Zalman is a strange brand. Few companies have made it big by being quiet. However Zalman have made it their business to keep things quiet and in so doing have won acclaim and renown the world over.
Today we catch up with one of the high profile members of their marketing team, Mr. Brian Kim, who fortunately for us was visiting our area and happened to invite yours truly out to a fine lunch.
Good food not withstanding, Brian was very open-minded and let us in on a few "inner sanctum" secrets. Nothing too deep mind you, but certainly enough to wet our taste buds and get us thinking about what Zalman has planned for the future in terms of company direction and new products.
Questions - About Zalman
So please fill our readers in on who you are, and what you do for Zalman?
My name is Brian Kim, I'm from Korea, I work as the Assistant Manager in Overseas Marketing Department with a role in the OEM business unit.
Zalman has been pushing into the OEM channel and our collaboration with companies like Gigabyte and a few others is proving beneficial for all. We are selling some very unique VGA coolers, and will look to phase in Northbridge coolers soon. Naturally we would like the OEM business to extend into CPU coolers, Cases and Power Supplies.
One Message: Cool Innovation
If Zalman had one message for the public, what would that message be?
Well that's an interesting question, because we sell so many different aspects of a computer system, that most people would expect a long list of messages. If I were to choose only one message it would be something like this, based on our motto: "Cool innovation"; we make ultra cool solutions that are both business focused and performance orientated.
We manufacture the highest quality cooling and case components that can be found in the DIY market today. Our price is reflective of the workmanship we have invested and you get exactly what you pay for. Nothing less! - How was that? Not too bad? Now if I was to have to summarize this, I would say: "we make superior DIY computer products for connoisseurs of quality and functionality built with style."
Ok, you really are confident in your products. Would you be happy for us to test some of your claims?
Every single person who works for Zalman has the option to take home products we make and test them for us. We always encourage our people, especially sales and marketing to experiment with our newest designs and to give us direct feedback.
This builds spirit within the company, it gives everyone the sense of familiarity with each product and confidence to speak out about that product. We all discuss problems freely and promote discussion to make our products better and better. I bet you are going to ask me if I've ever had to return any of the products I use, and to be honest, I've never had a single RMA issue.
The first test for our sales guys if they ask to take home a product is to assemble their full PC in our labs. In this way we make sure they know exactly how to assemble, disassemble and troubleshoot with our product. Almost every single one of our Sales guys is a competent DIY enthusiast.
Ok, we getting way too serious here, tell me something personal, something like - what's your favorite flavored ice-cream?
(laughs) Ok, yes, I'm definitely getting way too formal. Hmmm, I think I like watermelon flavored ice cream. But if I don't have a huge selection, I stick with vanilla. Oh and you have to try ice-cream and French fries, it's the best thing I've ever tried!
Questions - New HTPC Cases
French fries and icecream?
Watermelon flavor? I don't think I've tried that one, but it's definitely on my list now, but the ice-cream and French fries just doesn't sit well with me..(yeeuk) . Ok, you've taught me a valuable lesson, let's stick to the topic, where were we?
What are your current focus products and can you give us a bit of information about each one?
Definitely I have to say something to watch out for are our HTPC cases.
We have three in our range, each one is named after it's exact dimensions in height, in millimeters. So for example we have the HD-160, and the height is 160mm.
The next case is the HD-135 (135mm high) this case is low profile, and lastly we have the HD-160 XT (Has a new 7 inch touch screen).
All of our products as mentioned before are high quality, premier products.
We are also pushing our CPU coolers such as the CNPS 9700 which is similar to the CNPS 9500, but has a 110mm fan, which gives the cooler about 7-9 degrees better cooling capabilities.
Sorry to interrupt Brian, can we go back a bit, I'd like you to go into more detail about the HTPC's for now, and once we cover that topic, we can move back onto these CPU coolers.
Ok, well the HD-160 has some really good points. We have designed in optimized cooling ventilation points, all placed at strategic positions in the chassis. All these vents have a purpose to promote excellent and cool airflow from hot areas of your case. We have a vent for the PSU unit, a vent for the VGA and a special adjustable flow vent for the CPU cooler, depending on the type; you get to choose which way you want the air to flow, either to the back, or out the top.
On this case we have a vacuum fluorescent display (vfd) which shows 2x 16 characters. In this display you can monitor PC temperature, or PC status via a Front Panel-USB connector which connects directly to your, yes you guessed it, FP-USB connection. We do include software which you can install to facilitate this monitoring system, which is 100% compatible with Microsoft Media Center Edition.
The next product I spoke about was the HD 135, and this is basically a more evolved, lower profile case, very similar in design and features. It is only 135mm high and looks very very cool. The VFD is a little bit newer in this product and has 2x 20 character display. Included in this package is a fan control option, where you can place a temperature probe within your case and set up a fan to turn on at a certain temperature to keep the airflow optimal. This low profile case can support a standard ATX PSU; it just has an adjustable bracket that caters for this larger PSU profile.
Lastly in the HTPC range we have the premium product, the HD-160 XT. Unlike those before, this one features a 7 inch LCD touchscreen. Our 7" LCD will show the status of the PC such as what kind of media file they are playing, the temperature, network status, time and so on. This makes monitoring a breeze, while also giving added functionality. Making the HTPC a versatile and unique product built for only the most discerning of enthusiast.
Questions - Heatpipe PSU and more
First Heatpipe technology in a 600W PSU!
Talking about power supplies, I heard that you were also making PSU's now? It must be tough coming into a well established product line, would you like to elaborate a bit for our readers?
Sure, we are very excited about these PSU's. It is called the ZM 600-HP. It is a 600W PSU and is the FIRST PSU to feature integrated heatpipe technology. We have always looked to produce a high wattage PSU, but the presence of so many fans always put us off, until one of our bright engineers proposed that we incorporate the growing trend of heatpipes into the design.
What heatpipes do is they extrude heat from the heat source along the pipe to cooler areas where the heat is radiated out. This is quite efficient in fairly low heat cycle setups. Naturally heatpipes are less effective at much higher temperatures.
Research the name of the game
Yes I'm glad you mentioned that, I have met your R&D Director, Dr. Seo and he has in the past challenged me on heatpipes saying they are not as efficient as people are led to believe. It is just that they look flashy and that's about it. So you are saying that in low heat (possibly below 80 degrees Centigrade) that they work fine?
Exactly. Our previous research was geared around the need to cool VERY hot CPU's, and fortunately with the recent trend to cut down on the wattage CPU's are using and to make systems more efficient, then that has given us more options and allowed us to be more creative.
Fatal1ty: Worlds number one FPS gamer for 5 years running!
I'm a big gamer, and I've heard a lot about the famous gamer called Fatal1ty. I know your company uses his logo on your cases and a couple of your coolers. What is the point, or rather what is your message here?
Fatal1ty is the world's number one First Person Shooter gamer for five years running. He has constantly proved himself in competition after competition.
We at Zalman are proud to build products that he supports. We build them for people like him, who demand the most from their gaming rigs. Not every gamer can have the luxury of owning our premium products, or of having one endorsed by him, but we definitely cater to that market as best we can. If we keep gamers happy, then we are doing ourselves a service within the industry.
Also Jonathan Wendell (AKA Fatal1ty) is larger than life. If you meet him, he's just a cool guy who likes to play games, but when he is playing, his skills are unreal to behold. This kind of fame and interest he generates gives us very good exposure where usually we keep quiet (literally) and we know Jonathan can make all the noise for us. On that note, our Fatal1ty product is the FC-ZV9. It's an awesome VGA cooler, which will give you added benefits while gaming.
CNPS 9700 Cooler>> more fan for your cooling pleasure
Ok, let's get back to the CPU cooler you were talking about earlier, the CNPS 9700?
Well as I was saying before, this cooler has 110mm fan making it a huge workhorse for cooling your CPU. It is without qualification, the best cooler in the market at present. It has a silent mode and a normal mode. At silent mode settings, the fan spins at 1400RPM, with a noise rating of 18dB. The normal mode runs at 2600RPM, and has a noise rating of 32dB.
I'm expecting some of our first reviews to come in these next weeks. Please check out our website for more information in the coming weeks - www.zalman.co.kr
That's a wrap!
Well I think we have managed to cover quite a bit of what Zalman has in store for us in the near future, although in our short talks before the interview, you mentioned water-cooling kits with names that reminded me of the terminator films, and notebook coolers.
I have to say I'm very impressed at your wide range of not only quality products, but unique one's too. I'm sure the TweakTown readers will want to know more about your products after this interview.
Great, that's a wrap. I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Brian Kim from Zalman overseas marketing department on behalf of TweakTown for offering us this opportunity to get to know you guys better. Let us see what interest this generates and maybe we will be talking to you again soon.
Thank you John, it's been a pleasure, and if any of your readers have further queries, I'll be following the feedback, and will be happy to answer as best I can.
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