External Drive Bays, Small Form Factor HAF, And Notebook Cooling
Q. More and more modern PCs are ditching optical drives and floppy drives. Also, for memory cards, more people are using the card readers integrated into their monitors. In this way, the need for the external 5.75 inch drive seems to be dwindling. How does Cooler Master see this trend? Is there still a need for these bays? Will we be seeing less external drive bays in future Cooler Master cases in favor of other components or better airflow?
A. [Rajiv] I do believe that we have options available for all types of builders and there is always going to be people that find a use for the 5.75" bays. We absolutely notice the trend (back in the day people have 2-3 cdrw/dvd drives.. now its normally 1), but giving flexibility will always be a key focus across the product line so there is an option for any build type.
[Nic] We've definitely been monitoring computer hardware and usage trends. We're also mindful of periodically surveying users to see where everyone sits on what legacy devices they'd like to see done away with. Trends do appear to show that people will eventually move away from various components like an ODD, but you'd be surprised how many still want it as a feature. There's also the issue of many DIY liquid cooling reservoir + pump combos that occupy those 5.25" bay spaces.
I'm personally leaning towards having those removed, but I like to tinker. I could see a nice compromise as offering a slim drive slot to free up some space for more cooling or other fun activities. As for our case line, we'll keep watching.
[Jon] You have minimalists who have space concerns, to have the smallest enclosure because of overall room limitations on one side. On the other side you have enthusiasts who need 5.25" bays for mounting hardware, and those who see more bays as a benefit. If you surveyed the average mid tower released 5 years ago, it would have 5 x 5.25" bays. Today that same sized chassis will have 3.
Cooler Master is a global company, and without speculating on new products in the pipeline, I think its safe to say some markets will see smaller, highly space efficient chassis like the N200. I mentioned the N200 because it only has 1 5.25" bay but it is one of the only MATX chassis that supports a 240mm radiator and fans with push/pull internally.
Q. Is Cooler Master going to develop a HAF series in small form factor chassis any time soon?
A. Without giving too many details - yes!
Q. Modern laptops run very hot due to their extreme compact form, and in order to cool these, you sell many great fan coolers. In Japan, some companies, such as ELECOM, sell liquid/gel based cooling pads to offer better cooling. This works by having a flexible surface contact the bottom of the laptop directly, absorbing the heat. Do you plan on releasing any laptop cooler that works like this?
A. Currently, we do not have any plans for products like this but that could change given we are increasing focus on our mobile line of products.