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Asetek: Airflow Matters

Editors note: We’re going to try something a bit different with this blog post. As many of you know, we partnered with Asetek to bring the KUHLER H2O 620 CPU cooler to market. They’ve been in the business of making excellent liquid cooling solutions for CPUs and GPUs since 2000 and we’re really excited to be working with them. Stu Grubbs, their resident hardware enthusiast, has kindly written this blog post to (hopefully) clear the air on how to install the KUHLER H2O 620 to achieve maximum performance. Enjoy!

Airflow Matters, Part 1

Antec Fan

Chassis airflow is one of the many highly debated topics amongst enthusiasts and forum-goers. Many have provided insight and offered varying advice on the topic. For a newcomer on the scene, there is no clear answer. Ironically enough, that is actually the answer: there is no definitive answer. Before you mistake me for an oracle from The Matrix, allow me to explain.

Every scenario is different. Show me results that declare one setup the best and I will choose a different chassis to prove it’s wrong. There are many factors that effect how chassis airflow should be set up:

  • What chassis has been chosen?
  • What is the intended airflow of that chassis? (fan placement and direction)
  • How many fans would the user be running?
  • What kind of fans will be used?
  • What level of noise is preferred?
  • What kind of environment will the computer be kept in? (carpet? hardwood? pets?)
  • Will filters be used?

As you can see, the long list of questions can get out of hand fast and there are indeed more that could be asked, including:

Antec Fan Direction

  • Mount liquid cooling radiator as chassis intake or exhaust?
  • Keep designed airflow or flow air from front -> back or back -> front or even bottom -> top.
  • Maintain Positive or Negative Air Pressure in the chassis?
  • Use Push or Pull Fan Configuration?

For the purposes of this blog post, I would like to examine the data behind mounting our liquid cooler as an intake or an exhaust. This will also help us talk about direction of our airflow. Lastly, since we will already be remounting the radiator several times, I decided to test the fan configuration of push vs. pull.

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Insights to Antec’s Power Supply Development

Today I want to shed some light into Antec’s power supply development and the ideas behind the series and products we have brought to market over the years. Antec has been the market leader in power supplies and computer chassis for a long time, and this is due to our wide range of products for every segment and budget.

Here’s a breakdown of our power supplies and the markets they cover.

Antec PSU product lines and market segments

A graphical representation of our PSU product lines and market segments. Click to enlarge.

We divide up the vast number of series according to application & customer base and of course performance & efficiency. Earthwatts Green, for example, is targeted at system integrators and is therefore equipped with 80 mm fans and boasts an efficiency rating of 80 PLUS® Bronze. The rest of the entry level power supplies come with 80 PLUS Standard certification or none.

The mainstream power supplies sport 80 PLUS Bronze certification throughout. The NeoECO series is targeted at entry-level retail customers and is only available in certain areas with certain customers. Even at its budget-friendly pricing, it comes with 80 PLUS Standard certification. The High Current Gamer series is our mainstream power supply series that caters to customers who want excellent performance but don’t need modular cables. The TruePower New series features rock-solid performance with hybrid cable management.

In the high-end segment we offer the High Current Pro series, which delivers maximum performance, highest efficiency and best compatibility. The entire High Current Pro series is certified 80 PLUS® Gold and was introduced in Q4 of 2010. The TruePower Quattro is the number one choice in 2010 for overclockers worldwide, featuring 80 PLUS efficiency and hybrid cable management.

Technologies and the choice of components

When Antec starts developing a new power supply series, the team first determines the segment in which the series will be located. The market segment into which the PSU will be placed determines what the product will look like and what technologies it will be based on. Antec operates a research & development center in Taipei, Taiwan where I am actually based as well. Besides local marketing and sales people, we also employ a few engineers here who work on new power supplies and ensure the quality of existing products. These engineers develop new power supplies for Antec together with the engineering teams at our contract manufacturers and exchange more than just a few capacitors. This gives us a huge advantage over the competition; we can directly work on making products more reliable while maintaining excellent performance.

In the development stage, we choose only the best components possible within the budget that the project allows. For example, we test different choices when it comes down to capacitors, and in most cases we choose Japanese brand polymer or electrolyte capacitors. Some of the entry or mid-level offerings sport Taiwanese brand capacitors. They offer, if well chosen and tested, the same durability and are then in no way worse than Japanese brand caps, while offering a much better pricing.

Power Supply Internals

The internal components of a power supply. Don't try this at home.

Even after a platform is developed and equipped, we still test different options for components. When the power supply finally goes through the pre-production stage, we rigorously test each of these units again for any flaws and ways in which we could enhance the performance. For example, all of our high-end units feature 450V bulk capacitors. This is something you don’t often find in PC power supplies simply because it’s expensive and companies prefer saving cost on this end. Why are 450V capacitors important? The voltage at this point in the power supply is around 400 volts. You will mostly find 400V or 420V capacitors today, but what if the voltage fluctuates? This could happen in any country but is most prominent in countries with an unstable power grid. The capacitor would run on max all the time and would suffer a decreased life expectancy. Or take countries with a low input voltage like Japan or the United States for instance. Power supplies have an increased stress level in these countries, so a capacitor with higher voltage such as 450V will run the platform with ease.

This gives Antec a unique advantage over the competition, something we are very proud of.

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Antec Around the Web – Holiday Madness Edition

My wallet doesn't like Black FridayI don’t know about any of you, but the “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” combo absolutely wrecked my wallet. And I’m only about 75% finished with my shopping! Sorry mom, all I could afford to get you were these pot holders from the dollar store. Hopefully someone appreciates this.

The last couple of weeks have been busy for us with the launch of the High Current Pro and High Current Gamer power supplies. Thanks to champion overclocker Nick Shih, the High Current Pro HCP-1200 was flexing its muscle – powering not just two or three but four NVIDIA GTX 580′s in SLI. Check out the video below to see this in action. This overclocked rig pulled an amazing 2200W from the wall!

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The Antec SNP90 Ultra-slim Notebook Adapter

If you are a frequent traveler, you know that carrying around a notebook can be painful. Not only might the notebook be heavy, it’s usually  accompanied by a bulky power adapter that just adds to the total weight you’re lugging around. This presents quite the catch-22. More than ever, airports are giving you options to plug-in while waiting for your flight, but who wants to carry all of this weight? When travelling, I generally end up putting the power brick into my check-in luggage because the brick is not only heavy, it is also too large for my notebook bag that came with the notebook!

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Antec Around the Web – November 18, 2010

On a regular basis, we’ll be posting reviews, news, awards and other cool stuff that people are doing with Antec products around the internet.  Consider this the first edition of “Antec Around the Web.” Since we had a couple of product launches this week with both the High Current Gamer series of power supplies and the soundscience rockus 3D|2.1 speakers coming out, I want to point you to a few reviews around these exciting new products.

First up is this review at Anandtech of the rockus 2.1 speaker system:

When I was finally able to test movie playback and actually hear the movie, I used Iron Man 2 and routinely switched back and forth between the Music and 3D modes during the attack at the Stark Expo. My findings here essentially echo the experience I had when gaming: Antec’s 3Dsst produces a fuller, richer sound and improves the spatial quality of the movie’s audio track compared to the basic Music mode.

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Introducing the High Current Gamer Series

Why did we call our new power supply series High Current Gamer? I heard the question from many people in forums around the globe. The word Gamer is used for lame products; everyone and their aunt is using it for product descriptions. Nobody would take this product line seriously, I went on to read.

Let me start my blog about the High Current Gamer series with a small explanation of what the word Gamer means in the product name. We developed this product line for people who play games, for people who love games and spend countless hours gaming. During development we talked to our friends at Team Dignitas to help us out on field testing. Those guys never miss a LAN event and compete in tournaments across the globe. Our logic was that if it could pass their rigorous testing, we could justify calling it a “gamer” product. It delivers the perfect balance between performance and high reliability for an affordable price. We think this is the balance that gamers today are looking for in a power supply.

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Technical Finesse: The High Current Pro HCP-1200

The HCP-1200

Introduction

As described in my last blog, we took an awful long time to develop the High Current Pro HCP-1200 and designed it to be the king of the hill – the best of the best power supplies out there. Well, after testing this unit again and again and fine-tuning every little detail, we feel we hit the mark.

Initial reviews show the press shares our opinion. Renowned review site [H]ard|OCP even went as far as calling the HCP-1200the new king of 1200W power supplies” exceeding the competition in almost every way and Jonny Guru gave the HCP-1200 their “Recommended” award. In the following I want to show you certain details I think valuable to better understand how we achieved the performance we present with the HCP-1200.

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Antec High Current Pro: Under the Hood

Introduction

The High Current Pro power supply series is Antec’s latest top-of-the-line offering, though it is certainly not the first time we have released a superior power supply series. In 2008 we delivered the world’s first power supply with a DC-to-DC module: the Signature Series. The Signature Series is still one of the best performing power supplies in the market and works with superior voltage regulation still unrivaled from most of the competition.

What’s next?

Time to introduce the High Current Pro power supply series as our next contribution to the evolution of power supplies. To say it with the words of Mr. Jobs: THE next big thing that will change the market. Again.

Here are some key features, before we get some more insight about the “technical finesse” in my next post:

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Your New Antec Blog

Hell, its about time

Antec® needed to have a blog.

As consumers, we’re left to our own devices when making purchase decisions. We can listen to family and friends or check our favorite internet forums. We can listen to a salesman on a showroom floor. But it’s not often that we get to hear from the people behind the products themselves about what they were thinking when they built the product or how best to use it. Thats why we’ve decided to launch this brand new blog, and are happy to reveal it to you now!

A blog for our customers and fans

We’ll be covering all of the bases on the Antec blog.

  • Insight from our product development team when we have a product launch.
  • Question and answer sessions from our customer service team.
  • Marketing will share our experiences at trade shows and LAN parties.
  • PR will tell you about the latest and greatest Antec news and reviews.
  • And we’re interested in your feedback!

This blog is an opportunity for you to see us beyond the Antec logo — a vehicle for us to share our thoughts with you and for you to share in return. Our blog is really to give you a glimpse inside our company, products, events and culture.

Check back soon for our first “real” Antec blog post. Until then, feel free to post your thoughts about the blog and content you’d like to see here in the comments below. Also, visit our social media sites linked above to keep up to date on the latest Antec-related news, discounts, contests and updates.

About the author

I’m Jessie Lawrence, the Internet Marketing Manager for Antec. I’m not only going to be a frequent contributor to this blog but I’ll also be the voice of Antec on our North America Facebook and Twitter pages.

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