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Interview with Asetek CEO André Sloth Eriksen - Interview with Asetek CEO André Sloth Eriksen

[NordicHardware]: Could you give us a short introduction of yourself?

[Andre Sloth Eriksen]: Well since this is for Nordic Hardware, it is probably appropriate to state that I am Norwegian, raised in Denmark and live in Silicon Valley.

I have an education as a tool maker and therefore I know quite a bit about molding and stamping tools, turning, milling, welding, CNC machining, manufacturing etc. After making tools got boring I took my engineering degree, got a job at Danfoss (yes the compressor manufacturer) as a management trainee, left after a year and officially started Asetek as a corporation.

Since then I have taken several executive management programs, went to MIT doing entrepreneurship etc. I have driven Motocross for 9 years, done wind surfing just as long (sadly I do not have time for it anymore), I love to ski and build Harley's (custom choppers) and all kind of extreme hardware, super cars and racing  :)

Click to enlarge

[NH]: How did you come up with the idea of making phase change coolers for a living? Were you actually challenged to build a faster computer?

[ASE]: As stated above, I love speed, fast things and hardware (expensive combo unfortunately) while I have never been much of a gamer. While studying at the university I spent ALL my money on hardware. I would rather eat red sausages for a week than avoid getting the latest and greatest hardware. I had a Pentium Pro 180 overclocked to 250MHz, Adaptec SCSI Ultra Wide controllers, 10K RPM (!) drives etc. It was probably a 10-15K$ PC just for the fun of building and installing it. It was mainly used for Word  :)

My group mates loved to game, which was not really my big thing as stated, but I did some Red Alert and Rally over Coax LAN though. I remember I got a version of MotoRider which we also played in network. The funny thing was that I could always beat one of my group mates, although we both knew that he was a far better gamer.

Then we swapped PC's and guess what, he lapped me within 3 laps. So the conclusion was, that the faster PC you got, the faster you could go! THAT started the whole thing, as I then started to search for the best cooling method to get highest overclock.

[NH]: How do you feel when you read around and find that others are also building phase change coolers, sometimes two or even three stage cascades, to cool their rigs? (You can’t deny that it somehow makes you feel a bit warm inside)

[ASE]: To be honest the cascade and liquid Nitrogen thing does not really turn me on. Instead of trying to get the fastest overclock it is more about building the craziest cooler, which is just another thing. In fact I don't like the idea that I have to transport my PC on a trailer, and only being able to run it for a few minutes at the time. I prefer looking at overclocking within the framework of a PC. While not turning me on, I can easily imagine why others think it's cool though.

[NH]: So, what is the craziest cooler you've ever built?

[ASE]: Wrt. cooling we have also built pretty crazy systems in our labs just for the fun of it. However we have thermal chambers that go down to -80, and if you put a VapoChill in there, you will get pretty low temperatures, so we do not really have to use extreme setups. Such a thermal chamber costs $100,000 so it is obviously not something that private users just happen to have. I would assume a deep freezer with a VapoChill inside would also go far ;) I know some on our engineering team are starting up an internal "Asetek overclocking club" to make some use of all high end hardware and have some fun.

[NH]: In 2003, Asetek presented the WaterChill product line, what made you decide to broaden your  assortment with water cooling products?

[ASE]: We had looked at liquid cooling for quite some time. Most systems at the market required a craftsman to install it, and performance was poor. We saw an opportunity on leveraging our brand, getting higher volume and provide end user value. As you can read in my blog it was a great success.

[NH]: One year later you introduced the Antarctica CPU block and in 2005, the integrated pump and reservoir that could be controlled through USB and software. This was the last real retail products you launched. Do you hope to return to the retail channel or will you instead work through partners?

[ASE]: Good question. When we look ourselves in the mirror we know that we are good at making coolers, and that's what we will continue to do. I do not find it likely that we will return to the channel market as a brand, but I find it very likely that some of our products will be sold retail through partners.

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  1. Interview with Asetek CEO André Sloth Eriksen
  2. Interview with Asetek CEO André Sloth Eriksen - Du är här
  3. Interview continued
  4. Interview continued

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