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AquaComputer missing an opportunity?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I recently purchased the beautiful AC Kryographics R9 290(X) water block along with a Powercolor PCS+ R9 290 card after checking on several sites and forums that the card was of a reference design. However, it turns out that Powercolor and a couple of other manufacturers under the TUL Corp. banner have recently revised the PCB, so it's no longer reference making my shiny new AC block useless.

I contacted AC about this, asking if they had any plans to make a revised block for the new PCB that's being used by Powercolor, VTX3D and Club3D (so that's a minimum of 6 290 models with the new PCB, possibly more). Unfortunately, their reply says that they will not be making a new block. Here's what I was told...
Quote:
We will not produce a block for that specific card. Producing a block for an alternative layout only makes sense when we know that several other manufacturers use this layout too, otherwise the risk to produce a shelf warmer is too high.

Ok, I can understand this, and I wouldn't expect anything less for a business wanting to maximise profits. Surely though, isn't Powercolor, VTX3D and Club3D "several manufacturers"? And it's not just one "specific card".

So here's the thing; now that Powercolor, VTX3D and Club3D are no longer producing reference design cards, and most other manufacturers are making their own custom PCBs (I've tried getting a reference design card, they don't seem to exist anymore) doesn't this make the AC block obsolete now? Plus in my message to AC I fully stated that all three companies are using the new PCB layout. Ok, so they are all part of TUL Corp. but that still covers almost all of the budget end of the market, and the higher end all use custom PCBs now anyway.

To add to this, EKWB are going to be making a full cover block for the new design, so they clearly believe that there is a need, and a profitable business opportunity in making a block.

I know how well the AC block performed compared to others, and it looks great too. I think it would be a great shame and a missed opportunity for AC
not
to make one for the new PCB. Maybe Shoggy can have a word and see if they will change their minds? wink.gif

It looks like EK will end up getting my custom, but I wish it was going to be AC.

/end rant
    
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post #2 of 33
Problem is none of those brands are considered major brands and probably comprise around 5% of the total sales of the video cards purchased as a whole (if that much).

To further water it down of that 5% the r9 290 non reference cards are probably 10% to 20% of those brands actual sales of all the cards they make.

It can cost 10's of thousands of $ from idea to production to make a single major wc part like a gpu block and you can see why they will not be making a non reference pcb designed block.
post #3 of 33
Thread Starter 
Oh yes, I do understand this. However, if that was truly the case, wouldn't EK be mad to make a block for this new PCB design? They must surely think it's worth the time and effort to spend those thousands of dollars in producing a new or revised block.

http://www.ekwb.com/news/503/19/New-Full-Cover-water-block-for-new-Radeon-R9-290X-graphics-cards/

It would seem stupid to make a block for such a small percentage of new cards, unless it's not as small as we think it is after all. Those brands are the bulk of the budget end of the market, and part of the mid-range too.
    
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post #4 of 33
I do wonder sometimes just how much difference there is in what would need machining to accommodate the changes that the card manufacturers seem to just decide to pop on their cards that changes them from REF cards to Un-Ref cards??..

It also baffles me a bit why the card manufacturers just decide to change things without there really being a warning that "This card is now NOT a REF Card" so at least people know before they buy it!!.. I say this because just recently I had myself a total nightmare trying to find a R9 280X REF card for a AC block I had also bought.. Luckily the good people at Scan (Namely a bloke called Dave) went into their store & actually went to look for a REF card for me & found just the one left!!...

I to rate the AC blocks very highly having used them in the past & at present, I also use EK blocks & Heatkiller blocks all are good e.t.c Imo view, But it really can become a minefield out there trying to find a block for a REF card when the manufactures of said cards just decide to change them over night almost... rolleyes.gif .. Just my two penneth worth on it you understand biggrin.gif....

N.
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkcyde13 View Post

Maybe Shoggy can have a word and see if they will change their minds? wink.gif
I am the one who replied to your e-mails so I guess that will already answer it rolleyes.gif

Why the manufacturers change the layout? -> To save production costs or to optimize the card for higher clocks to sell them as more expensive overclock editions. If they are clever they do both things at the same time wink.gif

And the reason why there is no warning about a different layout is pretty obvious: it is a useless information for 99,9% of the customers who buy that card but it could be a confusing information for X% of them and they might decide on another card because of this. Keep in mind that customers with a custom liquid cooled system are a very small group
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkcyde13 View Post

Oh yes, I do understand this. However, if that was truly the case, wouldn't EK be mad to make a block for this new PCB design? They must surely think it's worth the time and effort to spend those thousands of dollars in producing a new or revised block.

http://www.ekwb.com/news/503/19/New-Full-Cover-water-block-for-new-Radeon-R9-290X-graphics-cards/

It would seem stupid to make a block for such a small percentage of new cards, unless it's not as small as we think it is after all. Those brands are the bulk of the budget end of the market, and part of the mid-range too.

EK makes blocks for more models of cards than any other waterblock company. I suspect they are able to do so because their blocks are basically just a square-edged slab of a acrylic / acetal design that looks to be much cheaper to design and produce than their competition which lets them go after smaller markets that others won't / aren't able to. Just compare the generic looks of an EK block to the beautiful designs from companies like Aquacomputer and Watercool, or even Koolance, XSPC or Swiftech. All EK blocks are just square-looking slabs that look almost homemade comparatively. The thing is, even though EK blocks use such a simplistic design on the outside, they quite often outperform everyone else's.
post #7 of 33
Aquacomputer have always had this attitude and its totally reasonable. They make as few blocks as possible and are a small maker compared to EK. Its taken them months just to get 290x backplates out to people.

EK have enough volume that they can afford to make blocks that few actually buy ... like full board motherboard blocks and non ref gpu. They do it to advance the hobby and make little on some.

The external block design has zero to do with it. Take any of them apart and they can only be compared to heatkiller and aquacomputer in terms of complexity. Far more complex than swiftech, xspc, and the like.

Pictures from Strens titan block testing

EK


Heatkiller


XSPC


Swiftech


The swiftech in particular seems laughable compared to EK. Clean design (that people voted for) does in no way equal simplicity.
Edited by Jakusonfire - 7/18/14 at 8:06pm
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Kusanagi
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post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakusonfire View Post

Aquacomputer have always had this attitude and its totally reasonable. They make as few blocks as possible and are small maker compared to EK. Its taken them months just to get 290x backplates out to people.

EK have enough volume that they can afford to make blocks that few actually buy ... like full board motherboard blocks and non ref gpu. They do it to advance the hobby and make little on some.

The external block design has zero to do with it. Take any of them apart and they can only be compared to heatkiller and aquacomputer in terms of complexity. Far more complex than swiftech, xspc, and the like.

That's a bit ridiculous. I'm a production line maintenance engineer in the US automotive industry. I design, implement, improvise and help maintain all forms of production line equipment from CNC to forming and cutting, to various robotic and manual assembly processes ..., you name it. Whenever I look at any product of any type I can't help but analyze it in terms of production processes and costs involved in making it.

Producing these blocks ...



... necessarily entail a fraction of the production time/cost involved in making any of these blocks for the same card..



Little things people too often take for granted like curves and chamfered edges and extra plates of different materials add up to a lot in added production costs over the simple square-looking block design like EK is known for. If you can't just look at them and see all the extra workmanship and materials, not to mention the added design costs involved in creating all the other blocks that EK avoids with their minimalist exterior designs then I really don't know what else to say. It should be pretty self evident to everyone that in every aspect all the other waterblock companies invest a lot more into their block's outward appearance than EK does.
post #9 of 33
If that's true you should understand its the machining and design of the main block that takes time and effort. Not putting a piece of sheet aluminium over the outside, or machining plastic.
Your own particures show how similar the heat killer, aqua computer and EK blocks are. A fraction of the production cost? Can't see how that can be justified. The older versions were at least all metal, tops included.
Edited by Jakusonfire - 7/18/14 at 8:29pm
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post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakusonfire View Post

If that's true you should understand its the machining and design of the main block that takes time and effort. Not putting a piece of sheet aluminium over the outside, or machining plastic..

I'm saying exactly the opposite of that is true. There's nothing production cost-wise that separates the machining of the blocks from any of the major brands. It's the outsides that differentiates them. Angles and curves and holes mean a lot more time per piece in the CNC than a square outside block, and any added materials, extra plates that also need cut and then assembled, which all of them have that EK does not, cost a LOT.
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