Thermaltake 'designs' at Computex 2015 look familiar
Thermaltake Sinks to a New Design Low at Computex
Published: 3rd June 2015 | Source: Caselabs VP | Price: |
Thermaltake Sinks to a New Design Low at Computex
At Computex 2015 Thermaltake has been showing off a large number of "new" case designs, the problem being that all of these designs are very similar to designs from a variety of other manufacturers.
This started last week when Thermaltake announced their Suppressor F51 Chassis, a case which is strikingly similar to Fractal Design's R5, so much so that those who are not well acquainted with these cases could not tell the difference.
[Fractal Design R5 (left), Thermaltake Suppressor F51 (Right)]
A single case with these kinds of similarities could be forgiven, but looking at many of other Thermaltake products this is not the only case of designs which looks similar to competing products coming from them.
Below I will post pictures comparing many products from several other major companies, including Caselabs, NZXT, EK, Bitspower, Koolance and the list goes on. The products below range from water cooling components, fans, fan controllers and even cases, this problem is clearly widespread across all of Thermaltake's products.
[NZXT GRID Fan Controller(Left), Thermaltake Commander Fan controller(right)]
[NZXT Sentry 3 Touch fan controller (left), Thermaltake Commander FT Touch Fan Controller (right)]
[Thermaltake Riing Fan (left), Antec True Quiet Fan (right)]
[EKWB Multi GPU WC Bridge (left), Thermaltake Design (Right)]
[Alphacools Bay res (right) got the wrong kind of loving too]
[Caselabs SM8 (left), Thermaltake Design (with extra pedestal add-on)]
[Koolance and EKWB Waterblock designs(left), Thermaltake's new waterblock design (Right)]
As you can see above, It is not hard to believe that Thermaltake could have been using copy and paste design methods, going much deeper than just Fractal Design and Caselabs, or even just cases manufacturers like we first though. If I were to show you every thing that Thermaltake has which is directly comparable with a different manufacturers earlier design you would be reading this article all day.
In an official response from Caselabs' Vice-President this was said, showing evidence that Thermaltake had purchased several of their cases and has denounced the company for blatantly copying their products.
Caselabs say that they will not just sit back and let people "rip us off", saying that "Copying people’s existing concepts and calling them your own stifles innovation and hurts the industry" and that Thermaltake should "do something with your own creativity and concepts or do nothing at all".
The name of Thermaltake's case designer has been removed from the below quote.
Fellow enthusiasts and case modders,
For those who know me, you know I am not a person to create drama. Nor am I a person to be dishonest, or try to slander someone out of spite. With that being said I can no longer hold my tongue about [Name of Thermaltake Case Designer] “Case Designer” at Thermaltake. For those of you at Computex you may know what I’m talking about… Thermaltake has just announced their “new” case line last night, the “new TT premium line W series extreme chassis”. It is more than evident this is a stolen concept. Not only did [Thermaltake Case Designer] clone our Mercury line, with his Core line, but now they have stolen our MAGNUM and Merlin designs as well.
Sit back, here is how the story goes…
Back in July of 2013 we exhibited at PDXLAN 22 with 2 of our Merlin SM8 cases which we gave away (Matt Conwell hooked us up, and I must say he is an awesome person.). At this event people for the first time got to see us with one of our cases in person. We didn’t have a booth, but we got so much good feedback we decided to come back for PDXLAN 23, but this time as an official sponsor of the event. We got a booth and we brought a bunch of different cases to show off including the Mercury case line (S3, S5 and S8). It was at this time we found out Thermaltake was a major sponsor if this event (and have been) and their case designer, [Thermaltake Case Designer], was in attendance (as he usually is). [Thermaltake Case Designer] was introduced to my dad (CL owner) and I via a mutual friend. [Thermaltake Case Designer] then proceeded to tell us how much he liked our cases, and he was a big fan. He seemed very genuine, and overall a nice person. He started asking us about our cases and said, “Wow I wish our company made cases like this, can I take some pictures to send to our R&D department?” A bit flabbergasted I told him no which he then replied, “Well I guess we will just buy one then.” I was a little put off, but whatever. I shrugged it off, and kept talking to him about the cases. Oh and I almost forgot… Thermaltake did buy one of our cases back in September of the 2013, just 2 months after we showed off the Merlin SM8 for the first time. I guess he wasn’t kidding when he said he would just buy a case…
Next event, PDXLAN 24. We had a Mercury S3 we brought with us for Sapphire. They liked the fact that it was horizontal with a window on the side so they could show off their GPU. Thermaltake, AKA [Thermaltake Case Designer], gave Sapphire an AIO 240 cooler for the build and helped them build the case at the event. Once the case was up a running, [Thermaltake Case Designer] came over to our booth and shook my dad’s hand. He said, “That was such a great case to build in, nice work!” Well my dad felt very gratified knowing another manufacture was giving him praise for his design. We also brought with us our new prototype, the X2… then this is where it all turned ugly…
PDXLAN 25. Thermaltake announces the Core case line, the X1, X2 and X9 cases. The cases feature a modular design, horizontal mobo cube style, windows on both sides, drop-in radiator mounts, stackable, mITX, mATX and ATX form factors and a ventilation pattern identical to all of our cases. These features ALL are part of the Mercury line which we brought with us just 1 year ago, and what he built in 6 months prior. Funny it takes companies about a year to release new product, right? We knew about the cases before the event, but we kept our cool. My dad even went as far to speak to [Thermaltake Case Designer] and ask him how he was doing. I kept pretty quiet. [Thermaltake Case Designer] told my dad, “The new line was doing very well and hoped that one day he would make cases as good as ours. They were not there yet, but it was his main objective while working there.”
Computex 2015… [Thermaltake Case Designer] was thrilled to announce “My new babies have arrived!” on Facebook. I was fortunate enough to see this late at night so I had plenty to keep me from sleeping well (actually not at all really, yay for coffee!). I also received several notices from people at the event telling me that Thermaltake had ripped us off yet again.
All of these events happened, and I did not make up anything, not a thing. Simply put, [Thermaltake Case Designer] and Thermaltake, you disgust me. We are all for innovation, and welcome new case concepts from other manufactures. We have said this publicly and I’m saying it again. There have been some AMAZGING things to happen to the enthusiast market, and it’s better for everyone. Copying people’s existing concepts and calling them your own stifles innovation and hurts the industry with dull already done designs. We are a small family owned and operated business who make their products in the USA with pride. Anyone can steal designs and have them made overseas for much much less. So do something with your own creativity and concepts or do nothing at all.
[Thermaltake Case Designer] if you read this and I hope you do. The only reason I became friends with you on Facebook was because my dad genuinely believed you were a good guy and that I should give you a chance. That’s why you may have noticed I sent you a friend request after you sent me one. I had deleted your request, and after speaking to my dad I sent you one, and voila, we became “friends”. I feel a bit “high school” adding this part, but I wanted you to know that.
For all who have read this, thank you for taking the time. We have worked tirelessly on our designs and can’t just sit back while people rip us off. I am asking everyone to share this post. Please, it needs to be done or businesses like Thermaltake will continue to taint the industry with rip-off products. To all of you who noticed the stolen concepts and took the time to tell us, thank you your support means the world to us.
CaseLabs Vice President
Update 17/07/2015: Caselabs has since publically retracted the above statement.
Below is picture evidence from Caselabs showing that Thermaltake have purchased their cases, with Caselabs claiming that they used these cases to directly copy their unique designs. He even quoted a Thermaltake case designer as saying this after building a PC using a Caselabs case their cases at an event;
“Wow I wish our company made cases like this, can I take some pictures to send to our R&D department?” A bit flabbergasted I told him no which he then replied, “Well I guess we will just buy one then.”
Looking at Thermaltake's products, I can say with absolute certainty that a lot of their products are inferior to their aesthetically similar counterparts from other companies, and this is coming from a fully trained Mechanical Engineer (Yes I am a Fully Trained Mechanical Engineer).
I will give you guys a few examples of this, the first of which will be with the design of their GTX 970 Strix GPU Waterblock.
To the left is a picture of EK's FC970 Strix water block, which as you can see can covers and cools all of the GPUs major components, like the VRMs, VRAM and the GPU core.
Looking at the Thermaltake design (For the same GPU) on the right, you can see that they do not have any active cooling on the GPUs VRMs. Thermaltake have decided that passively cooling the GPU's VRMs is adequate, adding a vent above them to help with passive airflow. Allowing the VRMs to passively cool on this GPU will shorten the lifespan of this GPU, especially since most GPU watercoolers overclock their systems.
In my eyes, again speaking as a fully trained mechanical engineer, who is well acquainted with the processes required to design and make such a product like this, that reason is cost and time. to make this GPU block properly you need detailed PCB designs from ASUS, more material to cover and cool the VRMs, more time spent to design the block and more time is required to machine and assemble the product. THIS THERMALTAKE DESIGN IS OBVIOUSLY INFERIOR TO EK'S.
My second example will be with Thermaltake's coolant, a Glycol based coolant which is both toxic and can degrade components in your water cooling loop. As many of you who use Rigid Acrylic tubing my know, Glycol based coolants will degrade your tubing, causing it to crack and could destroy your loop and your PC.
Most other Coolants on the market have moved away from Glycol, or alcohol based coolants altogether due to it's toxicity and potential reactions with other water cooling products.
Thermaltake's radiators are made using Aluminium primarily, unlike moth others that use primarily copper. Copper is known to be a better thermal conductor than Aluminium and for this reason copper makes for a superior radiator. One other reason why copper is primarily used is because most other metal components in a water cooling loop is made of copper, and the mixing metals in a liquid based cooling loop is preferable in order to avoid corrosion, though the anti corrosive additives most coolants do help to avoid corrosion. If Thermaltake anodized their Aluminium Radiators with a protective oxide layer, like all other manufacturers, the corrosion issue would not be that big, but Thermaltake just use bare Aluminium, which is a problem.
Thermaltake have dug a huge hole for themselves in our book, producing many products which look identical to other companies designs is bad, but their inability to even improve on any of these products, at least in my opinion, and make only what appears to be a bunch of cheap and nasty knock-offs makes matters even worse.
At times like these I wish OC3D had a negative award to give a company, or even a certificate of condemnation to send to them in the post. When a company shows a lack of creativity over a number of years, I usually say that there it is a time to change their management, or in more extreme cases time to sell up. Thermaltake need to change the way they make product, not by looking at what other companies are doing but at what PC builders actually want, creating products which can be defined as innovative, or at least unique.
Below I want to hear your opinions on this. Do you think they copied the designs of other companies? Do you see this as a Problem?
You can join the discussion on Thermaltake lack of design creativity on the OC3D Forums.