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Interview with EVGA’s Miodrag Relic

In the modern computer market, loyalty is a rare thing. That EVGA has managed to thrive in an ever more difficult market, while selling only nVidia graphic cards, shows just how determined Andrew Han has been. When he formed the company on 16th July, 1999, the dream was to extend into the system builder, reseller and retail markets. At that time, Miodrag Relic was already doing technical support for notebooks (back in the day when they cost an arm, leg and half your car). Now, as EVGA passes its first decade in the market, Relic has taken over European Marketing for EVGA with a clear directive to build the brand bigger than ever before. That sounds like an interesting journey and we wanted to know more.

KitGuru:  What was your journey from IT management to international marketing?

Miodrag: Growing up, I was fascinated by my father’s work with radar defence systems and  I loved nothing better than taking all sorts of electronics apart, then trying to put them back together again. Not always successfully!

Using a Commodore 64 to learn programming after I joined the parachute regiment was the real start. I loved it, got hooked and never looked back.

In the UK, I ran technical support for several major computer corporations before deciding on a change of career. That’s when I took over marketing at Cooler Master and met Gregor Perng, who is now EVGA Europe Special Assistant to global CEO Andrew Han.

KitGuru: OK, we’ll get back to the parachute regiment story a little later!   For now, what are you responsible for with EVGA?

Miodrag: Traditionally, EVGA has been known for its high end products. We’ve topped the charts in major markets like the USA and now it’s time to generate the same excitement here in the UK and across the rest of Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

That means understanding which products will sell, how to position them in terms of price and performance and, finally, what kind of promotions to run.

In that respect, we’re really lucky to have a partner like nVidia. Jen Hsun Huang is not only an amazing engineer, he is also a really charismatic leader who understands exactly what gamers really want. I mean, let’s get serious, this guy invented the GPU. You can’t ask for more vision than that. His influence is felt throughout the company and that’s why we’re so confident in our DX11 programme.

KitGuru: You mention DX11, we all hear that Fermi has had a lot of challenges, what is the reality and what can KitGuru readers expect from your new range?

Miodrag: We’re delivering a massive leap forward in technology. So far, all you’ve seen is the tip of the iceberg as far as Fermi performance is concerned. Listen, we all know that hardware out strips software by several years. That’s true for all areas of the market. The further ahead your technology, the longer it takes to create the entire ecosystem of development and deployment.

Right now, NVIDIA’s TWIMTBP team is helping thousands of developers create TRUE DX11 content. DX11 that has been done right. The benefits of that development work will be seen more and more clearly over the coming months. I think KitGuru’s readers will be pleasantly surprised!

KitGuru: Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot of rumours surrounding the cancellation of the GTX470, what can you tell our readers?

Miodrag:  That was really funny to read!   We not only have plenty of GTX470 cards at standard clocks, we are also planning a series of new and improved models. Using a unique cooling solution, we will be delivering these cooler, quieter and faster than any GTX470 has ever run. Sometimes, when a new product has been launched, you can find that there is so much demand in the market, that every batch of chips gets sold out very quickly. I guess it’s possible that there was a miscommunication somewhere, but that’s all it was. The GTX470 is alive, kicking and ready to go!

KitGuru:  How are Fermi stocks worldwide?

Miodrag: As the old saying goes, you can never get enough of a good thing. Right now, demand is very high and we only expect that to increase as we begin to ship advanced, DX11 Fermi cards at lower and lower price points.

KitGuru: Enough about graphics, back to you. Do you actually overclock?

Miodrag: Yes! Guilty as charged.  I’m no world champion, but I can spend hours playing with voltages, memory timing and cooling solutions, just trying to get every last drop of performance. In the past, my focus was on CPUs but, with my new role, I have started to really get into the core and memory timings on graphic cards.

My home rig has been built into a new chassis called the BitFenix Colossus, this will launch officially at Computex and you can have a look at one after that, I’m sure. Being an engineer at heart, I use a Cooler master UCP 900 because it is NOT modular and current stability is important to me. My preferred CPU cooler is the Cooler master V8 and that’s all mounted on an EVGA X58 3-Way SLI Classified. My graphics changes all the time, but right now I have a brand new, upcoming DX11 card that I cannot mention 😉

KitGuru: Ah yes. That one. I think we have one of those around here somewhere

The Classified board is an awesome piece of engineering, we love it. But I’m curious, how long does it take to develop something like that? What are the various phases of development ?   How many staff are involved and where does the magic happen?

Miodrag: Good question.  As an example, let me use the upcoming SR2 mainboard. This aims to be the best 5520 chipset board ever made. That’s a serious goal and takes a lot of work. Our engineers have been working on it for more than a year. The main team is located in Taiwan, headed by world famous overclocker Peter ‘Shamino’ Tan. We also work closely with Intel on the chipset and NVIDIA to get the best possible implementation of 4 Way SLI , and let me add that EVGA was the first company in the world to implement that with introduction of GTX 285 Classified.

The testing phase has been amazingly in-depth. We began to work with overclockers outside EVGA almost 6 months ago. That field testing is harsh and necessary.

KitGuru: How good is it for overclocking?

Miodrag: Futuremark records get broken with serious regularity. I’m confident that if you look at this link when reading my interview, you will see SR2 on top of the world.

The last time I checked, the SR2 with GTX Quad SLi was over 20% faster than the next best system, running on a Rampage III Extreme. That’s the overall score. If we just compare the core components, then the CPU test for the SR2 was more than 33% quicker than the Rampage II Extreme.

KitGuru: Fermi is a hot card. We know. We got it up to almost 100 degrees in our stress test.
But that’s something that can be addresses with better cooling. We’ve just worked on an ARES card which offered 667% more airflow than a reference cooler. What plans does EVGA have for more exotic cooling?

Miodrag: SwiftTech is acknowledged as one of the world’s premium suppliers for liquid based cooling solutions. We worked with them to deliver HydroCopper, a phenomenal solution for GTX480 and GTX470.
The standard GTX480 ships at 700Mhz. At that speed, it is the fastest GPU on the planet.  We ship the GTX480 HydroCopper with a stock clock of 750Mhz, as well as the necessary tool to clock it even further.

At this point, you are outside warranty, but I can tell you that we’ve had it to 1Ghz in controlled conditions!  We can’t recommend that everyone goes crazy with HydroCopper, but it certainly is a lot of fun to see what your Fermi card can really do.

KitGuru: We really appreciate you taking the time to let our readers know more about EVGA. We’re really looking forward to seeing the SR2 mainboard, that looks like a very serious piece of kit.

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  1. eVGA make some great products and have done for years. good reading, thanks.

  2. If they can get the temperatures down on fermi, ill be impressed.

  3. that was a surprisingly good read, he sounds more interesting that most company execs.