Most PCDIY readers are aware of the wide range of components ASUS produces. What many may not be aware of is ASUS has a special system integrator program that directly integrates the utilization of those components for those that do not DIY. This program is called Powered By ASUS and is comprised of industry leading system integrators who design, develop and produce complete systems. The unique aspect is these integrators bring their design expertise and integration experience along with utilization of ASUS hardware all together. They are the ultimate DIY builders as every system is purpose-built for a specific user utilizing far superior hardware than what you find from big box builders.
Powered By ASUS
For users looking to have all the benefits of the latest and greatest ASUS hardware but in a system that offers up an assured level of reliability, stability, compatibility, performance & functionality and most importantly support, this is a great option. Furthermore it eliminates the complexity, learning curves, varied pitfalls and time-consuming aspects of DIY while keeping all the benefits of advanced hardware used in the build.
In this Q&A we are going to be talking to Steiger Dynamics, a newer system integrator but one that has hit the ground running with beautiful minimal designs weighted in performance and entertainment. Their vision of enabling a PC centric platform at the center of your gaming, productivity, and media experience is one I embrace and love and feel media PCDIY enthusiasts can respect. More importantly they bring a sense of premium design to the systems they build and the experiences they offer. You will not find entry-level as it counter intuitive to the fabric of offering the best experiences whether it be music, movies, games or productivity.
Beyond the Q&A you will also have a chance to win a complete system from STEIGER DYNAMICS which commemorates our 500 million motherboard and 125 million graphics card anniversary! ( for those that not patient head to the end of the post to enter )
You can also see a full overview of Steiger Dynamics Maven Pure PC we are giving away.
So let’s kick off this Q&A! For our Q&A we were lucky enough to interview someone who has been part of SD since the beginning with CEO and Co Founder – Martin Gossner
Below are some examples of the beautifully crafted full aluminum system Steiger Dynamics offers. These include the ERA, MAVEN and LEET.
Q – PCDIY – Please introduce yourself and your position at the company?
My name is Martin Gossner and I am the CEO and co-founder of Steiger Dynamics. I was born in Germany but came to the US about 3 years ago with the aim to bring high-end computing to the living room. I’ve had an obsession with PCs since I was 11 years old and always used to help out friends and family with their computers and home entertainment systems. So I decided to bring that together and make a career out of it. My other big interest is in cars. After graduating from college and before starting Steiger, I worked as a Product Strategist with Mercedes-Benz, helping to create the cars of the future. Being deeply involved in the design process with a major car company definitely helped me to create the products that make up Steiger Dynamics.
Q – PCDIY – How long has Steiger Dynamics been in business?
We started working on the LEET Living Room PC in the beginning of 2011, and founded the company a year later. Backing us is more than 30 years of expertise when it comes to computer hardware and 15 years of working with liquid cooling and home theaters.
Q – PCDIY – How does Steiger Dynamics see themselves in offering systems to the consumer? Which consumers and segments do you produce products for?
Our customers can generally be divided into two large groups: video/audio enthusiasts and gamers. But then of course audiophiles want to occasionally game, and vice versa. Luckily, our systems can do it all and without compromise. Furthermore, both groups have something in common: they both want the ultimate entertainment experience for whatever they do. We are talking large screens with up to 4K resolution, 60+ Hz refresh rates, maximum detail, real surround sound, and all from the comfort of the couch. Only a living room PC can provide that. As far as our distribution model goes, we sell worldwide through our website. Not going through dealers allows us to keep cost in check which ultimately benefits our customers.
Q – PCDIY – If you had to describe Steiger Dynamics in three words what would those be?
I need four: Revolutionizing the living room
Q – PCDIY – Where does the name come from?
Since Steiger Dynamics is based on German perfectionism and attention to detail, we wanted this to be reflected in the company name. ‘Dynamics’ refers to the always-improving functionality of our systems and the acoustic range those can output.
Design, Details, Experience & more
Q – PCDIY – Steiger Dynamics is a fairly new system integrator but one with a different mindset in the design, development of their systems. Steiger Dynamics has a focus centered on enabling an amazing living room / large screen experience driven by the PC. More so their appreciation of the PC and its flexibility functionality and performance defines a perspective of only the PC being able to offer the most complete range of experiences. Even more importantly is these experiences are best in class. Where does this mindset and perspective come from?
We have been PC and PC Gaming enthusiasts since we were kids. Intel 286 and MS-DOS 6.22 for the win. When I first got my own place, right around the time Windows XP was released, I developed a strong passion for home entertainment. Back then, I routed long cables through the house to connect the desktop PC to the tube TV and speakers so I could use it as a music and movie player for the living room. TV and audio technologies eventually improved and once LED TVs and surround sound systems became affordable, I wanted to use those for gaming also. It was in 2010 when we realized that there were no perfect solutions to our needs for living room entertainment and gaming. There were just too many devices, too many cables, too many remotes, and most importantly, too many different graphical user interfaces. This was the moment the idea for STEIGER DYNAMICS was born, and when we started to conceptualize the LEET Living Room PC.
Q – PCDIY – While many PCDIY enthusiasts have a mindset of building themselves and that it is “easy” there can be a lot of complexity in optimally understanding platform considerations and configurations. Additionally changes to architecture, interoperability & compatibility as well as real world implementations can make the selection and build process difficult. Even more so specifying, assembling and optimally building & configuring / tuning a system. Beyond that there are thermal and acoustics considerations. Steiger Dynamics eliminates all of this and offers up systems that have been carefully designed, validated and tested to offer a best in class experience for an immersive large screen PC. With these points in mind how you feel Steiger Dynamics offers value to brining custom PCs to users and customers?
A lot of people know how to build a standard PC in a large desktop tower, slam some hardware inside, and get a system that works ok. What we do is on a completely different level, from designing and producing our own cases, to an extremely specific component selection, to custom component solutions, to optimizing and tuning the overall system. All that while having best-in-class quietness, power draw, and reliability as top priorities.
Q – PCDIY – Steiger Dynamics has put a lot of effort in designing systems with an outward minimalism and clean aesthetic while putting in considerable effort to offer truly custom experience ranging from your custom chassis to custom sleeving options to support for an internally developed monitoring suite for a front mounted display. Users even looking for acoustics improvement can option special dampening options. While things may maintain a simple and clean outward aesthetic there is definitely more than meets the eye. Why take such a customized approach to building Steiger Dynamics systems?
When we considered starting the company to make high-end PCs for the living room, it was clear that we were going to do it right. Back then, we identified the strongholds of the best desktop and laptop PCs on the market, including Apple. We looked at the modding scene, along with Hi-Fi setups and living room furniture. Then we started brain storming about which features would really make sense and contribute to the overall experience. Most high-end desktop PC companies usually brag about how their systems are either performing well, are very reliable, or how quiet they are. For us, those are the so-called ‘Hygiene Factors’, attributes of our system that we consider to go without saying. On top of that comes the real value, namely design, look and feel, form factor, timelessness, and functionality.
Q – PCDIY – Steiger from the beginning has focused on an uncompromising design philosophy of enabling systems that offer best in class experience and not a race to the bottom in regards to quality, features, functionality or performance? Why go this route?
We strongly believe that a living room PC has to be better than a desktop tower in all regards. It shouldn’t be audible at all and the design should have the ‘wow’ effect to everyone walking into the room. Those attributes bring up the price, but in our opinion this is well worth it. We think that our systems have an elegant and timeless design, and their full upgradability makes them an investment that can be enjoyed for decades
Q – PCDIY – What are some of the aspects of your team or internal practices, procedures that separate you from other builders?
We have no time pressure during assembly. Our number one priority is constructing a perfect system. I don’t care if that means a couple of hours more or less, and consequently the cost of those hours. A fully customized LEET with two graphics cards and custom liquid cooling can take more than 20 man hours to assemble and test. While this does lead to a higher price, our close-to-zero RMA rates easily make up for that. If your Steiger Dynamics system has a hardware issue, you can be pretty sure that this bad luck and not due to sloppiness in production. By the way, I still run quality control tests on every single system that is about to leave production. If it’s not perfect, it’s immediately going back to assembly.
Q – PCDIY – What is the assembly process like in building a system internally? Is it handled by one individual or a team?
I guess that question brings me back to my time at Mercedes: We have a ‘one man, one machine’ assembly model, just like the AMG engine factory. We also believe that the person who built your specific HTPC can best answer any question you may have about it, so that is how we handle customer support
Q – PCDIY – One area I see many builders make mistakes at is how they select components based purely on price as opposed to intended usage and functionality and other important metrics. For ASUS we have long messaged spec does not equal experience as functionality and usability is not always present in the specification. An example is a one motherboard may offer fan headers and so does our but only ours offer complete per header control with support for calibration, ramping control and DC or PWM output. How do products get selected for your systems?
We are extremely particular with our component selection process. We first screen the market for potential candidates. We then dive deep into existing reviews of those components and make a pre-selection. After that we contact the respective manufacturers and ask for their RMA rates and request samples from them. We then evaluate and benchmark the samples to destruction. We guarantee that we only use the most reliable and best-in-class components, no matter the cost. Using only the best components makes our systems more expensive than others, but I sincerely hope that our potential customers understand and appreciate that. Ultimately, this is shown in our RMA rate, which is close to zero and probably the lowest in the industry.
Q – PCDIY – Steiger Dynamics is one of the few vendors that offers complete HTPC system offering specialized hardware like Ceton cable card tuners and more. You are also a member of the CEA. I take it the team at Steiger are media enthusiasts and build systems for media enthusiasts?
Everybody at Steiger has a passion for audio and video, but also gaming. I played semi-pro Counterstrike 1.6 back in the day. Today, I like to enjoy a decent round of BF4 on my MAVEN setup with Couchmaster lapdesk. I am actually playing as STEIGER DYNAMICS and can be found on west-coast hardcore conquest servers. What we all have in common is the love for what an HTPC can do. Therefore, it’s very easy for us to bond with customers who are looking for a media-centric device for their living room. Myself along with the employees are always putting ourselves in our customer’s shoes to figure out what they might like or dislike. Combining this with our own knowledge and preferences helps us out a lot when creating the best living room PC experience out there.
Q – PCDIY – Support and the overall customer experience is one of the key areas where a system integrator can make or break themselves? How important is the customer at the bringing of decision what system to get and what type of support or assistance do they receive? More importantly what about 6 months after they have had the system?
Customer satisfaction is our first priority. And I mean that. You won’t find one negative review or forum thread about us. Nobody at SD receives sales commission so there is no upselling. We want to make sure each and every one of our customers is getting the system that exactly caters to their specific wants and needs. Usually our customers tell us exactly what they want to do and if they have any restriction regarding cabinet size or connectivity. From there we can recommend specific systems and options. Every customer gets lifetime customer care and up to 3 years warrant for parts.
Q – PCDIY – Why should a potential novice builder as well as a seasoned builder consider a pre-built system from Steiger Dynamics?
Compared to a regular PC, our systems are fairly complex to assemble and some of the custom solutions we use are not available on the free market unless we sell them. Examples would be our cases, tailor-made PSU and SATA cables, fan gaskets, and radiators. Even very seasoned builders would have issues reproducing our assembly quality. Another thing is the components we use, which have been carefully chosen and perfected over years. Most components look comparable on paper but aren’t in real life. These can be little things, like BR drives having the button on the wrong place, or bigger things like a liquid cooler not fitting due to the height of the pump. Last but not least comes the optimization and fine tuning. Our overclocks are done in a way that all energy-saving measures stay in place when the system is idle. We also set perfectly optimized fan curves for each system and specification individually. This ensures maximum quietness in idle and load, but enough cooling performance to not unnecessarily stress the components.
Q – PCDIY – Steiger Dynamics focuses a lot on having high quality gold and platinum power supplies. This helps to enable quiet and efficient and reliable systems. Why go with more expensive options like this? When building systems especially systems where users may upgrade their GPU or storage array is pre cabling done to make upgrade easy and more seamless?
Yes, all our systems are prepared for upgrades with all necessary screws included and cables pre-routed for plug and play component add-on. Using only top-of-the-line power supplies with highest efficiency does help keep the system cool and quiet. Another issue is the extremely low ripple and noise of those PSUs, helping to get a very clean audio signal to the speakers. We even offer linear power supplies with an external unit which do not have any ripple or noise.
Q- PCDIY – What are your thoughts on the current landscape of PC as a media platform whether it be audio, video or gaming. We see it as the most robust and flexible platform with the most growth opportunities especially as we move into UHD displays, VR, 3D and more?
The PC is the common denominator for every service or technology out there. No other platform can do the same in regards to flexibility, robustness, and performance. We strongly believe in the further progression of the PC, especially when combined with an open operating system like Windows or SteamOS.
Q – PCDIY – Why does Steiger Dynamic’s systems pick ASUS?
ASUS clearly won our motherboard component selection process mentioned before. They offer everything we need, from the type and number of internal connectors, to rear I/O connectors, to extensive fan controllers. And the performance and reliability of their motherboards aligns exactly with what we want to use for our systems.
Q – PCDIY – Over the last 5 years ASUS has spent a huge amount of time and effort in the design, development and implementation of a wide range of features, functionality. Has there been any that you have really appreciated or were / are excited to see implemented?
I guess we are fully utilizing and appreciating every single special feature ASUS motherboards have to offer. Apart from the fan control mentioned before, those are particularly the high-quality analog sound outs, optional Thunderbolt cards and M.2 PCIe SSDs slots.
Steiger Dynamics Complete System Giveaway
That wraps up our Q&A hopefully this has given you some insight into the time and effort and overall passion Steiger Dynamics brings to the table when designing and producing outstanding custom systems. Below you will find a link to those who are interested in winning complete system from Steiger Dynamics.
Where to go to submit your entry to win? Good Luck!
System specifications ( They are awesome! ) A limited edition SABERTOOTH Z97 Mark S and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 and much more.
|Motherboard||ASUS TUF Sabertooth Z97 Mark S|
|CPU||Intel® Core™ i7 4790K|
|Graphics||ASUS NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980|
|Memory||HyperX Fury 16 GB (2×8 GB) DDR3|
|Storage||18 TB (3x 6.0 TB) WD RedHDDs240 GB Intel 730 SSD|
|Networking||Integrated Intel Gigabit I218 & Realtek 8111GR Gigabit|
|Optical Drive||Slot-in Blu-ray/DVD rewriter with Blu-ray|
|Chassis||Silver, full-aluminum STEIGER DYNAMICS MAVEN HTPC Chassis|
|Power Supply||Seasonic X 660W (80 PLUS Platinum)|
|CPU Cooling||Quiet STEIGER DYNAMICS 120 mm Pre-Sealed Liquid Cooling with temperature-dependent speed-variable 120 mm fan|
|Operating System||Windows 8.1|
|Warranty||2 Year Part Replacement, Lifetime Customer Care|
Pictures of the giveaway system!