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KitGuru Inside Alphacool HQ – worlds biggest manufacturer of PC radiators

Alphacool, the German cooling company makes a bold claim, that it is the world’s largest manufacturer of radiators for PC cooling. Glancing around the design office, KitGuru counted five people who work there and was told a couple of people were out that day. Add in a current vacancy and we have a total head count of eight people in the design office. Alphacool has a target to sell 15,000 radiators every month and ‘is close to hitting that target’ so a simple piece of maths tells us they are selling something like 170,000 radiators per annum.

Ever single one of those radiators is a full copper design (plus a small amount of brass for fittings) and uses about 1kg of copper. KitGuru is waiting for confirmation but it sounds as though the factory uses more than 200 tons of copper per annum when you add in the metal required for CPU and GPU blocks.

The hardware is produced in China but Alphacool doesn’t simply OEM to the cheapest bidder. Instead they have an exclusive relationship with a specific factory and own the tooling and designs. Everything that Alphacool produces comes from that factory and everything that comes out of the factory is produced for Alphacool. A fair few of those components are sold under the Alphacool brand but a proportion are produced for OEM customers such as be quiet! (Silent Loop) and Fractal Design (Kelvin) All In One cooling systems. We saw other brands of hardware at Alphacool but were sworn to secrecy.

(editorial continues after the gallery).

AlphaCool HQ Gallery

– (pictures taken by Leo Waldock: Copyright KitGuru)

Alphacool uses a non-contact measurement system that creates a 3D model of a graphics card or motherboard. The have tried using a laser scanner that works much more quickly however the shiny surfaces of the PCB and chips confuses the system. That is easy to fix by applying a light coat of matte paint but many of the cards they scan belong to end users which makes this approach unacceptable.

If you have an MSI, Gigabyte or whatever graphics card and call Alphacool to ask whether they cater for your hardware you may be told their library of 130 coolers and 600 PCB designs does not include your specific model. Loan your graphics card to Alphacool and they will remove the cooler and scan the PCB. In return for their assistance the customer either gets a free water block or a hefty discount on a cooling system.

We picked up some snippets of information that show how different markets work around the world:

Most customers in Europe prefer water blocks made from black Delrin Acetal, rather than clear Plexi. The split is about 80:20.

By contrast the USA only wants Plexi products.

In Asia they are happy with pretty much any product, provided it has RGB lighting.

Passive coolers for M.2 SSDs sell in significant quantities ‘hundreds each month’.

When Alphacool introduced strips of LED lighting in red, white or blue (RGB coming soon) the most popular colour was blue by a significant margin.

When Alphacool launched the XPX CPU block they sold 500 in the first three weeks. We asked why they were talking about three weeks rather than one month. It turns out those 500 units were the entire first shipment and the shelves were bare.

At Alphacool the words ‘We are waiting for another container from China’ are part of most conversations.

Kitguru says: It’s an interesting place and the coffee was pretty good too.

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