There’s no doubt that building PCs can be an expensive hobby.
Previously, building your own PC using sites like PC Parts Selector (opens in a new tab) could actually save you money compared to buying the best gaming pc you could afford off the shelf, especially with the price of some components like the best graphics cards see incredible margins in recent years.
And I for one have banged the drum for cheaper PC components in almost every review I do, so you would think that Amazon is entering the PC component market with its Amazon Basics CPU Air Cooler (opens in a new tab) would be cause for celebration. After all, it’s really cheap, coming in at just under $30, which is great for a budget-conscious build.
Still, I can’t think of any other company I’d want in the PC component market less than Amazon, and this foray into PC building doesn’t bode well for PC builders.
Yes, it’s cheap, but it’s still a counterfeit
As Tom’s gear (opens in a new tab) notes, this Amazon Basic’s CPU cooling fan looks almost identical to this one Cooler Master Hyper H410R RGB CPU Air Cooler (opens in a new tab)which retails for almost three times as much as the Amazon Basics CPU cooler.
Both have comically similar specs, almost as if Amazon just copied Cooler Master’s CPU cooler design, slapped a 20% slower RGB fan, and ruthlessly undermined the company that did all the work to design the CPU cooler. in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to shed a tear over the profits of a component company that makes a lot of money selling computer parts. But whatever we can say about Cooler Master, it at least has a vested interest in the market it caters to, whereas Amazon is looking to make a quick buck and isn’t interested in the market at all. beyond the money he can extract from it.
Cooler Master, like it or not, did the work to design this fan that Amazon just ripped off, and Cooler Master presumably invested the money to make sure it does the job it does is supposed to do. Amazon did no such thing, I can almost guarantee that.
What Amazon did was see from their own internal sales data that a product was selling well on their site, and using that internal data they went ahead and made a counterfeit version and is now selling it alongside the product he copied 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 either.
If this trend continues and Amazon moves aggressively into PC components as it has with household products and elsewhere, PC builders are just going to be worse off in the long run.
Why counterfeits are bad in the long run
The problem with fakes is that the people making them don’t really know what they’re doing. They haven’t developed an original idea or product, they’re just copying what someone else has successfully developed after a lot of time and investment.
The more people buy counterfeits, the more it hurts the results of the original manufacturers. Again, I’m not here to mourn the loss of revenue for Cooler Master, but I do want Cooler Master to continue to produce a quality product, and whether we like it or not, it costs money. . Amazon will never invest in developing a quality CPU cooler.
If everyone buys the counterfeit cooler from Amazon, Cooler Master has less incentive to build a better one because Amazon will just copy it and everyone else will buy it instead. So what’s the point?
Over time the quality of all CPU coolers will decline as there is less incentive to invest in proper engineering, and we end up with worse products as everyone now has to scrape the bottom of the revenue barrel because Amazon sells counterfeits here.
Of course, this construction right away costs less to build, but future builds will have a hard ceiling on quality as a result.
Component makers need to take budget products seriously
Ultimately, Amazon does what it does because there is a market for budget PC components. THE best cpu coolers can be quite expensive, even without getting into the AIO side of things, so it makes sense that Amazon is trying to make some money off of that gap in the market.
The ultimate solution is for component manufacturers to fill these gaps with quality, cost-effective offerings. Component prices have only gone up every year, putting budget PC builders in a very bad spot. It’s inevitable that someone will fill that gap, and it really sucks that it’s Amazon, but that’s entirely to be expected.
Unless component makers want to be absolutely ripped off by Amazon by undermining it with counterfeits, they need to offer customers an alternative that Amazon can’t undermine. Hopefully they heed this wake-up call for the industry.