The gaming industry has seen incredible growth in the UK in recent years, contributing close to £3 billion to the British economy. Amidst the rise of streaming platforms and esports, PC gaming has never been more attractive. New business talks to leading system integrators Overclockers UK, a business that began as a passion project, and today remains synonymous with high performance hardware for PC enthusiasts

Who are Overclockers? Can you briefly explain the term ‘Overclocking' and how it ties in to the company's origin, brand and products?

Overclocking started back in the glory days of PC building. Just like in science class, you'd play with components to manually override things like voltage. More voltage, more power, more performance. This generates heat, causing components to fail and therefore requires additional cooling. Overclockers specialised in this niche segment and quickly built a community which became one of the world's biggest tech forums.

As for our name? When you're like a second home to a vast community of Overclockers, what name could be more fitting? It's not just a name though, it's a reflection of our history and our expertise.

Overclockers UK operates in a competitive market. What sets the brand apart from the competition?

In all honesty, we don't try to compete, that's our unique selling point. We believe that if you offer the best service, that you only sell products you know offer value without the expense of quality and most importantly that you support the community as well as the consumer - you'll always be home to the right kind of customer. Our ethos is found in our custom builds. Many of our competitors compete by selecting components based on cost or rebates provided by the brands. Our focus is to create the best blend of components for performance and reliability based on years of experience and extensive product testing.

Can you speak a little on the difference between building a professional PC, a gaming PC and a workstation. What are the key considerations when building a system?

The key difference is what you use it for - first rule, spending more on a PC doesn't always make it better, so don't be afraid to ask for advice as everyone has to start somewhere. A gaming PC and a professional workstation mainly differ in the choice of CPU and graphics card, but depending on the application, you can get better performance out of non-professional hardware. It's much cheaper too.

The professional gaming scene has accelerated in the UK in recent years. Can you tell us a little about Overclockers' role in this competitive revolution?

We love PC gaming, whether it's jumping into the action or supporting our favourite teams. We loan hardware to a variety of communities and events like the RedBull Gaming Sphere, ESL UK, gaming bars and pro teams like Team Endpoint.
We partner with a number of streamers and also have our own streaming studio where four people can compete together on the Overclockers channel. We even provided 24 systems for our local university, Keele, to support their esports society, and we were very proud to open their Overclockers UK Gaming Hub last month.

Is it all about speed of performance? In the age of social media, and sharing "setups", how much do the cosmetics impact the approach to building systems?

Your PC is an extension of your personality, it's a great way to express what you're passionate about - especially if you're willing to open it up and have a tinker. We always make sure our systems look great, even if you're on a tight budget, a few LED strips and RGB fans make a huge difference. You can always go further with things like colour braided cables, RGB components, LED screens for emojis, spray painting your case - we even own a laser engraver if you want your glass panel etching with artwork! We did these Call of Duty PCs for Activision.


How has the industry changed since the early days of OCuk, and how has the company adapted to these changes?

Consoles arrived and were expected to kill PC gaming but in the end they brought video gaming to the masses. Those who wanted better performance progressed to the PC and Overclockers grew through the noughties, expanding our product range and providing custom built systems. With the advent of YouTubers, we have seen demand for gaming PCs grow into the mainstream attracting more brands and big retailers to the market. Overclockers decided to stay true to its roots, focusing on performance and customisation to become the leading high-end brand. It is this differentiation that enables us to grow during a time when there's a massive push to cut costs to the consumer, especially with the introduction of players like Amazon.

High performance systems are not just the domain of gamers though, what type of equipment do you supply to businesses, and what makes Overclockers a great choice as a system supplier?

If you think you can't overclock a workstation, you'd be totally wrong, in fact overclocking workstations is the best way a business can make big returns on its hardware investments. Our expertise has enabled customers to benefit from up to 70% increases in the performance of their applications compared to buying from standard system providers.

It's not just overclocking that makes a great system, effective cooling is also required to prevent thermal throttling. It's effectively where your hardware reduces its performance to keep itself cool. We see this a lot with snap together systems and servers from big brands.We have helped customers in many sectors including creative, engineering, financial, law enforcement and scientific research. We work with our customers to understand their objectives and the software they use in order to optimise a solution.

Who is Ian Parry and how did he earn the nickname "8Pack"? 

Ian is an industry legend and 15 time world-record breaking Overclocker, what you wouldn't expect about someone who fits that description you ask? He's also a professional bodybuilder. Imagine Schwarzenegger but in an alternative universe where he's born in Yorkshire and starred in the 1995 movie Hackers.


Ian made his name from perfecting the art of Overclocking, he can rewrite hardware programming and loves to show off with liquid nitrogen displays. What made his career though was when he joined Overclockers and created the OrionX, it's a £30,000 gaming PC which is universally regarded as the absolute pinnacle of PC hardware. It's a work of art, he customises and hand delivers them to artists like Massive Attack and even 2Chainz in California.

As an online retailer, how does OCuk approach customer service in such a technically demanding industry?

Customer service comes hand in hand with experience and product knowledge, and in a technical industry like ours people want to speak to someone who knows what they're on about, you'd get sussed out pretty quick if you're faking it. We mostly recruit PC enthusiasts and gamers who understand our customers and know what they need. We heavily support promoting internally and work really hard to make sure we provide career opportunities for staff. One day you're learning how to assemble PCs, next thing you're advising some of our multi-million pound Formula One  clients on what machine will be designing their next generation of cars. Steven Levitt, our brand manager for noblechairs, started by working in the shop on Saturdays, 10 years later he travels around the world to work directly with our clients and content creators.

What's next for Overclockers? How do you see the future of the company?

German specialist distributor Caseking purchased Overclockers UK in 2012 and the group has since grown to become a Pan-European distribution and retail network for enthusiast and gaming brands. The scale of business meant we could make the leap to the next chapter in Overclockers, creating and investing in our own brands like noblechairs, a premium brand of leather gaming chairs. It's been very exciting to not just sell products but to work directly on the designs ourselves. We know what high end gamers really want, there's no need to guess when you have a community like ours to work with.