Without doubt, Thermaltake is a Marmite company. Some people absolutely adore it, while others are just as vocal in the opposite direction. Whatever your personal feelings, there is no doubt that 15 years in the technology industry has seen some iconic releases from this Taiwanese manufacturer. KitGuru was fortunate enough to get an exclusive interview with CEO Kenny Lin as his company launches a year of celebration.
There are few times in the history of the PC where you can say that you were genuinely surprised, but with the launch of the original Level 10 chassis, Thermaltake achieved that kind of moment.
Looking back to 2007 there was the Big Typhoon 120 VX cooler which, back in the era of the Core2Duo, was the Intel cooler of choice for many hardcore overclockers.
In terms of power supply, don't forget the ingenuity which created a 2 x 750w units bolted together to allow for a 1,500w PSU – popular with world beating systems like the XCP from specialist builders like Armari.
More recently, the company has been making more headlines for its Tt eSports line, adding in new levels of innovation from Thermaltake's purpose-built design centre.
The last division is the premier accessory brand, Luxa2 – responsible for award winning products in its own right, including the powerful Groovy wireless speaker system.
Now in its 15th year, the company is ready to unveil new plans.
To ensure that he understands exactly what's needed, Kenny Lin went through some hardcore gamer training from professionals and the company has a long association with some of the world's leading players, like White Ra.
Kenny, what did you do before Thermaltake?
I am an engineer myself and originally joined another thermal company called AAVID before establishing Thermaltake Technology.
What was Thermaltake’s first product?
In 2000, Thermaltake manufactured the world's first turbine cooler ‘Golden Orb' for Intel Pentium and AMD processors.
When did you start making chassis?
In 2003, Thermaltake launched the first chassis – XASER2 full tower PC case with transparent window.
OK, so when did Thermaltake start making power supplies?
In 2003, Thermaltake launched a fanless power supply with embedded heat pipe.
More recently, the push has been on pro-gaming. Which Titles drew you into PC gaming?
My favourites were StarCraft2, DOTA2 & Call of Duty and I spent a lot of time practising, to try and understand exactly what gamers needed from us.
When did you launch Tt eSports?
Thermaltake had already built its reputation in the case, cooler and PSU markets over many years. But we were aware of constant requests for specialist peripherals from gamers and end users. We decided to launch a unique range of gaming keyboards, mice and headsets under the Tt eSPORTS brand in 2010.
This new brand allowed us to extend our product lines, to provide ‘personalised gaming gear' for professional and enthusiast gamers worldwide. We want our customers to win in competitive cyber battles and we believe that our Tt eSPORTS range gives them the high quality ‘weapons' they need to win.
Essentially, our Tt eSPORTS products have been designed by gamers for gamers.
How often do you game yourself?
A lot! Playing games at a serious level is inspiring. I play mobile games ever day as well as getting at least 3 serious sessions on the PC every week. As well as StarCraft and League of Legends, I enjoy Need4speed, Modern Combat 4 etc.
When my team and I are gaming, that's when we get our best ideas. We have a purpose built pro-gaming area at Thermaltake HQ. Once we get an idea, we can walk around the corner to Product Development and, in less than 5 minutes, one of our engineers can begin looking at the suggestion.
We know you cycle a lot, is it important to balance ‘sitting at the keyboard’ with ‘working in the gym’?
Work-life balance in order for me to get 100% focus on my work. As well as long distance cycling, I also go to the gym to work out and I do some serious jogging every weekend!
Can you tell us about Thermaltake’s DNA?
Thermaltake technology Group is a multi-layered company with several subsidiaries and three brands, marketing to many sectors. Thermaltake itself covers PC cases, power supply units, coolers and storage. The Tt eSPORTS brand includes gaming peripherals, gaming mice, headsets and keyboards. Lastly, LUXA2 offers mobile accessories and audio solution, as well as power solutions and other accessories for smart phones and tablets. Those 3 divisions form the overall structure to our company.
In order to maintain consistency and long-term communication with our clients and consumers, every member of staff within the Thermaltake Group is encouraged to display the main characteristics of Thermaltake's culture. Namely Courage, Passion and Perseverance. That is the fundamental building block of Thermaltake's DNA. When it works well, it helps us deliver on our mission of ‘Delivering the perfect user experience'.
At Thermaltake technology Group, we strive to deliver the most innovative, stylish and high quality products in the world. All of our brands are focused on creating the ‘perfect user experience'. That's part of our long-term vision, to build Thermaltake into ‘a cultural brand for the enjoyment of entertainment, e-Sports, technology and lifestyle'.
What are your plans for the future of Thermaltake?
After building the products that we believed were right for the market, in 2012 we began an initiative to listen more to customers and to reach out and ‘touch' them whenever possible.
As well as launching a specialist online store called TtBUY, we have also started to create Tt eSPORTS stores – including our flagship branch in Taiwan. These stores increase our ‘touch points' with our customers – as well as letting them experience the full spirit of the brand.
Going forward, we will gradually open more and more of these e-Sports flagship stores – both in the USA and across Europe.