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Gamesmanship in the overclocking world

There's something fishy going on in the British overclocking scene

For those of you who aren't aware, for some time now, Overclockers UK, otherwise known to all as "OcUK", have been in a price war on many fronts with rival Sheffield-based company The Overclocking Store or "OCS", formerly Power Computing. Both companies have issues with demand but both run fairly successful businesses, and adopt a healthy hands-on approach. As you may be aware, we have in the past reviewed one or two OCS products on these pages, most memorably guaranteed overclocked processors. As the UK scene has grown, so have both companies, and nowadays they enjoy a fierce rivalry. However, today marks the first time we have seen this rivalry slip into "farce" territory. OcUK announced a pretty impressive deal today on Lian-Li aluminium cases, a close rival themselves to Coolermaster's impressive range, describing them as "fabulous". According to the update on their company news page, "It has become clear that other suppliers have been having having (sic) a field day with their pricing policy on these cases," and OcUK want to change this. Which is all very well - they have something of a point; the expensive imported items are a bit dearer at OCS and the undercutting is welcomed no doubt by the consumer. However it's fairly obvious that OCS' success with sales of these cases is one of the main reasons OcUK have decided to introduce them, rather than, as they have indicated, a change of heart... So what do we have here? Two companies sparring for market share on elitist hardware items basically, and again, there is nothing wrong with that. What we do find cause to object to, however, is such rampant gamesmanship as this news update on the OcUK website, dated 11th January this year. I hope you won't mind us quoting in full:- "At OcUK we get sent lots of products on approval and on Monday we received one of the Lian-Li aluminium cases. We were told by the supplier that they were comparable to the gorgeous Coolermaster range but at a slightly lower cost. What a load of rubbish! To say we were dissapointed with the finish of these cases would be an understatement. Unfinished sharp edges to the drive bays and cheap tacky appearance comparable with cases we have seen at computer fairs. We don't sell stuff like that at OcUK so don't be fooled by descriptions. If you are looking for a high quality aluminium case then it's Coolermaster all the way. Needless to say the Lian-Li is going back. Sorry guys." Seems fairly clear cut! But hang on, Lian-Li aluminium cases are "fabulous" according to today's update! So what's going on? The cases have been described by OCS as stunning. A short snippet at the end of today's item reveals all. "By the way, the review sample we were sent some time ago had apparantly 'been around' a little, hence my comments at the time." Are we the only ones not taken in by this act? The man has the balls to slag off a competitor's products outright, but doesn't have the guts to admit that he was wrong? In all likelihood the original item discrediting OCS was placed so prominently on the website to act as a deterrent to potential buyers of the Lian-Li range. It's hard to get hold of a Lian-Li representative to discuss the matter, but if you need some evidence, here are a few points... OcUK are a retailer, yet they would rather not stock a shoddily made item than let the product's popularity rule them. Until of course, it proves to be very popular. Also, major hardware community websites have offered glowing reviews of Lian-Li products, such as Ars Technica, Dan's Data, Virtual Hideout and Overclockers Australia - apparently they were all wrong, but not any more. We're rather sick of the overly competitive business tactics of companies like OcUK. We're not trying to take sides, because we're consumers, just like you, but the overclocking community in the UK is still growing - a leading overclockers' portal and retail service such as OcUK giving it such a poor reputation early on could be fatal. Come on lads, let's try and keep it civilised.