EKWB Lays Off 25% of Workforce, Blames Lower Watercooling Sales

DanNeely

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EKWB: As mentioned, the 25% reduction happened as a one-time measure to optimize our operations. We grew rapidly in 2020 and 2021, recording more then 30% growth year to year. There was of course some fluctuation during this period, in 2021 4% to be exact. Which is really low compared to benchmarks in our industry. To put things a bit more into perspective: EK took part in Gallup poll of employee engagement survey in 2021 and we are in 6th percentile on a global level (only 6% of companies globally have more engaged employees than EK). We were and still are striving for best working environment. Shortly, EK was and still is one of the best places in the world to have career.

This honestly sounds like a reversion to normal. Ignoring the 4% change last year (since I'm not sure which direction it was), this 25% layoff leaves them at about 97.5% of their 2020 size.

Sucks for the people who lost their jobs, but doesn't look like a reason for the rest of us to be panicking.
 

HeadRusch

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I currently run an AIO 1080 Ti and before that, an AIO 980 Ti......both of which continue to run and cool just fine. But someday........those pumps are going to fail. Whatever I get next, whenever I get it, will be air cooled. Water cooling struck me as a cool visual novelty but in the end what's really gained, in some respects you get lower fan noise but I didn't think that necessarily applied once you hit thermal saturation. Having said that.......my 1080 Ti is pretty quiet and that's just a small square radiator with a low RPM fan hitting it.

Considering all that can n go wrong with Watercooling, and taking the bling factor out of the equation, why do this today, why bother with the risks inherent as seals and gaskets age, the added weight of liquid cooling, etc.......just curious, not picking a fight.
 

Lakados

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I currently run an AIO 1080 Ti and before that, an AIO 980 Ti......both of which continue to run and cool just fine. But someday........those pumps are going to fail. Whatever I get next, whenever I get it, will be air cooled. Water cooling struck me as a cool visual novelty but in the end what's really gained, in some respects you get lower fan noise but I didn't think that necessarily applied once you hit thermal saturation. Having said that.......my 1080 Ti is pretty quiet and that's just a small square radiator with a low RPM fan hitting it.

Considering all that can n go wrong with Watercooling, and taking the bling factor out of the equation, why do this today, why bother with the risks inherent as seals and gaskets age, the added weight of liquid cooling, etc.......just curious, not picking a fight.
I'm in the same boat, I love it and it keeps my components cool and all that jazz, but it makes any sort of basic maintenance a serious chore, my next case is going to be as boring and beige as possible.
 
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Who knew exorbitant prices for often subpar products is a recipe for less business.

My two EK blocks with flaking plating were happily trashed and don't get me started on the CPU block missing mounting hardware all the while there's a round "QC'd" sticker on the box. Yeah right.
 
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Who knew exorbitant prices for often subpar products is a recipe for less business.

My two EK blocks with flaking plating were happily trashed and don't get me started on the CPU block missing mounting hardware all the while there's a round "QC'd" sticker on the box. Yeah right.
Who would you say is the best maker of waterblocks today?
 

Rvenger

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Its just an adjustment to back to normal pre-covid I know some people :)

Demand was up 200% during the last 2 years of the pandemic.
 

hititnquitit

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I prefer Heatkiller overall but also like optimus cpu blocks but their gpu blocks are stooopid expensive.

If ek dropped their prices 25% I might stand at attention 😂 as is meh. I feel bad for the people getting the axe but that's about as far as my sympathy goes. EK used to be my go to for blocks until they started trying to match BPs idiotic prices. I haven't bought an EK product in probably 5 or more years because of that. Thankfully, competition is fierce in the wcing world.
 
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Sucks for the people who lost their jobs, but doesn't look like a reason for the rest of us to be panicking.
Their apparent cancelation of radiator development is why we should be concerned. The number of sizes they offer keeps going down as they sell off old inventory without replacing it.
 

obs

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Really happy with my 3090 fe block and active backplate. Not a huge fan of their fittings though after using them. They could make the connection between their compression fittings and their zmt tubing be much better than it is.
 

arnemetis

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Options are quite limited in this market, so even though EK have made mistakes recently (the nickel flaking debacle etc.) I hope they only downsize and don't collapse. I'm using a lot of EK stuff in my build (yeah my sig is way overdue for an update) and I am fairly happy with it. So far nothing has failed since I got it going July 4 2021. The blocks look the same now as they did back when I was assembling it:
0703211803a.jpg
 

THRESHIN

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I'm more concerned about the custom watercooling industry dying off entirely. Sure an AIO is easier and cheaper, but that's not why we do it. Anyone that goes custom knows that it can perform better and be perfectly reliable - maybe even more reliable given that you can choose a high quality pump. But it's more than that. It's a hobby to many of us.

It'll be a sad day when I am forced to go back to pre-built cooling in my PC.
 
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Tossup between EKWB and Corsair.
Definitely not true. Corsair water cooling is now headed up by former EK folks responsible for many questionable things and Corsair is beginner friendly but definitely middle of the road blocks.

I'd go with Heatkiller, TechN, Optimus these days. That said I have reservations about Optimus customer service.
 

Lakados

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Definitely not true. Corsair water cooling is now headed up by former EK folks responsible for many questionable things and Corsair is beginner friendly but definitely middle of the road blocks.

I'd go with Heatkiller, TechN, Optimus these days. That said I have reservations about Optimus customer service.
I don’t know anybody who has used either Heatkiller or TechN, so I can’t speak to them but know a number of people who’ve used EKWB and have experimented with Corsair over the last 2 years and haven’t had any issues.

That said I like the looks of the Heatkiller line and I may reverse my previous stance of not being worth the trouble as a result… I look forward to seeing what they have in early 2023.
 

Dreamerbydesign

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I'm more concerned about the custom watercooling industry dying off entirely. Sure an AIO is easier and cheaper, but that's not why we do it. Anyone that goes custom knows that it can perform better and be perfectly reliable - maybe even more reliable given that you can choose a high quality pump. But it's more than that. It's a hobby to many of us.

It'll be a sad day when I am forced to go back to pre-built cooling in my PC.
Performs better? Marginally better and that’s been proven time and time again unless you spend a ridiculous amount of money. And even the. You’re shaving off 2-3 degrees when the loop is saturated.

As a hobby it’s fun. Performance wise? Especially when considering price? AIO’s are there now. And they are warrantied and supported for long enough. The AIO industry stepped up performance and reliability, and that made custom water cooling even more niche.

I’m guessing totally, but I believe that industry is losing big time money now.
 
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rhkcommander959

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I still custom cool, the rigid pipes kind of screwed it up in my opinion. Yeah it looks pretty but upgrades and maintenance are a bitch, but hose isn't trendy.

Doesn't help how much some parts cost either, and price to performance has decreased so much. Components can cost way more than AIOs, I think I paid ~$80 for a cooler master asetek AIO 280mm?
 

thecold

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I'm in the same boat, I love it and it keeps my components cool and all that jazz, but it makes any sort of basic maintenance a serious chore, my next case is going to be as boring and beige as possible.

I did water cooling when I was in college. A couple years ago I tried it again.

I realized I'm to lazy for water cooling.

I can do aio's but ultimately, I'd just go air cooling most of the time. I also realized that I really don't want any more than about 300 watts from my gpu.
 

hititnquitit

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I don’t know anybody who has used either Heatkiller or TechN, so I can’t speak to them but know a number of people who’ve used EKWB and have experimented with Corsair over the last 2 years and haven’t had any issues.

That said I like the looks of the Heatkiller line and I may reverse my previous stance of not being worth the trouble as a result… I look forward to seeing what they have in early 2023.
I've no respect for Corsair after seeing their wcing tactics. Rads are rebadged hwlabs L series but they charge $30-$50 more for putting their name on them. The xd5 pump is a built by Xylem for Corsair design. So it seems legit until you look at the specs. A complete fail, with half the lph and head pressure(800/2.1 vs 1500/3.9) of the original Laing, Xylem, Lowara d5. Why halve the pumps power yet still charge more than most original d5s cost? Shrug, I cant say for certain. Probably saved them a few pennies per unit.

Heatkiller being a smaller company usually makes you wait a few months after a new gpu releases before they have a block ready. They just don't have the resources to crank out new blocks like Alphacool, BP and EK. Cpus, they usually release pretty much with everyone else. They also actively participate in alot of forums giving updates etc...
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I've used EK's blocks.

Personally I've had nothing but good experiences with them. Both my old Supremacy EVO nickel plated all copper block I used on my x79 system and the black acetal nickel plated copper fullcover block that was on my Pascal Titan X before I sold it performed very well, and never had an issue.

It is not lost on me the problems others have had, like during their nickel plating problems when they left their customers hanging, and their shitty excuse for a Threadripper block as covered by Kyle.

For these and other reasons I think I prefer Watercool these days, but EK are undeniably one of the best at getting out fullcover blocks for just about every GPU and board design near launch. I hope this doesn't mark the end of that.
 

Epos7

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I have an EK block on my 3080. I wanted the Heatkiller but they kept getting delayed, so I went with the EK block. So far I've been really happy with it. Biggest complaint is the instructions were a bit off in terms of thermal material thickness. I'll give them a break there since the card had just been released, and I think they've since fixed it.

I also have EK fittings in my build, and I like those too. They were a bit spendy, but comparing them to the cheaper Barrow fittings I mixed in, the difference is light and day.

I put this build together just over a year ago, and it was my first watercooling attempt. It took a while and was very fiddly as I built it in an ITX case, but has been rock solid since. I haven't had to touch it in over a year. I'll probably drain the loop in the next month or so. For ITX, I much prefer it over air as the noise levels are significantly lower. In a larger case I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble, as you can get closer to liquid noise levels with air given more space. OTOH, would be an easier build.
 

Vega

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The reality is overclocking headroom has decreased now that video cards are effectively coming from the manufacturer overclocked... combined with very large video card air coolers that are quite efficient.

As someone who has probably put two dozen or more water blocks on cards in my time, I don't even both anymore.
 

SilverSliver

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The delta between custom loops and quality air/AIO has diminished so far that I am not surprised. For example, you can still cut a hole in the side of your case these days - but there are a lot more cases out there with a hole and a fan already in place.
 

RanceJustice

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Definitely not true. Corsair water cooling is now headed up by former EK folks responsible for many questionable things and Corsair is beginner friendly but definitely middle of the road blocks.

I'd go with Heatkiller, TechN, Optimus these days. That said I have reservations about Optimus customer service.

Heatkiller, TechN, and Aquacomputer seem to be the "German trio" of what seems to be high end equipment. Optimus is made in the USA and seems to have a high end niche reputation (I don't know anything about the customer service, I'm just going on the quality of products they make) as well. I'd also add SingularityComputers to the list; they don't make CPU/GPU blocks, but this Australian company seems to make some very unique distribution plates and other WC components / cases. I think one problem that fits into the whole discussion here is value, performance, advancements and the like. For instance, if I was going to compare something like CPU/GPU blocks, res combo pumps, etc.. from these companies, I imagine its going to be a small difference in performance, quality, and features for the latest generation. Now, barring any particular screw ups like that EK electroplating issue of the past, I'm guessing that going from one of these top tier companies to EK (which some may place in the top tier and others a step down) or even more middle of the road/value solutions may be noticeable, but there is the question of value. Now I personally if I'm going to buy I will always skew to the high(est) end, but still take things like diminishing returns into consideration.

What may be affecting custom water overall is that A) everything has gotten better, including AIOs and B) we're no longer in a place where cooling is the primary limit to getting the most out of your CPU (or GPU, or other parts of the syste etc) overall! Even putting aside things like sub-ambient or extreme cooling, it used to be that there was a major difference in performance between cooling tiers and overclock capability. The sequence of OEM air cooler > Mid tier custom air > high end behemoth custom air >= smaller 120/240mm rad or mid grade AIO > high end 240/280/360mm AIO > High end custom water could make a big difference in performance. However, even some time ago the performance between the AIOs and Custom gap were closing a bit. For instance, on my Intel HEDT 5960x, its default 'turbo" speed is 3.5ghz. Cooling it with a couple of higher end 360mm AIOs ( first a Swiftech until it unfortunately had a slow leak, and then a Corsair for a quick replacement ) , I could overclock it to an all-core turbo of 4.4 - 4.5ghz! Now if I used a lesser AIO or a high end air cooler, I could probably come close and/or have slightly higher temps, whereas if I went for full custom water I could probably hit 4.6 / 4.7ghz if I had a good chip as I recall . So even back 5-ish years ago good cooling was absolutely useful and I'd get a massive, 1000mhz all-core overclock, but that was even on an AIO or perhaps top quality air, and it was only a little bit of a bonus atop that if I went for the considerable expense of custom water. Now granted, custom water would be cooler, perhaps a bit quieter, but I didn't find it worth at the time to build a $500+ cooling system for small gains.

Today, as I understand it things are even more compact in this regard. For the current and previous few Intel and AMD chips, you're going to likely reach the top of what the chip can handle with good, aftermarket cooling more or less , notably an AIO. There's still some variation of course and picking an i9 or 5960X means more cores to cool, so better cooling matters, but even if you overclock you're not going to get the kind of 1000mhz uplift I picked up on my Haswell-E chip a few years ago, even. Its easier to meet the point of diminishing returns, cheaper, these days than previously, so its understandable why there aren't as many who are spending the considerable amount for a full custom liquid system. While AIO's have gotten better and more accessible, its somewhat ironic that those today who are going for liquid cooling today aren't often doing it for performance - not like when the "cold cathode generation" at the turn of the millennium started seeking out liquid cooling to get better overclocks - but instead nearly entirely for aesthetics. While custom liquid cooling has always had an aesthetic component, all the imposing tubes, fans, and blocks were indicative of performance; something that, at least to some, seems to matter less and less. I'm not going to condemn this necessarily, but it definitely feels a bit strange to me for aesthetics to be the primary reason to choose such a cooling system. This isn't for everyone of course and there are still those who are looking for the combination of performance, temperature, quiet, and aesthetic best served by custom liquid cooling; time will tell if the next generation from AMD and Intel by the end of this year will end up "leaving performance on the table" to be unlocked by those with proper settings and cooling, or if it will follow the path of more recent chips. In any event, for the foreseeable future liquid cooling has its role and I can hope the companies that supply such components, particularly the high end/boutique ones that push the envelope for quality, accessibility, design and other features - can stay in the picture without demanding users pay an ever increasing premium.
 
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I don’t know anybody who has used either Heatkiller or TechN, so I can’t speak to them but know a number of people who’ve used EKWB and have experimented with Corsair over the last 2 years and haven’t had any issues.

That said I like the looks of the Heatkiller line and I may reverse my previous stance of not being worth the trouble as a result… I look forward to seeing what they have in early 2023.
Yeah not saying there will be any problems, just saying they aren't the highest performing.

That said, Corsair already replaced the excellent XL5 coolant which was confirmed rebrand of Mayhems X1 with their new XL8 and no one knows what that is. EK did something similar with their Cryofuel line and what they have now is crap.
 

NightReaver

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Can't say much about EK. They always seem to cost rather high for what you're getting. This is a bit biased though because I usually go to Bykski/Barrow for blocks/fittings. Got a pair of aquacomputer D5s, but the simple versions. The only "premium" component in my loop is the HWLabs GTR radiator.

As for Corsair, lol. Imagine paying extra for Corsair to slap their name on 2nd rate equipment from other companies. People really love their "ecosystems".
 

ZeqOBpf6

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The thing with water-cooling that always got me was, what next? You wait for blocks, get it all set up, now the next gen cards come out, now what? I don't imagine the custom WC crew staying on old hardware very often, and who wants to buy a last generation water block? Must depreciate like crazy, making it that much more expensive
 

NightReaver

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The thing with water-cooling that always got me was, what next? You wait for blocks, get it all set up, now the next gen cards come out, now what? I don't imagine the custom WC crew staying on old hardware very often, and who wants to buy a last generation water block? Must depreciate like crazy, making it that much more expensive
The waterblock stays around as long as the gpu does. I don't know of anybody that does watercooling as a practical cost-cooling benefit. It's mostly about doing it as a hobby. Doesn't always have to be tied to latest cutting edge hardware and there's plenty of ways of doing it cheaper than buying all matching hardware from some overpriced name brand. Unless you're into that.
 

blade52x

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Building a custom bent acrylic tubed build was one of the most rewarding things I've done. It was frustrating, and took me a month to complete the build, but when I go it right and it was done I was over the moon. I'm now almost 18 months on this build with no maintenance (dual loop, one clear CryoFuel and the other pastel CryoFuel) and it's still works and looks just as good as when I first built it. This is contrary to soft tubing, which starts to yellow or fade after time.

The thing with water-cooling that always got me was, what next? You wait for blocks, get it all set up, now the next gen cards come out, now what? I don't imagine the custom WC crew staying on old hardware very often, and who wants to buy a last generation water block? Must depreciate like crazy, making it that much more expensive

I actually don't have much interest in upgrading because my build is still so aesthetically pleasing to look at (and a 3090 will be no slouch for a long time). So I get back some depreciation from just not upgrading as often. If I stick with air I tend to upgrade every cycle. But with water I'll skip a cycle.
 

Lakados

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Of course as I previously posted that I’ve had no problems with EKWB, when my pump fails…
There’s shredded plastic all through the loop, it’s all clogged up.
 

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D-EJ915

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Of course as I previously posted that I’ve had no problems with EKWB, when my pump fails…
There’s shredded plastic all through the loop, it’s all clogged up.
At least there EK doesn't make the D5 pumps they buy them from xylem.
 

Lakados

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At least there EK doesn't make the D5 pumps they buy them from xylem.
The loops a lost cause not sure what happened but it’s clogged hard copper and plastic fragments all through it. The radiator and pump are both toast. I can’t clean them.
 

motqalden

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My only experience wirh EK so far is my 3090 block+active backplate. It was super expensive so i went bykski for pump res, fitting, rads. The cost of something like a pump res combo from EK is attrocious imho.

No complaints with my gpu block other than price.
 

arnemetis

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The loops a lost cause not sure what happened but it’s clogged hard copper and plastic fragments all through it. The radiator and pump are both toast. I can’t clean them.
I would guess either a catastrophic pump failure, or cross threaded some fittings during install and slivers that were hanging on have let go.
 

Lakados

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I would guess either a catastrophic pump failure, or cross threaded some fittings during install and slivers that were hanging on have let go.
It’s a lot yeah full pump failure and a lot of corrosion maybe it’s mineral buildup. I have no clue but the insides are full of green thick chunks that I need to scrape off.

Gonna see if I can get my hands on the Kraken G12 kit and just mount that on there instead going forward.
Grrr. Not a great way to start my Saturday and EKWB was not overly helpful at this stage.
 
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sleepeeg3

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I'm in the same boat, I love it and it keeps my components cool and all that jazz, but it makes any sort of basic maintenance a serious chore, my next case is going to be as boring and beige as possible.
Started off on silent aircooling, while heavily overclocking. Alot can be done with sound deadening, redirecting exhaust sound downward, running on carpet/rug and buying a case that helps with this (ideally steel, no window, no top exhaust ports, front with cover over air intakes - i.e. an old case)

Switched to watercooling. Didn't change my loop for years. It somehow ran fine.

Then I had to change my CPU block and I couldn't be bothered.

Got the itch to switch back to watercooling and had a difficult to fill radiator, bad routing, pumps failing, etc.

Putting up with a little more noise, but happily back on air cooling. Limited benefit to overclocking/watercooling, nowadays.
 
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