Arctic may not be the first name on your lips when it comes to cooling, but the company has been going strong since 2001 with a consistent catalogue of products, and also works in the OEM space. It also recently entered the all-in-one liquid-cooler market and we came away very impressed after reviewing the Liquid Freezer 120. We wanted to get to know the company better, and Magnus Huber, CEO, was kind enough to give us some of his time.
bit-tech: Hi Magnus, please give us some background to Arctic – how and when was it formed, and where is it now?
Magnus: In 2001 Arctic Cooling was founded in Switzerland. We initiated the trend towards quiet cooling systems for desktop PCs and have since become one of the leading manufacturers in this sector. Since 2010, we've used the know-how from many years of IT experience to extend our portfolio with computer equipment and headphones. As part of the expansion, Arctic Cooling was renamed as Arctic. Today we serve over 45 countries from Germany, Hong Kong and the USA. One of the world’s largest ranges of CPU and GPU coolers is still the core of our company. While the PC business is losing weight, OEM solutions in the data centre and high performance computing area are gaining traction.
bit-tech: What are some milestones of the past 15 years?
Magnus: In 2004 we launched the Freezer 4, one of the first heat pipe CPU coolers. With this milestone we developed a way to cool more powerful CPUs virtually silently.
In 2003 we launched the trend towards large GPU coolers and introduced the Direct Heat Exhaust System where a fan pushes air through a heatsink and bracket directly out of the PC case. This system is still in use by AMD and Nvidia.
Until 2006 it was unimaginable to cool high-end graphics cards without a fan. With our Accelero S1 we allowed a completely passive cooling of the ATI X1950 for the first time.
In 2007 we launched our thermal compound Arctic MX-2, which is still top of its class in regards to application, long term performance and price/performance.
Since the re-naming in 2010, we expanded our product portfolio with headphones and computer equipment and established in 2013 our German office with a sales, marketing, logistics and support team to provide the European market with the best possible service.
Click to enlarge - The Arctic Liquid Freezer 240
bit-tech: Cooling is clearly the main area of focus for you. What is your current best-selling cooling product for EU consumers?
Magnus: The best-selling cooling product is our Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 – a multi-compatible high performance all-in-one CPU water-cooler. It comes with the most efficient pump and through the push-pull configuration it delivers outstanding CPU cooling performance, also for overclocked systems.
bit-tech: Are the demands of EU consumers for cooling products different from those in other markets you operate in? If so, how?
Magnus: Our customers expect innovative quality products with a fair price tag independent of the country they are from. We never run tired inventing new technologies. While you can rely on our cooling solutions to offer the highest performance at minimum noise levels, we focus on comfort and a clean and natural response in our headphones.
Click to enlarge - The Arctic Accelero Hybrid III 140
bit-tech: How successful are your GPU cooling products? Custom GPU coolers from third parties like MSI, Asus etc. are really good these days; are these product lines something you're looking to continue?
Magnus: Many third party as well as stock coolers definitely offer room for improvement in terms of noise-performance. Though we know from our customers that it is challenging to change a GPU cooler.
Generally we see a future in the high-end retail segment. From spring 2017 onwards we will offer water-cooling OEM solutions. This way our customers can get a high-end liquid cooler on their graphics card without the trouble of changing coolers.
bit-tech: Many of your products seem to target the low-end and mainstream markets. Why haven't you pursued more enthusiast or high-end segments?
Magnus: Since the very beginning Arctic's philosophy has remained unchanged - offering consumers value for money and innovations at affordable prices. Our products may be no frills, but they offer top-of-the line quality. From our view a product with 10 percent higher performance and 100 percent higher cost is not attractive.
With the Liquid Freezer 240, for example, we offer top performance in CPU cooling and the very same with our Hybrid on the GPU side.
Click to enlarge - The Arctic P614 BT headphones
bit-tech: Cooling isn't the only market you operate in as there are also audio products and accessories. What specifically do you look for when entering a new market?
Magnus: It all starts with building up know-how internally, way before a first product is launched in the market. The focus in our headphones business is to offer mainstream customers our Arctic value and quality. To make crisp and clear sound affordable for everyone is our mission.