in my view was a super-boss update compared to my four-year-old former boss system.  I live in Germany, and my skill with the German language is both minimal and limited to either restaurant-ordering and grocery-buying.  So I was generally restricted to buying online.

Which is why I wanted to write up this review of the manufacturer of my new machine –

I’m going to open up with the following statement:  I was not solicited to write this by them, nor in any way do I gain from it.  They don’t even know I’m writing this, though I will share it with them when I’m done and it’s posted.

My buying experience with them was absolutely top-notch.  I did most of it over the course of a long research period in which I studied various vendors here in Germany, including several walk-in stores like Saturn and Media Markt, checking available features and prices.  I had originally thought to buy components and assemble it myself, but in the end the price differential was so little that the extra bonus gained by having them manufacture it and give it a warranty pushed me to buy direct from them.

So – here’s the run-down (score out of 10, 1 being low, 10 high):

Model Selection and Parts – 10.

No shit, a ten out of ten.  They have a vast array of pre-configured models fitting practically any budget in both laptops and desktops.  This also includes many models which are tailor-made to handle specific needs – Flight Simulator models, gaming laptops, FPS-specific machines, silent gaming designs, enormous water-cooled Xeon boxes with all the stops pulled out (if I had 15,000 Euro to drop on a PC, hoboy would I ever!), or bare-bones budget models, the selection is almost too broad to choose from.

On top of that, they have a “PC Konfigurator” that actually works!  And when I say works, I mean that bugger WORKS.  Most companies I’ve gone to with intent to use their config tools have very limited selection of materials inside their tools, forcing me to either take a pre-configured option and just buy parts separately for aftermarket add-on, or to simply skip them entirely.  Mifcom’s configuration tool not only has a wide array of options (for example, at the time of this writing they have 56 different cases and 54 different graphic cards – not counting SLI or Crossfire combinations), but it is smart – it knows which options go with which and will generally prevent you from buying parts that don’t work together.

To top it off, if you start with one of their pre-configured systems, you can then input that system directly into the configuration tool and add/remove/modify the stock system to create your own custom tweaked box.  VERY impressive.  They offer watercooling setups to fit your custom design.  Overclocking settings to match.  Extra fans for the case.

What’s more, there’s also what they offer to not sell you – any item (with the exception of the case and main board) can be removed, so if you’re seeking a specific brand of part, you can source that elsewhere and add it when the system arrives.  For example, I bought my system sans operating system – I chose to buy mine separately and install that myself (I’ll post a writeup on that little adventure separately).

Once you make your configuration to your desire, you may save it (if you register yourself with Mifcom) or just have that configuration e-mailed to you.

Payment Options – 9

Mifcom accepts a wide array of payment options, making purchasing a simple matter.  In addition to Credit Card and direct bank transfer, they also provide financing options through Commerzbank (a major bank in Germany), cash-on-delivery (max. permitted is 2,500 Euro), cash-on-pickup (if you live close to Munich, you can visit their facility and pick up directly), and very interestingly, they accept PayPal.

I would have given them a score of ten here, but had to deduct a point because the Credit Card method carries a 1.9% surcharge, and because free shipping is offered to only Bank Transfer purchases (it is 9.90 Euro for the rest, which just struck me as a small annoyance).

System Warranty – 10

Mifcom extends a standard three-year pick-up and return warranty to all their systems (longer warranties may be available for additional cost).  This includes all custom configured systems and even their Overclocked systems.  Even for the systems which include SSDs, which have a reputation (which is really no longer deserved) for being short of lifespan.  Very little to say here, it’s simple, effective, and no questions asked.  Very unexpected for a computer firm to have simple terms and few caveats.

A third-party provider (“Trusted Shops”) is also made available at the checkout in case one wants to add extra coverage to one’s purchase.

Online Support – 8

Publicly-available forums are available, which gives the user an opportunity to look up any problems (s)he may be experiencing and determine if a solution has been found previously.  An online support request may also be filed if one wishes to make a return, and drivers are available for any and all parts that Mifcom makes available.

I docked a couple points on this simply because telephone options are not readily found – almost all the options are made via the internet, which means that if your system is suffering trouble that prevents you from getting online, you won’t be able to connect with support options.  If you do purchase from them, it would be best to retain a phone option and store it with the system documentation in case of emergency.

Assembly Time – 8

I bought a customized model, so I wasn’t expecting the system to ship overnight – Mifcom offers 5-9 business day turnaround from the date they confirm payment, and they send out email notifications when the system is built and being shipped.  Mine was about six days, which means to me they probably had everything in stock and did the plugging in and a bit of burn-in to test it.  I can’t speak to the pre-determined configs (though I’d bet on the higher-tier models there is a longer turnaround time, since few shops would keep such systems handy).

They promised 5-9, they delivered in 6.  Very good.  Managing customer expectations is a good thing.

Shipping – 8

Shipping is generally done by DPD, a standard delivery system in Germany.  They can reach most locations in Germany within a day or so, perhaps two.  Basic, but sufficient to accomplish the job.  Mifcom supplies a tracking number as soon as the system is handed over to DPD, and DPD is very good at keeping its tracker up to date with changes in status.

One inconvenience I found was that the system was sent as two boxes which I didn’t know about, and the tracking number provides feedback on only the primary – so when the two showed up on different days, I was slightly anxious that there might have been a mistake.  (Happily, there was no issue.)

Packing was fantastic.  Plenty of padding, double-boxed in the box that the case came in surrounded by lots of shock-absorbing insulation.  It probably could have been dropped from six or seven feet without damage.  Even the interior has an expanding-foam restraining pad to keep the internal parts securely in place.

Build Quality – 8

All the parts were cleanly and securely mounted, and even though I didn’t purchase any special cable management, the interior was very well-organized.  The reason this score isn’t a 10 is that the factory overclocking I wanted didn’t take – my main board bios reported an overclocking failure and reverted to default settings.  I’ve had to go into it and re-tool the overclocking settings myself, which I’m not quite done with.  If I were an OC expert, I probably wouldn’t have paid for the service, but it’s been over three years since I dorked around with memory timings or CPU ratios, and I was hoping I’d get a good setting that would stick without me having to jerk around with it.

Summary Score – 9

In short, I would without a doubt recommend Mifcom to anyone looking to buy a new PC.  The cost is reasonable, the systems available can cover practically every need – and those that cannot be supplied by Mifcom can generally be left empty so you can handle the add as an aftermarket without being left with a cheap default piece of kit.

So if you’re looking for a new PC, I don’t think you can go wrong with Mifcom.  They’ll get you the PC you want in a very reasonable time – and they’ll support their build without qualms.

Here’s the site, if you’d like to browse it directly:

Happy computing!

UPDATE:  Here’s the instructions on how to setup a Windows UEFI installer for a box as up-to-date as this one was.

UPDATE 2:  I’ve been asked a few times what my system layout was, so here it is…

Case: Cooler Master – CM Storm Stryker with window
Silent Case Fans: 2x Noiseblocker Black Silent Fan

Motherboard: ASUS Rampage Extreme V, Intel X99 (this one had onboard WLAN, regular LAN, OC’ing features, great audio, still has room for more RAM, and can support up to four GTX cards in SLI mode, though at present is set up with only one)
CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K, 6x 3.30GHz (I’m OC’ing this to 4.2, might try 4.5)
CPU Coolers: Noctua NH-D14
RAM: 32GB DDR4-2400 performance (4x 8GB)

Graphics Card: Palit GTX 980 4GB “Super Jetstream” model

Boot: 2 Crucial MX100 512GB SSD drives, RAID 0 (striped)
Storage:  2 WD Caviar Green 3TB drives, RAID 1 (mirrored)
Optical: LG BH16NS40 Blu-Ray burner

Card Reader: Internal Card Reader 54 in 1 USB-out, 3.5″

Windows 7 Ultimate (normally would go with Pro, but since I live over here, it’s hard to get English Pro versions, and Ultimate you can download every language pack on the planet included).

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