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

Lakados

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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.
Found buyers for most of the parts, ordered new ones. Noctua D15 and a half dozen of their silent 1700 rpm fans. I hope to be up and running again shortly.
 
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This is sad but I am surprised and not surprised at the same time. They just havent been that innovative, none in the watercooling market have. I have become an enthusiast that stretches my components and gets pleasure out of redoing my loop with a new case and new pieces every year rather than a new build. The Graphics card inflation has forced me into this. EK has exactly 2 blocks for my 6900xt. Neither great. The cpu blocks they have released have been at astronomical prices. When they first released their flat reservoirs(which I think are great) they were at very reasonable prices and included a pump. Those same products are 100 dollars more now with no innovation, active backplates are not needed, and they havent released new fittings that are interesting in forever. Quite honestly noone has. This is a time when watercooling companies should be growing, in my opinion, because enthusiasts are holiding on to their systems and simply redoing their setups. Companies like optimus cant keep up with orders(I dont know their financials and am not an expert on that) but it makes me think that if EK offered something new and cool at a reasonable price they would rake in the cash. To me it seems like they just want to sell 011 distroplates at 350 a pop and are ignoring individual creativity.
 

mvmiller12

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Regarding blocks, I have been super-satisfied with my Koolance CPU-380 and CPU-390 blocks. Technically the 380's have no adapter bracket to work with AM4 CPUs, but I was able to mod CPU-390 AM4 brackets to work with the 380 blocks. The mod was super simple, and the 380s on AM4 chips run about the same as the 390s do (I have both).

It's a real pity Koolance seems to have largely dropped out of making equipment for enthusiasts and is pretty much just catering to commercial interests now...
 
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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.
Basically the same here. The need/ability to push hardware and all that entails just tapered off over the years. Adding custom cooling is now doing it mostly for the sake of doing it.
 

NightReaver

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It's a real pity Koolance seems to have largely dropped out of making equipment for enthusiasts and is pretty much just catering to commercial interests now...
Agreed. Koolance makes some really interesting things. I have one of the external EXOS 360mm units hanging around, as well as a couple of the single 5.25" pump/res units. When you go digging through their catalogue it's cool to see all the things they've offered through the years.
 

DanNeely

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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.
Green chunks sounds like you've got algae growing in your loop due to insufficient amounts of biocide.
 
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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.
A little late now, but one of the coolest and most useful items in the Aquacomputer ecosystem is their HighFlow NEXT sensor. It measures not just temp and flow rate, but also the conductivity of the coolant. This is useful for detecting corrosion right when it starts or simply when it might be time to change out the coolant.

Similarly, there should have been a pump controller present which detected the thickening of the coolant (just compare RPM per W over time). It can be done via a Windows service with Aquasuite, but I don't know of anything that monitors this at the controller level. This shows one of the holes in the market which EKWB could fill - but won't. There is still some growth left in the watercooling market, but I feel it is mostly on the controller & wiring side.
 

hititnquitit

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Good riddance, into the dustbin of history with them. EKWBs behavior around the failed plating fiasco was unforgivable.
They aren't going anywhere. Just cutting loose a sizable chunk of their workforce to keep their profit margins intact.
 

lopoetve

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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
This IS an issue. Generally you keep the air cooler portion around so you can swap back and sell it.
 

lopoetve

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Which is more of a challenge now that some vendors are using putty that crumbles instead of pads...
Then you buy a set of pads. Honestly, at least a few of the WB come with pads to begin with... my Optimus block for my 3090 did. And I still have spare material.
 

NightReaver

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Then you buy a set of pads. Honestly, at least a few of the WB come with pads to begin with... my Optimus block for my 3090 did. And I still have spare material.
Shoot, even my cheap aliexpress bykski block came with thermal pads.
 

motqalden

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Yeah not saying its not doable but its more complex than just reusing the pads on original cooler in some cases.
 

hititnquitit

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I always swap my gpus back to the original heatsinks and simply reuse the pads that came with them. Never had an issue.
 

NightReaver

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I always swap my gpus back to the original heatsinks and simply reuse the pads that came with them. Never had an issue.
Eh, the ones on my 1080ti got pretty squashed down after 4+ years with a block on it when I went to go sell it recently with the air cooler back on. Had to cut some new pads and it worked fine afterwards.
 

Lakados

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Green chunks sounds like you've got algae growing in your loop due to insufficient amounts of biocide.
They are really hard and caked on, have to scrape them off. Not really algae like more like copper corrosion. Looking at it there are chunks where my Nickel plating isn’t there and the raw copper is exposed, not sure what’s up there, but the impeller on the pump is for sure shattered.

I was using the EK cryofuel, to their specified mixture.
 

hititnquitit

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Eh, the ones on my 1080ti got pretty squashed down after 4+ years with a block on it when I went to go sell it recently with the air cooler back on. Had to cut some new pads and it worked fine afterwards.
No, no, the pads that come with the original heatsink. I stress test the card for a few hours with the stock sink to make sure everything is gtg. Then install the block. So the stock pads are usually in nice shape (if I'm careful). I keep them on the heatsink and bag them up in place. If any of them happen to get ripped or fall apart I keep spares of all thickness just in case.
 

THRESHIN

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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
CPU blocks can stick around for quite a few years with many upgrades. If you're willing to do some modification, even longer.

The GPU blocks are a bit of a problem, yes. There are ways....I have never used a full coverage block myself. I have an old swiftech universal block. It only cools the GPU itself though. Copper ram sinks and I still have to attach a 120mm fan to the card. However, this block has been in use for about 15 years....and I got it used.

Getting a new universal block is near impossible these days however.
 

vegeta535

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Some of you people just can't let the past go. They did have their issues in the past but they do make solid products. Be it at a steep price. They are one of the few companies that have blocks available near launch of new GPUs. That said I have zero EK stuff in my loop since my last EK pump died about 6 months ago.
 

jojo69

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A product failure I can let go. Lying, stonewalling and bullying to avoid taking responsibility for a product failure? yeah no, that bitter taste lasts.
 

Lumpus

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Every two years or so, when I do upgrades, I'll say to myself 'time to build a W/C'... and then I look at build prices, gasp... just lazy out and put in a good AIO
/has Lian Li Galahad 360 - replaced the crap LL fans and went 6-fan push-pull and get silly low temps on my 5900X
/14 fans total :p
IMG_5338.JPG

I like all of the blue lights when gaming at night... it's soothing and feels very 'adult' (lol)
 
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Problem with EK is that they are all about flooding the market with any and every thing. That doesn't translate to quality. But go look at places like r/watercooling and that's all the newer people in the space thinks of. EK has captured the mindshare and it doesn't help when they watch tech tubers putting shit together with sponsored parts from EK or Corsair.

And the problem with Corsair is that they're just a rebrand of other reputable parts with a sailboat slapped on it and a price increase for the privilege. Corsair radiators? Rebranded Hardware Labs L-series marked up to the same price as the better Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis rads. Corsair fittings? Bitspower. Blocks? Mediocre in performance.
 

DukenukemX

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When I built my custom water cooling loops I used Chinese made water blocks because a water block isn't that difficult to make and therefore shouldn't be that expensive. I'm talking about like $20 water blocks that I've had for years, or nearly a decade. I have multiple custom water cooled PC's that run 24/7. The AIO units that they sell probably aren't selling because AMD and Intel aren't making compelling products to upgrade. You seriously think I'll get a noticeable upgrade for me to upgrade my 2700X? To top it all off, people are broke. You don't think this inflation crisis doesn't take away profits from other industries that depend on disposable income? It's no wonder why Netflix is going to introduce ads because people are cutting corners. Certainly a CPU upgrade with a EKWB water block will be at the top of that list. Good luck.
 

MavericK

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That sucks, my current AIO is one of theirs. Been a good product so far, other than some pump whine at 100% speed (kicking down to ~90% gets rid of it).
 

DukenukemX

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Some of you people just can't let the past go. They did have their issues in the past but they do make solid products. Be it at a steep price. They are one of the few companies that have blocks available near launch of new GPUs. That said I have zero EK stuff in my loop since my last EK pump died about 6 months ago.
Here's a tip about human physiology. We put a lot of emphasis on something bad that happens to us, and nearly nothing when something good happens. When a company does something bad then it'll take an impossible amount of effort to offset it with something good. If EKWB makes something that had wide spread failure then I wish them a going out of business.
 

jojo69

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All they had to do was admit what was going on and issue a few refunds and we would all have been solid customers for life, would have been the cheapest, most effective advertising they ever did. But no, they had to dig in and double down, even when Gary at Sidewinder was making his customers whole out of his own pocket, which nearly ruined him. I could have been refunded by Sidewinder but declined because he was an actual good guy. Meanwhile EK was intimidating the RRR forum mods with threatened legal action...just ugly behavior, fuck those guys.
 

obs

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This is sad but I am surprised and not surprised at the same time. They just havent been that innovative, none in the watercooling market have. I have become an enthusiast that stretches my components and gets pleasure out of redoing my loop with a new case and new pieces every year rather than a new build. The Graphics card inflation has forced me into this. EK has exactly 2 blocks for my 6900xt. Neither great. The cpu blocks they have released have been at astronomical prices. When they first released their flat reservoirs(which I think are great) they were at very reasonable prices and included a pump. Those same products are 100 dollars more now with no innovation, active backplates are not needed, and they havent released new fittings that are interesting in forever. Quite honestly noone has. This is a time when watercooling companies should be growing, in my opinion, because enthusiasts are holiding on to their systems and simply redoing their setups. Companies like optimus cant keep up with orders(I dont know their financials and am not an expert on that) but it makes me think that if EK offered something new and cool at a reasonable price they would rake in the cash. To me it seems like they just want to sell 011 distroplates at 350 a pop and are ignoring individual creativity.
You say they haven't been innovative but I've seen plenty of innovative things. Their FE blocks, flat reservoirs, active backplates, waterblocks with no visible screws, distro plates, etc. Yea, all quite expensive but so is optimus.
 
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You say they haven't been innovative but I've seen plenty of innovative things. Their FE blocks, flat reservoirs, active backplates, waterblocks with no visible screws, distro plates, etc. Yea, all quite expensive but so is optimus.
Their FE blocks are notorious for breaking screws.
 

obs

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Their FE blocks are notorious for breaking screws.
No issues here with a 3090 block and active backplate. However, using the correct size Phillips head is very important for small screws and easy to mess up because other sizes can work but have a higher chance of stripping. Wish they would not using Phillips altogether though.
 

ZeqOBpf6

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Here's a tip about human physiology. We put a lot of emphasis on something bad that happens to us, and nearly nothing when something good happens.
In some areas, maybe. The entire casino/gambling industry is founded on the exact opposite of this. Confirmation bias is worth billions each year.
 

DanNeely

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No issues here with a 3090 block and active backplate. However, using the correct size Phillips head is very important for small screws and easy to mess up because other sizes can work but have a higher chance of stripping. Wish they would not using Phillips altogether though.
It'd be nice if they'd also have better secured the standoffs the screws go into in the plastic part of the block. My 1080 has never gone back to air because when I went to take the block off about half the standoffs broke free from the plastic when I tried to remove the screws. Trying to undo the screws with 1 pair of vice grips holding the standoff to keep it from turning stripped most of them. I have gotten about half of them out by gripping the head with a second pair of vice grips and using that to turn them, but it takes 5-10 minutes/screw and after each one I get mad enough I put it aside for a month or two before going back.
 

Bigbacon

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i never bought their stuff because it was always massively expensive compared to most other places. As someone else said, the cheap stuff does a darn good job and never given me problems.
 

OFaceSIG

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I'm not going to pretend to know much about the niche custom water cooling market. But you have to understand first, custom PC building, compared to other industries is small. From that, take an even smaller slice of the pie and you have a relatively small market. To make precision made components in very small numbers cost will be high.
 

obs

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I'm not going to pretend to know much about the niche custom water cooling market. But you have to understand first, custom PC building, compared to other industries is small. From that, take an even smaller slice of the pie and you have a relatively small market. To make precision made components in very small numbers cost will be high.
For sure. Plus you're talking about making blocks for sometimes a single card or a monoblock for a single motherboard. EK has a selection covering a huge number of devices. More that competitors.
 

hititnquitit

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Nah, you haven't spent enough time tracking down the gazillion Bitspower products or looking through Byski and Barrow blocks on AliExpress. EK focuses their marketing on NA and Europe while the others are primarily Asian(covering anything mb, cpu or gpu that makes money). They just don't spend any money in the west showing off their gear like EK. So it may seem like EK has more gear than the competition but they dont. Not even close, the problem is its hard as fuck to find ANY english websites that carry more than a tiny fraction of what Byski makes.
 

NightReaver

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Nah, you haven't spent enough time tracking down the gazillion Bitspower products or looking through Byski and Barrow blocks on AliExpress. EK focuses their marketing on NA and Europe while the others are primarily Asian(covering anything mb, cpu or gpu that makes money). They just don't spend any money in the west showing off their gear like EK. So it may seem like EK has more gear than the competition but they dont. Not even close, the problem is its hard as fuck to find ANY english websites that carry more than a tiny fraction of what Byski makes.
Bykski and Barrow make some really interesting things. It's always neat to take a look at their Aliexpress stores to see what they're coming up with next. Such as Bykski now has a Swiftech like setup:
cooler.jpg
After all, Bykski was the only company that bothered to make a waterblock for my 6700XT, so kudos to them. And for only $120.
 
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You say they haven't been innovative but I've seen plenty of innovative things. Their FE blocks, flat reservoirs, active backplates, waterblocks with no visible screws, distro plates, etc. Yea, all quite expensive but so is optimus.
I may have not used the right wording. Let me clarify, please. I am on these forums praising the flt reservoirs a couple of years ago, when they first came out and I bought 2. At that time they were around 150 usd for the 240 pump/d5 combo. What a great value! Since that time they have released a cpu block that averages in the high 200's, they did not support the AMD 6x00 series(just a vector block and one that said "radeon"), they released a bunch of 011 proprietary distro plates for 300 plus buckos, in general raised prices and did not innovate enough to justify it. I even have their vertical gpu bracket(best on the market) I got mine for 60 usd, how much is it now?
 

DukenukemX

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In some areas, maybe. The entire casino/gambling industry is founded on the exact opposite of this. Confirmation bias is worth billions each year.
Casino's and gambling in general work on the idea of sunk cost. The idea is that if you keep putting money in, you'll eventually get your money back. It's also based on the idea of the psychology of delayed gratification in which a button that might sometimes reward you is a button worth pressing, where as one that always rewards your or never rewards is going to be never pushed. You'll find that a lot of online games play on these same factors to keep their whales pumping money into their games.

This is not the opposite system where humans gauge other humans by how right or wrong they've treated them. While a corporation like EKWB is not a single person, we do think of corporations as one single entity. No matter how much good they've done, all it takes it one bad and now they're written off as tainted. At this point EKWB is better off just renaming themselves and just pretending like they're a new business. It's like a store that is under new management or has had a grand reopening for years because they're playing on that psychology that you're not the same entity as before and therefore will threat you hopefully better. Of course time helps people forget and they could just wait it out and just keep putting out good products, but that taint is always going to be there. Firestone is still known for that time when they sold defective tires and killed people while also being aware of it. They're still in business today but nobody is going to associate Firestone as a quality tire company even to this day.
 

obs

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I may have not used the right wording. Let me clarify, please. I am on these forums praising the flt reservoirs a couple of years ago, when they first came out and I bought 2. At that time they were around 150 usd for the 240 pump/d5 combo. What a great value! Since that time they have released a cpu block that averages in the high 200's, they did not support the AMD 6x00 series(just a vector block and one that said "radeon"), they released a bunch of 011 proprietary distro plates for 300 plus buckos, in general raised prices and did not innovate enough to justify it. I even have their vertical gpu bracket(best on the market) I got mine for 60 usd, how much is it now?
That's true but I think the pandemic played a large part of that. Price of copper since 2020 has doubled. Labor costs have risen too.
 
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