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What the case industry can learn from IKEA and CM.


solarity
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I have been frustrated by the lack of customization and consumer modular cases that are available. While many people building their own system will be content with selection and included fans, for some it feels like it is difficult to have your cake and eat it to, at least from enthusiast point of view.

 

What is truly needed is a consumer modular case, Cooler Master attempted this and failed with the "Master Case" line of systems and with marketing slogan "Make it Yours". They only made the case modular from a manufacturing stand point. The "modular" parts they sold were seldom available in stock and it made most sense for the consumers to buy the case that fit them the best and do nothing more. The Master Case thread on OCN is full of people who are upset about the lack of supply of parts, for people who wanted specific parts for their case.

 

The industry and Cooler Master in general could have learned from IKEA's brilliant, functional, great price point and most important modular kitchen cabinet designs. A user can design a kitchen with the online IKEA design tool and to the user all they are doing dragging different cabinets and placing them into the spot they want. On the back end one cabinet can account for many different SKUs and that's what makes it so modular and successful. IKEA only has to build a fraction of the components and one cabinet box can serve many different functions. i.e. garbage pull out, 4 set of drawers, (1 drawer + cabinet door). All the hardware and drawers are different SKUs. The door/drawer front/faces and side panels are modular and different SKUs as well. The users can easily reface their kitchen by swapping all the panels, drawer fronts, and door fronts with a different design at a later time. IKEA only makes a handful of different cabinets in a couple of different colors. The users just clad the "frameless" cabinets in what ever design they want. The color of the frameless cabinets are completely overlaid by the doors and panels. Because of this overlay design this means they can produce a lot of a few different styles giving both IKEA and the customers the advantages of economy of scale.

 

Furthermore as the cabinets are flat shipped this heavily reduces the cost of shipping, storage, and handling. The users assemble the cabinets themselves saving both IKEA and the customer money in shipping and assembly.

 

My intention is not to give IKEA a plug, though to ask Corsair and many other case manufacture designers to go an IKEA kitchen cabinet area to get some inspiration on how to make things more adaptable to users need as well as reduce the cost to the consumer and Corsair.

 

Cases are no longer just a white box to hold your components. They are turning into arts of work, expression of the owners, as well as platform to install special components i.e. open loop cooling. Cases have a lot of overlap with kitchen cabinets!

 

I would like to see the following:

 

1) Use of white, black, and primed frame rails, panels, trays, and etc. to allow the user to adjust the size of the case on any axis. (within reason)

2) Allow for full customization via a simple online design tool for people to create their setup.

3) Sell things as simple as just one rail all the way to full systems laid out with 7+ HD-120mm fans, if the user wants.

4) Have different SKUs for each rail, panel, tray, HDD cage, SSD caddy, and rad mounts; these add up and have discounts/packages. This will also generate less waste and save money as not all users want to have a system with 4 fans they will just replace.

5) Flat ship everything! Cost of shipping is not cheap and shipping everything flat and dissembled would reduce the cost of manufacturing as no assembly is required as well reduced size of the package.

 

I think there is a market for this and this might be the next biggest thing in computer PC gaming world. I mean people are resleeving their power cables, this should much easier! I would love to see this or I might just go buy angled steel/aluminum and try it myself.

Edited by solarity
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