Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Interview with Han Liu, Product Development Manager at Antec

Tom @RigAdvice: First up, could you tell us a bit about Antecs background, how and why it began and who was behind the formation of company?
Han Liu @Antec: Antec, Inc. is the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets. Founded in 1986, Antec is recognized as a pioneer in the industry and has maintained its position as a worldwide market leader and international provider of quiet, efficient and innovative products. Antec has also achieved great success in the distribution channel, meeting the demands of quality-conscious system builders, VARs and integrators. Antec is headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, as well as in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China and Taiwan. The company’s products are sold in more than 40 countries throughout the world.
Tom @RigAdvice: More recently Antec are perhaps best known for their 900 series cases. These are focused towards gamers, and as such feature lots of fans, fan mounts and LEDs. When the 900 range was launched in 2006, CPUs like the Intel Q6600 and GPUs such as the 8800GTX were hot and loud, especially when overclocked. As we move into 2012 and cooler and quieter running components are more readily available, is there still a strong demand for high airflow chassis?
Han Liu @Antec: Even so, there are gamers or performance enthusiasts who are always looking for highest performance components that push the technology to the limits and they are hot.  That is why we still need a high airflow chassis.
Tom @RigAdvice: Your other line of popular cases is the Pxxx series. These focus largely on silence and have less flamboyant styling than their gamer counterparts. How do you go about balancing sound proofing and cooling ability in these types of cases?
Han Liu @Antec: For the Performance One series, such as P280 or P183, we have a couple of standard methods to quiet down the case while make them a high performance system.
1.     We use three layers or two layers side and top panels to deadening the sound vibrated from the components especially from the fans. 
2.     Also we use a three layer door to muffle the sound from being leaked to the front where the user is
3.     We use HDD trays with silicone grommets to absorb the vibration from the HDD which is one of major   sound source in a computer.
4.     We create nice and roomy cable management compartment behind the motherboard tray.  Users can hide the cables behind the motherboard tray.  A less clogging system is a less noisy system as users can use slower RPM fans.
5.     Moving the PSU from the top near the CPU to the bottom of the chassis.  This is really benefits the whole system very much as the PSU gets its own cooling intake from the bottom instead of sucking hot air from the CPU.  PSU at the bottom becomes a standard in the gaming and quiet computing society.  However, Antec pioneers this standard in our Performance series first.  Nine Hundred series follows.
Tom @RigAdvice: The P280 followed on from the P180 - one of the most popular 'silent' chassis of recent years. However, it does not share the latters much vaunted compartmentalised design, was there a particular reason for this decision during the design of the case?
Han Liu @Antec: Cost is one of the consideration we’ve decided to abandon the compartmentalization.  Another reason is, we have done our test and found it does not affect the temperature of the system without the separate chamber design.
Tom @RigAdvice: Antec has recently made a name for itself with its 'Kuhler' range of all in one liquid coolers. Currently, the top of the range product is the 920. Like some of your rivals, are there any plans to expand this range with larger radiators? After all, the P280 will easily take half height 240mm radiators in its roof. 
Han Liu @Antec: Yes, we have plan to increase one more member- the 1220.  It is a 240 mm radiator with two PWM fan controlled water cooling system.
Tom @RigAdvice: The two biggest draws of custom watercooling are the cooling ability on tap, and aesthetics. With this in mind, in the future is their an opportunity to offer users different coloured tubing, fluids, or even plexiglass pumps/CPU blocks?
Han Liu @Antec: The 620, 920 and the coming out 1220 are self contained, one integrated system. The most important benefit is that users are no longer needed to be a handy or geek person to handle the old style tube cutting, fluid filling and water pump installation and timeless water leakage or trouble shooting.  I think we will keep this and let not only 2% but 100% of users can enjoy the water cooling benefits.
Tom @RigAdvice:Though you make nods to those using custom loop watercooling such as grommets for external tubing and the aformentioned 240mm mounts in the P280, are there any plans to create a chassis aimed at these users? Or is the market too small to make R&D, design and construction viable from a business perspective?
Han Liu @Antec: I think those users are smart enough to make use of the existing chassis to integrated their custom loop water cooling/
Tom @RigAdvice: Finally, Antec have built a very good reputation with enthusiasts when it comes to their range of PSUs. Aside from the size of wattage, and innovations like modular cabling its hard for the casual user to spot a lot of evolution in the way PSUs have changed over the years, and thus upgrade. Is this the case, and if not, is there anything groundbreaking around the corner for people to look forward to?
Han Liu @Antec: We have “OC Link” technology.  Our coming out HCP Platinum power supply will equip with a special connector that can link two HCP Platinum power supplies together to double its wattage, for example, to link two 1000 power supplies to make a 2,000 watts power supply system.

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