It’s always good to see companies taking end user’s complaints very seriously and working on it. But it’s bad when some people try their best to bash a brand without reasoning. As a manufacturer and a user, we all should own up to our mistakes. It’s important that people working for a consumer-centric company to patiently listen to people’s criticisms. It might be hard for some to swallow, but they’re the ones to benefit from it. It’s also important for people to frame criticisms accurately. Worst of all, not go to a level of manipulating the photo to misalign a company’s name for whatever reason.
But that’s not the case between TechPower! forum members and IC Diamond. Like a wood to the fire, this escalated rather quickly.
There are times when companies defend their products to save face when it is doing the contrary. Rather than listening and doing research about it, they get into denial. When feedbacks are not taken to improve or fix a problem long enough, one resorts to name-calling. I’ve been through a situation where company personnel use terms such as ‘brand bashers’, ‘mischief mongers’ etc?
The stage is set…
This involves IC Diamond thermal paste (Innovation Cooling, LLC) and TechPowerUp! forum members who claimed that its thermal paste was damaging IHS on the CPUs and the GPUs. Some of such as posts are here, here and here. As you can see, the damage on the lapped processor is similar to that on the GPU’s heatsink. It is speculated to a large batch issue were some chunky diamond crystals on the thermal paste was the cause of the problem.
This mass reporting started after Innovation Cooling, LLC gave away 100 syringes of ICD24 IC Diamond thermal pastes in the forum to members with a minimum of 50 posts or 3 months of membership. Usually, this is a good promotion with good products, getting people to buy or recommend to others. But people started reporting about the issue. From here, the somewhat controllable or fixable situation derailed eventually and went beyond control when the company responded. It started with IC Diamond by posting in the forums.
The manufacturer’s rep on the forum said the following in the thread during December 28, 2012:
The diamond we buy for our compound is purchased from one of the largest diamond suppliers in the country, the same sources and sizes that are used for optical lapping.
The diamond we buy is commonly referred to in the biz as a flour.Here are some pictures posted as IC Diamond scratches magnified 250% it is no big deal to analyze “scratches” which can only be made a certain width/depth by an established particle size, the fact that they represent a particle size 10X+ times the diamond component in our compound should be noted. Any suggested idea particles are larger than this shows a lack of understanding of the screening process as you will not find 1200 grit sandpaper peppered/contaminated with 150 grit sized particles and especially in mission critical optical components like lasers you will not see errantly large particles. We purchase only the highest quality and pay through the nose for it.
To draw a contrast for you I am privy to a competitors processing technique in which the paste is mixed in paint mixers, in a block building, with unfiltered air.
We are not Yahoos or hillbilly’s, we contract our mixing and the people that do it, do it in a sterile air filtered environment on million dollar machines that heat the compound and mix it in a vacuum to prevent any air being folded into the compound. In addition prior to mixing our contract manufacturer performs QC testing to validate materials received meet specified material requirements.
The containers we receive from our contract mixer are unopened and tubes are filled directly from the sealed container through the syringe tip. Our processing and quality control are state of the art.
We do pay attention and we do collect reports of supposed scratching and they are analyzed and found with out merit.
When researching a problem you look for a commonality between samples.
Below sample was recently circulated and claimed the belt sanded look was due to the sink sitting stationary on the IHS and that he was excruciating careful cleaning off the compound. Happens to be a different grit size/finish, varying grit sizes? Note the white lettering overlaying scratches. I honestly do not know the question to this – does Intel do white ink print ID on nickel plated IHS’s?
The conversation warranted intervention from senior members and moderators. Manipulation of evidence wasn’t something lightly to be taken and needed someone to narrow down the issue. There was a possibility of improper cleaning which may have lead to this freak damage. At this point, it was everybody’s guess. Regardless, the complaint started coming from multiple users. Therefore a possibility of a certain batch issue looked certain. IC Diamond responded by doing something that not many people would expect, going to social media.
IC Diamond’s reasoning
During this who thread of discussions, IC Diamond’s page said that the cooler with the damaged surface by its IC Diamond TIM was ‘lost’. The plot thickened. It didn’t stop there.
IC Diamond’s bizarre claim of doctoring with compressed uploaded images
IC Diamond posted a PDF copy of a report made by Forensic Media Solutions, LLC. Before we get into conspiracy mode, one must note that images uploaded websites and even in forums get compressed during the process. Even Hardware BBQ does the same. The report proves obvious- the images are altered ie compressed and resized. Even people resize the photo or make it ‘brighter’ to show the damage properly, especially those who don’t have a proper setup. The company did not make any attempts to ask for RAW images at the time.
IC Diamond’s bad way of handling the situation
How can a heatsink that’s needed for analysis be lost conveniently while having this narrative? Naturally, it didn’t sit well with the community, especially those who tried it on their components only to find out the hard way. It could have asked for a ‘non-compressed’ pictures. There was no reasoning or follow-up about the lost heatsink by the courier service at the time of posting this.
The more you read, people started to doubt IC Diamond’s willingness to get to the bottom of it. At the time, it had a certain possibility of a bad batch- or anything else. But the whole conversation was derailed by losing a piece of crucial evidence, bizarre claims with a digital image forensic report and going on a rage across the forum and social media.
Bad batches are nothing new. It is understandable it happens to thermal pastes. But this was unique since it uses finely grounded particles of diamond for higher thermal conductivity. But a diamond is naturally abrasive, and therefore the mixing process may have not been great. There was also a possibility of maybe a removable or application method. Whatever it is- mudslinging threw everything out the window and it was a verbal slobber knocker. Just another drama in a tech forum- and that’s unfortunate. When users were discussing, sharing photos and even sending its heatsinks only to be lost mysteriously, how should anyone take that with a blamed turned on its users?
Edit 1: The rep is the company’s CEO. Forum members point out that he also runs an aeronautical company. According to further digging by TechPowerUp! forum members, Andrew Lemont who owns Innovation Cooling, LLC and Lemont Aircraft Corp, have sued Best Buy and Coolermaster for patent infringement. The company also sued Silverstone.
Edit 2: IC Diamond’s CEO has made a post which is equivalent to shooting your foot for no reason and being happy about it. It made a very bad impression, to say the least:
Just because you dig up your dead grandmother put a couple of bullets in her and post her bullet ridden corpse on a forum as proof I killed her does not mean that’s what happened.
Some conditions do apply to “evidence”
A bad taste of words and beyond lack of empathy aside, this derailed the problem and everything which was needed to analyse the problem objectively. While the words of an individual do not reflect the company, this was the words of a CEO of a company.
Edit 3: EVGA and other forums noted the problems with the IC Diamond being abrasive. It caused the damage to the processor’s IHS (documented since 2007 in multiple forum posts):
Edit 4 (07.07.2020): Post edited for better readability. Turns out this is still a thing in 2020. I hope the IC Diamond CEO is reading this and i good faith tries to find out the issue. Lessons were learnt, I hope. We have to find out why- and why only with IC Diamond.