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Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, March 25 2018 8:51 PM UTC +00:00
pledged of $300,000pledged of $300,000 goal
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, March 25 2018 8:51 PM UTC +00:00

A message from Compulab to Inferno backers

Posted by Compulab Embedded Systems (Creator)
1 like


Inferno campaign did not reach its goal. Compulab remains committed to providing a small-form-factor silent gaming machine. We will do our best to design it according to user's preferences (performance-price-silence-size) and re-introduce it when ready.

What we tried to do with the campaign

Since launching Airtop we received endless inquiries about a more powerful model with GTX 1080 (or GTX 980 at the time) for gamers. We knew it's possible, but not trivial. We also knew that we cannot make it as cheap as a common gaming PC. Basically we had 3 options :

1. Ignore these inquiries  

2. Make Inferno and try to sell it  

3. Try to identify what the real demand is  

We opted for (3) as a Kickstarter campaign. We set the funding goal at a level that would justify production. The results are clear - there is a demand for a product like Inferno, but the demand is not strong enough to produce it in sustainable volume.  

The reasons Inferno campaign did not meet its goal

The general feedback is that as a product Inferno is good, but for most potential buyers the high price tag is a deal breaker. There are several reasons for the price of Inferno:

1. Engineering and design. Inferno is not only compact, silent and high performance, but it also has many bells and whistles that are integral to the design - die cast housing, clamshell opening mechanism, I3M front panel, industrial grade components on the motherboard, premium storage and more. All these extras add to the cost and cannot be eliminated unless the product is completely redesigned. 

2. Components are expensive in 2018. Graphics cards, RAM, storage, copper are all expensive now. Since Inferno is using a lot of each, a ready to use Inferno becomes even more expensive. 

3. Non-standard components. In order to achieve the aggressive design goals Inferno is not based on commodity motherboard and graphics card (it is reworked to fit). So Inferno cannot be sold as a case-only which is pushing up the entry price. 

We are grateful to the dozens of backers who where willing not only to spend a considerable amount but also to wait until Inferno is ready. Unfortunately it takes a critical mass to make a product happen and this mass was not achieved. 

What the campaign achieved  

  • When we announced Inferno the dominant feedback was skepticism about the feasibility of the product. We are glad to observe that this skepticism is all but gone. This is most likely due to the prototype demonstration running at near 100% load for several days, the Airtop2 review by LTT and the opportunity to explain Natural Airflow cooling in more detail.  
  • Through the dialog with backers and followers we gained better understanding of what matters in such a product. We believe we know now how to make a more attractive product.  
  • We learned that the fashion in gaming computers design (our designer described it as "a horrible accident between a pinball machine and a fish tank") does not appeal to everybody. We were glad about the feedback expressed by many backers demanding a more subtle design.

What's next for Inferno backers  

  • Unfortunately we will not be able to supply Inferno at the schedule targeted in the campaign (we would have if the campaign was funded). 
  • After the campaign is concluded we will open a "keep me posted" form at 
    Backers and others that consider Inferno are welcome to leave their details there. We will email you once we have news. 
  • Compulab management and Inferno design team will do analysis of the results to decide what, when and how to introduce a more attractive version. It will not be through Kickstarter this time. Backers that left their details will be prioritized. 

 Again, thank you all for your support. We hope you are not too disappointed. We did our best to make Inferno happen and to be open and transparent about what we are doing and why. We intend to bring something better as soon as we can. 

Compulab Airtop2 Inferno team

bernstein likes this update.


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    1. Compulab Embedded Systems Creator on

      Thank you for the concise feedback.
      Please allow us to relate:
      - High price: We are in the process of rethinking the product with the goal of cost reduction. We are putting the interfaces that are feasible. Some interfaces are available only to large manufacturers where small manufacturers like Compulab cannot receive access and technical support.
      - Timing: acknowledged. We suffer from the high prices and so are the end users. We are doing our best to make Inferno upgradable which may allow buying some of the more expensive RAM and storage devices when they are cheaper.
      - Upgradability: we will do our best to make it easier. Motherboard will still be custom, but maybe we can make GPU/CPU upgrade simpler.
      - Colors: we listen. The design will be all black.

    2. bernstein on

      thank you for a) trying to launch such an awesome product & b) being so open about the realities of launching said product & it's kickstarter.

      now although this is squarely the perfect machine for me, there are a few reasons i didn't back it :
      - given such a high base price i wouldn't settle for anything less than (even though it would add a few $): a xeon + ecc ram, thunderbolt ports & 10GbE (yeah i know it's hard to know where to make the cut, but at least the first two should have been no-brainers)
      - bad timing. given the currently absurdly out of proportion pricing of gpus (but also high prices for ram & nand) i'm currently more or less waiting for the bitcoin hype to pass & possibly the next gpu/lithography generation. (maybe in vain...)
      - custom hardware, or rather, uncertain upgradablity. even more so affordable upgradeablity. i'd rather have a slightly bigger airtop with off the shelve components, but if thats just impossible physics, make it an open standard (mainboard+gpu physical requirements) so there is at least a chance others will release compatible mainboards & gpus, kicking off a fanless workstation/gaming revolution...
      - the colors... seriously: all black or all white would be far more awesome.

    3. Compulab Embedded Systems Creator on

      Thank you for your support.
      The USB 3.1 FACE Module design is already underway. We intend to complete it and introduce it for Airtop2.

    4. Missing avatar

      Flynace on

      Thank you for attempting to Kickstart such an awesome product - sorry it didn't work out this round.

      Do you know if the new USB 3.1 FACE module will still go into production and be available for the regular Airtop2?
      Or was that dependent on Inferno?