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

Lenne

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Indeed; I didn't bother buying a full cover block for my 3060Ti because it's the TUF model that's ridiculously overcooled. That thing furmarks at ~60C even on the quiet fan BIOS.
My 1080 Ti runs hotter than I want it to run, but I don't still get a block for it as I just recently got a good air cooler for CPU. Well, I play with headphones on, so I could just make more aggressive fan profile.
 
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Indeed; I didn't bother buying a full cover block for my 3060Ti because it's the TUF model that's ridiculously overcooled. That thing furmarks at ~60C even on the quiet fan BIOS.
Do drivers still limit the power draw during Furmark and such?
 
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Products are really expensive and the quality doesn't reflect that always, have had GPU blocks where the screws/sockets were stripped, or had bad fitment when mating the block to the GPU
RGB on blocks should be optional and not built into it, I dont want to have wires for a feature hanging off my block that i dont want.

On the other hand, EK makes blocks for cards that other companies do not
Things are only getting hotter, water cooling isn't going away, having a heavy triple slot cooler reduced to a single slot is really nice.
Hope they get their issues worked out, would hate for them to go under, that would only leave the asians in the game and look where that got us during the past 2 years
 
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The nickel on my ek blocks flakes off and damages my ek pumps so I switched to cheap ali express copper and no problems
 
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I had pretty good experiences with EKWB blocks compared to other aftermarket ones. But current gpus just don't have the same OC headroom as a few years ago. And it's sometimes not 100% that a block will fit perfectly even when listed as compatible. Plus it's cheaper and easier if you want to wc to just buy the vendor pre-installed block model. It's a lot simpler for a vendor to make a block for their card than for EK to work backwards and design fitting blocks for every card out there.

Maybe the next gen cards will have more headroom and EK will have a resurgence. But it has been shifting towards vendor blocks and AIO for a while.
 
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Yarr, there's yer problem. Liquid cooling was always a niche and now, with closed loops being at least decent, it's a boutique, vanity market hardly justifying such a big company. I also think their CEO got facts mixed up - most people didn't start going out more often, they just have more important things to spend their income on than toys.
Come on, 200+ people building vanity toys for rich kids? I know a company manufacturing automotive alternators for the mass market which employs around 220-250 people, and they have two factories working 24/7
 
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Yarr, there's yer problem. Liquid cooling was always a niche and now, with closed loops being at least decent, it's a boutique, vanity market hardly justifying such a big company. I also think their CEO got facts mixed up - most people didn't start going out more often, they just have more important things to spend their income on than toys.
Come on, 200+ people building vanity toys for rich kids? I know a company manufacturing automotive alternators for the mass market which employs around 220-250 people, and they have two factories working 24/7
Proper automation can reduce the need for bio robots in half. Not that I support it, per se.
 
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Do drivers still limit the power draw during Furmark and such?
Yes, but not specifically for Furmark.exe like they did a decade ago. GPU-Z shows you how much power a card is drawing and (in the case of Nvidia drivers) even tells you if it's limiting boost because it's hit the power limit, or one of the several temperature limits - presumably hotspot/VRM/Memory.

Furmark isn't singled-out as a power virus any more, it's just accounted for by the default driver behaviour which sees furmark draw the full TDP of the card in most cases, and dials back clockspeeds to maintain the card at it's rated power limit. Nvidia are pretty strict about power limits, with many cards not having the ability to overclock more to more than 110% of the default TDP.
 
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So around 70 people lost their jobs. Sad news.
 
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Yarr, there's yer problem. Liquid cooling was always a niche and now, with closed loops being at least decent, it's a boutique, vanity market hardly justifying such a big company. I also think their CEO got facts mixed up - most people didn't start going out more often, they just have more important things to spend their income on than toys.
Come on, 200+ people building vanity toys for rich kids? I know a company manufacturing automotive alternators for the mass market which employs around 220-250 people, and they have two factories working 24/7
Toys for "rich kids" have far higher margins then alternators. Apples and oranges.

Your argument doesn't hold up, the rest of the PC market has seen huge increases in sales. Companies like arctic are selling everything they can make. The GPU shortage is still going on. Other water cooling companies are bringing in new products all the time.

I agree they likely have too many people.
 
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Poor sods! :(

The Statement itself is a big middle finger to the people let go: “EK is taking early precautions to streamline our operations in Slovenia. [...] Further plans were also initiated that will see EK enter new geographical markets and sales channels with more outstanding and innovative products.”

Management talk at it's finest, employees are just assets to be dropped at a whim.
 
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EK has had fair share of their tidbits with quality control tbh. The CSQ and nickel plating fiascos, or my XTC 280 rad which smelled galvanize to no end. It was one of their actually good performing products at the time though.

On the bright side, you can always resort to other companies with custom water cooling. Aquacomputer has been great in those days, in terms of quality. You could find cheaper but solid alternatives nowadays.
 
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Yarr, there's yer problem. Liquid cooling was always a niche and now, with closed loops being at least decent, it's a boutique, vanity market hardly justifying such a big company. I also think their CEO got facts mixed up - most people didn't start going out more often, they just have more important things to spend their income on than toys.
Come on, 200+ people building vanity toys for rich kids? I know a company manufacturing automotive alternators for the mass market which employs around 220-250 people, and they have two factories working 24/7
I have no experience with EK or any of their competitor products for the reasons you just stated but I would say being niche is ok, even being boutique is ok but is it any functionally different than cheaper more mass produced alternatives? Whenever you get to the very high-end of any market value kinda goes out the window but you should still be getting something that sets it out from a functional and quality perspective, not just a pretty finish and expensive materials.

My high-end full suspension trail bike is full of expensive components (some of them probably considered boutique) that are made in the US, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, and Japan, in comparatively low quanitiy in places with more expensive labor. None of them would be considered a good value really but at the same time they are not vastly outside the price range of similar components made Taiwan or China and aside from just being really well made and bling factor offer something that is functionally different.

The fact that EK quality apparently isn't that great and the staff they just laid off is from the engineering side of things doesn't exactly paint a rosy picture for whats happening there.
 
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I'm thinking the main issue is that the competition has moved in with easier to use AIO coolers. EKWB's main product was their "full custom" suite of coolers, which a lot of people are (rightfully) scared of performing critical plumbing inside of an electronic computer system. AIO coolers leave the plumbing details to the factory.

I think other posters in this thread also pointed out: GPUs are getting harder to mod in any case. Not only because they're so expensive and your warranty goes bust if you start mucking around with the fans... but also because reference-models with crappy fans seem to be more difficult to obtain these days.

I've never made a custom-cooling solution before, but I think my next rig would be willing to try one out. I'm sold on the idea that paying for higher-quality components and larger pumps can lead to more reliability.
 
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"Blames water cooling sales" is the least believable excuse they could use. They've shown time and time again they'll take advantage of their market position to pull greedy, shady business tactics. This looks like a classic case of a company getting too big and doing mass layoffs to cut costs. Followed by overworking the remaining employees and continuing to cut corners indefinitely. Expect to see their quality go down and their prices go up.
 
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"Blames water cooling sales" is the least believable excuse they could use. They've shown time and time again they'll take advantage of their market position to pull greedy, shady business tactics. This looks like a classic case of a company getting too big and doing mass layoffs to cut costs. Followed by overworking the remaining employees and continuing to cut corners indefinitely. Expect to see their quality go down and their prices go up.
Skilled workers are always in demand. I won't surprised if the rest of the guys leave on their own, as often happens.
 
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"Blames water cooling sales" is the least believable excuse they could use. They've shown time and time again they'll take advantage of their market position to pull greedy, shady business tactics. This looks like a classic case of a company getting too big and doing mass layoffs to cut costs. Followed by overworking the remaining employees and continuing to cut corners indefinitely. Expect to see their quality go down and their prices go up.
100% truth.

Also worth mentioning is that one should be very wary with spending the money on any kind of pre-orders at this point in time. If they default on their debt the creditors or banks may seize the assets. Seen too many times.

Pay for goods on stock, not on pre-order!
 
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Since 2018 I use a gpu block, pump with reservoir, 120mm radiator, 240mm radiator, filter and since summer 2020 BIKSKI cpu block. I bought the cpu block for the good result of everything else. Before I had an argb led barrow cpu block that I plugged into a 12V led socket :( but apart from not having a light it worked great. I built a pc to play silently and got it at a reasonable price. Fortunately I haven't had any problems rma, well with a seller on aliexpress, claims the maetro armero. It is a Spanish saying that means you have it bad. All this to say that EKWB has STRATOSPHERIC prices for what it really offers.
 
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I can say from my side, I haven't bought any new watercooling components since 2017 simply because of pricing of the GPUs. I used to order a pair of cards directly from NVidia at launch along with matching WB kits from EK, but now with pricing literally $1k or more over what I consider reasonable for GPUs today, I've moved 100% into the used market, only buying GPUs that have a pre-installed WB.

So news like this doesn't surprise me a bit - probably many folks finding themselves in a similar boat to what I'm in - lack of availability and pricing so astronomical that many folks, a.) Can't find a GPU to begin with, or b.) Simply are not willing to pay ludicrous pricing for them and so choose to wait, rendering the aftermarket companies selling less and less product.
 
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Nah, it’s the sales to crypto farms and lack of products and overpriced hardware that caused this.

You used to be able to assemble a good gaming computer for 2K, now you will spend that much on the GPU and board leaving fewer dollars to spend on water cooling

Add in the fact that crypto farms would rather leave GPUs as is for warranty than to add liquid cooling and they purchased a large share of new cards.

Crypto is the black cancer death of gaming for a lot of people, no one wants to chance a older card that’s still overpriced if it was damaged in a crypto farm. Nvidia and AMD did little to nothing to stop the hurt to gamers, retailers like Newegg only raised prices and fattened their margins.
 

Pup Twilight

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And you think they have changed by now? Once a greedy hypocrite, always a greedy hypocrite. If you had the 'pleasure' of dealing with their support channels you'd know what I mean. Or maybe I am the only unlucky one?


Yeah, they had to do massive recalls and I understand their reluctance, but many people forget that if you want sustanable business you have to uphold an impecable reputation and name for yourself. Otherwise you're quickly forgotten.
Well, some will say companies like intel and google are exveptions but let's see how it goes in the long run.
Ah you are one of those people that brings up old things with out showing proof it's still the same.

Well I do know I had issues with 3 fans from them they replaced them and even didn't ask me for them back. They work just are louder then they should be so can still use them in a build where they are muffled
 

ParkerPenguin

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As someone who has a few of their products I genuinely don't understand the justifications they had for their company's performance.

As a few others here have mentioned hardware no longer has the overclocking headroom it used to, Silicon Lottery's death is a clear indication of this, with Intel releasing KS variants that are just binned samples for a price premium and AMD having CPU's that are largely not worthwhile overclocking vs the single core boost performance you have to sacrifice for a slight bump in all-core.

Then GPU's have genuinely fantastic stock cooling solutions, I love water-cooling but I see no performance uplift from doing so to my 3080 FTW3 Ultra. The limiting factor isn't temperature or voltage but rather power delivery which is another issue I won't get into.

When you combine the above with EKWB's terrible QC and even worse customer experience when you have to RMA a product I'm not surprised they are struggling. It took me two months to RMA one of their Magnitude blocks (I know there are a lot of cheaper options I just enjoyed what it looked like). And that wasn't years ago, that happened this year in 2022. It was cheaper and faster for me to order a new unit off Amazon and ship it to the Southern Hemisphere than it was for EKWB to even respond to my RMA ticket with a course of action. That right there destroyed any brand loyalty I had, and not to mention what money I lost on import taxes due to their mess.

I feel sorry for the passionate people working there who were let go when their executives need a swift kick in the pants but I do hope change occurs at the top. I like their products but I just can't bring myself to buy it again until their QC and RMA departments are overhauled.
 
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"Blames water cooling sales" is the least believable excuse they could use.
Hi,
Economics 101
No sells = No revenue
So it seems like a valid reason to layoff people since they/ ek aren't willing to bend to the market and lower prices.
 
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No wonder given how far the stock coolers have come and how little demand there is for watercooling these days given the costs. Back in the day people ran SLI/Crossfire setups smashed together, excellent stuff for watercooling, that barely exists anymore. And besides that that's obviously that the cards that could warrant watercoolers are costing well over 1000$+ given good power limits and/or components, and that's just the card. Add in some overpriced EK block and you're looking at double the price compared to say a watercooled 1080. And that's even without the other manufacturers with much better prices and similar quality. All in all I think they should start looking at other stuff than just watercooling for enthusiasts. Say other cooling stuff or as an OEM like Asetek. Took bad for the layed off workers, hope the best for them, but if EK wants to stay alive they have to keep moving long.
 
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