PC Manufacturer Interviews
While Nvidia and Intel battle it out to see which can slow down PC progress more, there are plenty of companies out there doing their best to offer a better and more unique experience for PC builders with each passing year. At CES 2019, we had the opportunity to chat with a number of the biggest names in the PC industry, and we thought we'd share some insights from a few of the leading companies in the PC case market, which has really taken on a life of its own over the past few years. Whereas cases were fairly cookie-cutter a decade ago, every manufacturer now puts its own stamp on the business, which is a great thing. Here are some comments that really stood out for us.
TBG: "What's coming from Corsair in the high-end case market?"
Corsair's Case PM, Annie Jankowski: "We're really thinking about high-performance cases for that $100-$200 range for the future, and we're also trying to emphasize our 'smart' cases, we came out with five in the last year, and I think you should be expecting that we will coming out with more iCUE-compatible cases in the future."
You can watch the full interview below:
TBG: "We've found that you offer a number of very similar cases in the $70-$80 price range, making it a bit hard to distinguish and recommend cases to our readers. Is there a reason for this?"
Thermaltake PR representative: "We do this for system integrators (SIs). Many of them target the same price range for cases, but don't want to use the same models as their competitors. So we create separate SKUs offering different styles, but similar overall capabilities. Because we have these in our product list, we make them available to retail customers as well."
That's a really interesting "behind the scenes" perspective on what drives the PC market, and we're sorry we didn't get this one on video! It's really easy to forget that component manufacturers have to serve various markets, and so what may at times seem odd to end users makes a lot of sense from a business perspective. In fact, this is the reason Intel continues to churn out nearly identical CPUs under new model names year after year: the OEMs and SIs demand it of them so they can release their own "new generation" of products.
TBG: "What do you see as the biggest growth opportunity for SilverStone or for the PC industry generally?"
SilverStone's Marketing Manager, Tony Ou: "We're still a relatively niche PC component company by and large, so there's still a lot of room for us to grow to serve more mainstream PC builders. A lot of people know us as a company with a lot of unique designs, which maybe they are not used to, so we have been trying to get more mainstream product out there... but it's not just about doing mainstream products, we also want to inject what we think about these products ... for example cooling performance as a main priority... It used to be that case builders weren't that important, but today they are, and we've driven that over the past 10 years."
You can see the full interview below - sorry about the wind noise in the background!
A quick read through our comments on the stagnating performance of Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs might have had you thinking that the glory days of the DIY PC market are behind us, but that couldn't be further from the truth. If you just wanted the fastest CPU and GPU, any no-name OEM manufacturer could provide them to you. The benefit of building your own PC has always been the degree to which you could make it your own, and thanks to the great strides in case design, RGB lighting controls (offered by all motherboard manufacturers today), plus user-friendly UEFI interfaces have made building, personalizing, and tweaking PCs a better and more rewarding experience than ever before.
Add in the fact that Windows 10 is orders of magnitude better than Windows 8 that we were using five years ago (starting with the USB flash drive it comes on), and the rewards of building your own PC clearly outweigh the effort required to do so. And while we've said it several times already, we'll say it again here: the SSD has simply revolutionized the PC user experience, and while DIY builders have long known of the wonder that is an SSD-equipped PC, today SSDs are bigger, faster, and cheaper than ever, making it all the more surprising that OEM manufacturers continue to saddle their systems with outdated mechanical drives. Just one more great reason to "roll your own"!