Photo Gallery 052: The Sotry Of A Chinese Customized Mainframe MOD Studio
摘要： In TMTPost Photo Gallery 052, we focused our attention on a Chinese customized mainframe MOD studio FUXK and interviewed its founder Xing Kai to better understand the booming business.
As the PC industry continues to decline for five consecutive years, Xing Kai’s customized mainframe business, however, is booming. A mainframe assembled by his studio FUXK can be sold at over RMB 10,000, or even half a million. Among his clients are popular celebrities and investors like Wang Sicong.
Similar to car modification, clients have to put forward their requirements, and FUXK will try their best to meet these requirements.
For game fans who have high demands on PC performance and who are tired of the similar appearance of PCs, they are quite willing to spend several thousand or even half a million, wait for a couple of months or nearly a year and purchase an MOD. In TMTPost Photo Gallery 052, we focused our attention on a Chinese customized mainframe MOD studio FUXK and interviewed its founder Xing Kai to better understand the booming business.
It was April 5th, a bat-themed MOD mainframe at Beijing FUXK Studio. Inspired by Batmobile, Xing was awarded the first prize for this work by Deutsche Casemod Meisterschaft, one of the top international awards in PC mainframe MOD. It took him and his team three months to finish the work.
Xing (the person to the right of the picture) is the brand founder of FUXK. Since primary school, he’s been playing computers. His grandpa used to work in a research institute, so he had the opportunity to try out newly-launched PC models by major PC makers. However, he thought all of them were not quite nice-looking and attractive enough, so he started to modify PC mainframes by himself. At that time, he often visited BBS about leading European hardware and was oftentimes amazed by works of leading PC mainframe MOD makers in Europe.
A client ordered a totally-handmade alien-themed mainframe priced at around RMB 60,000.
Xing and his colleagues didn’t finish the work within two months. “It takes patience, cooperation and good mentality to continue this work. Once we are in bad mood, we’ll just stop for a while. After all, fine products come from slow work,” explained Xing. In general, it takes FUXK a week to three months to finish a work. Their record (almost a year) was made during assembling a spaceship-themed MOD mainframe.
A client ordered a car-themed MOD mainframe, so Xing and his colleagues drew part of their inspiration from Mad Max.
A designer was going through the original design book of Mad Max at FUXK’s Beijing studio. To finish every work, they have to get familiar with all the background information around the theme. Once, a client ordered a Ferrari-themed MOD mainframe, so they parked a real Ferrari inside their studio for a couple of months. If they were supposed to assemble a game-themed MOD mainframe, they would first pass the game, find all the necessary background stories and then start their work.
A technician was polishing a spare part at FUXK’s Beijing studio. The idea “MOD” originated from Europe when some MOD lovers applied their pursuit for personality and perfectness from houses and cars to PCs. A great deal of handifraft was required in MOD, so most of their themed works are unique. Therefore, any flaw is irreparable, and they will have to start over. “That’s why for the first decade, I have always been losing money,” he added.
Xing was looking for spare parts on the shelf. 90 per cent of IT manufacturers are sponsors of FUXK and shall provide FUXK with all the necessary spare parts. For exampke, Intel would provide FUXK with limited edition core products or launch new products and hold exhibitions at FUXK’s studio.
A technician was preparing to test a mainboard. FUXK would film a short video for each work to facilitate its sponsors’ marketing efforts. Besides common IT spare parts, they would have to turn to factories in costal cities for customized spare parts. A lot of personalization is needed in MOD, so they often need only a limited number of customized spare parts. However, factories have their own schedule, so they will have to wait for a long time as to some special spare parts. “The good thing about German factories is that they are willing to do one or two spare parts. Although it might take eight to nine months, their craftsmanship and quality are sure to be perfect,” he explained.
Xing came to Beijing to start his own studio alone, but after leaving a good reputation in the circle, many fans would communicate with hims via Sina Weibo, among whom some would even want to join him. Gradually, Xing gathered together a team of MOD experts. Although they used to be PC sales specialists at shopping malls, DJs at nightclubs or mineworkers, they all joined Xing due to their passion towards MOD.
A technician was getting prepared for an American Captain-themed mainframe MOD. On the desk was a Bronco-themed mainframe MOD a client ordered. For Xing, FUXK’s ultimate goal was to convey another lifestyle. “Traditional PCs are often old-fashioned, so there’s no spirit in an ordinary Lenovo or IBM mainframe. What’s the story behind the mainframe? What value does the electronic products try to convey? We attempt to make products that can convey spirit, personality and minority culture.”
The first mainframe MOD model FUXK mass-manufactured. It took them half year to develop and mass-manufacture the model. In May, the model would be launched on JD. “We will join 24 hardware brands and launched our special edition products,” Xing told TMTPost. It is safe to refer to FUXK’s mainframe MOD as luxury IT products. They are often priced at over RMB 20,000 or nearly half a million.
Game experience area on the first floor of the studio
OverWatch’s 1:1 scenario model (sponsored by Intel) on the second floor. Occasionally, offline matches and experiential activities will be held here.
Car modification was another hobby of Xing. Fond of the cars of strong industrial design in Mad Max, Xing bought a second-hand Jeep and tried to modify it based on the film. Near the jeep was their studio. It used to be a crude factory, but they decided to re-design and decorate it. Their studio used to be located at a migrant worker dormitory near north fifth ring. After working overtime, they would have some barbecue and beer on the street and imagine how they would decorate their studio if they had enough money. Of course, their dream finally comes true.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @flybutchery, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.