Customers Aren’t Dumb

Dune Case: PC Case w/ Superior Thermal Dynamics

The Dune Case is very hard to describe. Gold clone of the Apple Mac Pro? Modern art with aesthetic airflow? Take a look.

Beachhead Market and Target User Persona

There is nothing inherently wrong with the Dune Case. In the competitive world of PC enclosures, where custom cases with pretty lights and plexiglass panels sell hundreds of thousands of units per year, the Dune Case is somewhat unique. The developers were correct when they described it as “not square and boring.”

But there are two gaping problems: First, existing customers of custom cases buy them for performance and fashion (ego). They build high-end machines for gaming and media production, often dressing them up with lights, transparent panels and sexy heatsinks. They are also astute evaluators of component specifications, investing time and money to squeeze every bit of overclocked, liquid-cooled performance out of their rigs.

Unfortunately the Mini-ITX motherboards required by this case are limited in the amount of RAM they can handle. GPU card vendors build fewer options for Mini-ITX, none with more than one fan. Finally, the Dune case can only handle 2.5″ drives. These restrictions effectively rule out the Dune Case for the high-performance crowd.

What about the fashion crowd? Although there isn’t much of a fashion market for PC cases today, the developers do seem intent on creating one when they describe the Dune case as:

  • “An experience,” “fresh,” “simple and purposeful,” “a timeless piece”
  • “Smaller, aesthetic appeal for desk or living room”
  • “Surfaced round, infinite and seamless, not square and boring”
  • “Looks good not only on your desk, but in the living room and other locations”
  • “Better airflow management”

OK, that last bullet is a bit of an outlier, but so is the product.

The second problem is that some of the developers’ claims and photos are downright deceptive. In the video at the top of the page, they say, “The Dune Case is smaller than the average PC case, and it makes it possible to install some of the most powerful hardware to date.” As described above, the Mini-ITX format is limited in the amount of RAM and hard disk it can handle, as well as the size of GPU card and the number of expansion cards. So that statement doesn’t hold water. Here’s another example:

That clip begins with a photograph of a Dune Case on a desk next to a laptop computer. No monitor, no wires. Maybe the Dune PC is running as a wireless server? The voiceover says, “This design is fresh, a complete rethinking of the desktop PC.” Ummm, no.

To their credit, they did make it bigger than the Apple Mac Pro, and removed a lot of pesky ports. And flipped the power plug. But it certainly isn’t “fresh,” or “a complete rethinking.” More like a direct clone.

For comparison, here’s how Apple tells the Mac Pro story:

And Dune is not the only clone. But Samsung added a speaker and the red one comes with a PC inside:

Shown to scale, based on the power plug dimensions

Dune Case Pro: A Less Deceptive Apple Clone

In 2019 the same team introduced the Dune Case Pro. They flattered Apple again by imitation (Apple Mac Pro on the left, Dune Case Pro on the right.) This time they also copied “Pro” part of the name!

This time they sold some units, and the world took notice. Here’s a video complimenting the “Fake Mac Pro Case.”

We don’t know how to play the “clone everything Apple” game, so we don’t have any advice beyond, “Don’t try to deceive your customers.”