Update on Roch. computer maker, answer to Chuck trivia
Here's some from an update I have in today's edition on Hardcore, Rochester's submerged cooled, custom computer maker.
If business is like a video game, then Rochester's Hardcore Computer has survived the first level and is stepping into a fresh new world.
Now armed with two new models with a "killer prototype" in the wings, the maker of liquid-cooled, high-end computers seems ready to rack up a bigger score in 2010.
"We're very happy with the beta launch," says CEO Al Berning of how the Rochester start-up fared with its Reactor desktop computer targeted at gamers. "In 2009, we're happy with what we achieved on the initial product. … Of course, we were affected by the economy like everyone was."
In the end, Hardcore sold hundreds of the customized machines built individually for each customer. They sell for between $4,000 to $7,000 each.
The first machine running Hardcore's cutting edge system submerged in cooling liquid attracted gamers and adventurous, first adopters. And it proved that the technology works.
"It got us word of mouth and lots of publicity," says Hardcore co-founder and chief technology officer Chad Attlesey.
A Hardcore computer even shared TV screen time with actors Scott Bakula and Chevy Chase in a 2009 episode of the TV show "Chuck."
While Hardcore survived the rough and tumble economy, the tough times made them decide to speed up the company's long-term strategy a bit to strengthen their position. That meant pushing Attlesey and his development team.
By January, the team had developed not only an updated Reactor model, but also a new work station machine and a prototype for a Blade server. The work station and the server extend the company's reach beyond the high-end desktop market.
"It is kind of like automobile makers. They have a Formula One race team to develop and try out some of their high tech parts, but they also have their fleet car," says Attlesey. "So eventually that technology winds up there. So the servers are the beneficiaries of the technology we develop for the desktop."
The first step toward that $50 billion computer server was taking the original Reactor race car to the next level.
Hardcore rolled out Reactor X in January. Its price range starts at $5,000 to $10,000, and it improves on the first machine's performance.
"We were the only ones to beat," says Attlesey.
His team also introduced the Detonator work station in January. It is designed to be used for more professional uses than the entertainment-focused Reactor.
"With the Detonator, we will target business research, medical imaging and military markets," says Berning.
Costing between $7,000 to $15,000 each, the Detonator sports two Intel processors. It's created to take advantage of the next generation of more powerful Intel processors coming down the pipeline.
The first Detonator shipped this month for $14,000.
Following behind the Detonator is a machine that the Hardcore thinks could really change everything for the high-perform server market.
It adapts their liquid cooling technology to a Blade server system, the type seen in most offices and data centers.
Beside speed, power and stability, Attlesey says it has another trait that should be very attractive to large data centers. It takes a lot less energy to run than the machine currently on the market.
"The cooling system we have has potential to become ubiquitous in the server marker," he says. "It is something that eventually everyone will probably have to adapt to so they can get the cost savings … energy savings. It is a major green play."