Custom Systems: Refreshing Ideas For Upcoming Builds


This is our latest installment in a continuing series focusing on the custom system ecosystem--spotlighting companies and organizations that provide valuable tools, technologies or products for system builders across the board. What they have to offer could play a strong role in the upcoming PC refresh cycle for system builders.

PC Power & Cooling
Last year, when the CRN Test Center built its Ultimate PC--designing and constructing a system with the most raw performance possible--we wanted to make sure we had the right power supply.
We turned to PC Power & Cooling's Turbo-Cool 1200, which gave us 1,200 continuous watts and as much as 1,400 watts at peak--more than enough to get the job done supporting a quad-core CPU and three Nvidia GPUs. PC Power & Cooling, Carlsbad, Calif., delivers a wide range of power supply components to the system
builder ecosystem. The vendor has had staying power and reach in the channel, so we believe it should be a top-of-mind supplier during the approaching PC refresh cycle.

Canonical
Windows 7 will get the lion's share of attention in the coming months since Microsoft officially launched the OS in October.
However, Canonical has been working during the past 18 months, with a nascent channel support program in North America, to continue to keep a foot in the door for its Ubuntu Linux server, desktop and netbook OSes. Based in London with a U.S. team in Lexington, Mass., Canonical has been working to provide extended support options for VARs and solution providers to deliver--in addition to the free OS software. In October, Canonical kept with its twice-per-year upgrade cycle and officially launched Ubuntu 9.10.

Evercase
Evercase has headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, with its U.S. office in San Jose, Calif. It's fair to say that most system builders put a high premium on ease of access during the construction of a desktop PC, and Evercase heeds that directive. We like that the company provides Micro ATX towers such as the ECE3275-PST--which offers screwless drive installation and is built with a three-piece cover.
Increasingly, the CRN Test Center has come to view the PC chassis as a competitive weapon in the delivery of custom desktops, from pricing, design, and fit and finish perspectives. We believe Evercase offers a solid option for system builders.

Cooler Master
Cooler Master is another company that has delivered components used by the CRN Test Center in Ultimate PC builds through the years, and the company has paid attention to the needs of system builders who need to stuff additional graphics cards, cooling mechanisms and more into PC cases (including its 932 HAF). The company also provides an array of reliable PC fans and cooling devices we believe will be a good start for the coming PC refresh cycle.
The bottom line: The custom-PC space relies on vendors that can offer flexibility, availability and customizability to the channel. These products and technologies all have enough staying power to play an important role in the system-builder ecosystem.