It's hard to know why a young chap who grew up near the German border with Holland would end up speaking Mandarin Chinese and running European sales for a major motherboard manufacturer, but that's exactly what Martin Thyssen has ended up doing. KitGuru was fortunate enough to catch up with Martin and ask him about Biostar. Pretzels, white beer and sausage anyone?
Founded in 1986, Biostar started life as a purely-mainboard focused manufacturing company. Under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Mingyi Wang, the company has managed to do well in a very tough/competitive market – adding nVidia and AMD graphics cards to its product line up.
In 1999, the company was floated on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and it has a number of interesting ‘firsts' under its belt – including a claim to being the first company to allow end users to modify video card voltages and frequencies. We believe that youngsters call it ‘overclocking'.
Biostar has 5 major offices across the globe. Alongside its HQ in Sindian City (Taiwan), the USA is run out of California (West Coast) and Miami (East Coast) with another office for Latin America. APAC (Asia Pacific) is run from China and Europe from the Netherlands.
We kicked off with a straight question for Martin, it looks like Biostar has been quiet for a while – what's new?
“We just recently launched the ‘Hi-Fi' series of motherboards”, said Martin. “Which is a combination of Biostar exclusive hardware & software that features the very best in audio quality and performance”.
It's an interesting phrase to use, Hi-Fi. Especially by a German, considering how much influence Martin's people had on its definition. The Deutsches Institut für Normung [German Institute for Standards] defined ‘Hi-Fi' in 1966 under the standard DIN45500. It is meant to be ‘the best audio possible’. Nice.
You have just launched a new range of boards targeting gamers, is this a dip in the water or are you going to continue with this?
“We have a dedicated R&D team focused on nothing else but the gamer market”, he said. “We wish to bring users a product that not only has excellent overclocking capabilities, but also provides a truely high quality experience in both visual and sound”.
Talk is cheap. The proof is in the testing. When KitGuru Labs took a close look at the Biostar TZ77XE4 back in April last year, we were pleasantly surprised. What was the focus when designing this board?
Martin told us, “The Intel Z77 series chipset was a big focus for every motherboard manufacturer. We knew it would be competitive, so we pushed hard to create the best design possible. From a purely technical standpoint, the TZ77XE4 uses supreme power design and 100% solid caps to achieve the best overclocking performance. We also optimised performance for CrossFire, SLI and Virtu”.
So what else is new for the gaming motherboard market?
“Well Biostar Puro will be important”, said Martin. “It heralds a new age in audio experience and its goal is to make your PC into a professional media and entertainment centre. Decades of producing a huge array of mainboards has given us a unique insight into the minds of our customers. We know that our Puro Hi-Fi technology will be perfect for both the HTPC and gaming markets”.
“Whatever a user does with a PC, superior audio quality will make a difference”, he explained. “Biostar Puro is something that will positively affect everyone who chooses one of our Hi-Fi enabled mainboards”.
Interestingly, this Hi-Fi technology is also available on low-end mainboards like the company's new FM2 boards.
We keep hearing this expression, ‘Hi-Fi', but what does it mean with Puro? Can you be specific?
The Puro Hi-Fi technology includes several features, such as high sampling rate, ground-isolation circuit, independent audio power design, built-in amplifier and user-friendly audio software – all of which combine to create a completely different audio experience” said Martin.
He continued, “All the Hi-Fi series motherboards are also equipped with special components to ensure the best possible audio quality consistency – to maintain signal integrity and reduce loss. Through these approaches, audio enthusiasts can experience a variety of digital content, while you, on the other hand can enjoy your favourite music in a professional and affordable way”.
Has the project come to an end we wondered?
“Not at all!”, said Martin. “We have been working hard on Hi-Fi 2 technologies for Windows 8”.
What about the future of the company in Europe? We haven't seen much activity recently – especially when you consider that Biostar revenues have peaked up around $300 million.
“That will change”, he explained. “Biostar is a global manufacturer, sensitive to trading conditions in each region. In recent times, we have focused more on emerging markets, where growth was stronger. We have enjoyed huge success in China, India and other South East Asia markets. Now we're ready to increase sales in 2013 – and part of that increase will come from traditional Western Markets”.
Given Biostar's experience with embedded systems – and the push from Intel and AMD into this market – maybe we'll see more growth from Biostar in 2013 from the kind of systems that power the world around us, unobtrusively.
KitGuru says: We thank Martin for taking the time to speak exclusively with KitGuru. The few boards we've seen from Biostar so far have all been really interesting. Hopefully the Hi-Fi 2 boards will continue that tradition.
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