There’s no doubt that building PCs can be an expensive hobby.
It used to be building your own PC with the help of sites like PC part selector (opens in a new tab) It can actually save you some money compared to buying the best gaming pc off the shelf, especially since the prices of certain components like the best graphics cards have seen some incredible markups in recent years Down.
I, for example, have been touting cheaper PC components in almost every review I’ve done, so you’d think Amazon would enter the PC component market with this Amazon Basic CPU Air Cooler (opens in a new tab) will be a cause for celebration. After all, it’s definitely cheap at under $30, which is great for the budget-conscious.
Still, in the PC components market, I can’t think of a company I want more than Amazon, and this foray into PC manufacturing doesn’t bode well for the PC makers out there at all.
Yes, it’s cheap, but it’s still a knockoff
as Tom’s Hardware (opens in a new tab) Note that this CPU cooling fan for Amazon Basic looks almost identical to this one Cooler Master Hyper H410R RGB CPU Air Cooler (opens in a new tab)which sells for almost three times the price of an Amazon Basics CPU cooler.
The two have ridiculously similar specs, it’s as if Amazon just copied the design of Cooler Master’s CPU cooler, installed a 20% slower RGB fan, and ruthlessly undercut the company that did all the work on designing the CPU cooler in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to cry over the profits of a parts company that makes a fortune selling computer parts. But whatever we can say about Cooler Master, it at least has a vested interest in the market it caters to, while Amazon is out to make a quick buck and isn’t interested in markets beyond the money it can squeeze from it.
Like it or not, Cooler Master engineered the fan that Amazon just ripped off, and Cooler Master presumably invested money to make sure it did what it claimed it would do. Amazon has not done anything like this, I can almost assure you.
What Amazon does is it sees from its own internal sales data that a product is selling well on its site, and using that internal data, goes ahead and makes a knockoff of that product and now sells it alongside the copied product at a greatly reduced price. This isn’t the first time Amazon has done this (opens in a new tab)and it won’t be the last time.
If this trend catches on, and Amazon gets into PC components as aggressively as it does in home goods and elsewhere, things will only get worse for PC makers in the long run.
Why knockoffs are bad in the long run
The problem with knockoffs is that the people who made them didn’t actually know what they were doing. They didn’t develop an original idea or product, they just copied what others had successfully developed with a lot of time and investment.
But the more people buy knockoffs, the more it hurts the original manufacturer’s bottom line. Again, I’m not here to cry over the loss of revenue from Cooler Master, but I do care that Cooler Master continues to make quality products, and like it or not, that costs money. Money Amazon would never invest in developing a quality CPU cooler.
If everyone buys Amazon’s knockoff cooler, Cooler Master has no incentive to make a better cooler because Amazon will just copy it and everyone will buy that. So what’s the point?
All CPU coolers will degrade in quality over time as there is less incentive to invest in proper engineering and we’ll end up with worse products because now everyone has to scrape the bottom of the revenue bucket because Amazon is here Sell counterfeits.
Of course, that building Now Construction costs are lower, but future construction will therefore have strict limits on quality.
Component makers need to get serious about budget products
At the end of the day, Amazon is doing what it’s doing because there’s a market for cheap PC components out there. The best CPU coolers can be very expensive, even without getting into the AIO side, so it makes sense that Amazon is trying to cash in on this market void.
The solution is ultimately for component manufacturers to fill these gaps by offering premium, budget-friendly products. Component prices are rising every year, putting PC builders on a budget in a very bad position. Inevitably someone will fill the void, Amazon really sucks, but that’s totally predictable.
Unless component makers want to be undercut by Amazon with knockoffs, they need to offer customers alternatives that Amazon can’t undercut. Let’s hope they heed the industry’s wake-up call.