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 Post subject: Rants about Hardware review sites...
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 1:38 pm 
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mattek wrote:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=22332

It's a fairly long rant. But there some interesting points made. Makes you think differently about hardware sites.

It's a good rant and I am glad someone else is making it, too. There is absolutely no question that what he describes goes on all the time. I've been at this long enough and bumped into enough people often enough to know.

Sometimes I feel like SPCR is alone in trying to play the straight game. It's not like I want to knock companies down, I just want to tell my honest opinion based on careful examination of the product -- and if it happens to clash with the marketing story, well, I still want to tell mine, and they should have told a better story. And if the product maker does not understand my or SPCR's PoV, well, they better start trying harder, because acoustics is quickly becoming a permanent desirable feature for many buyers.

It's not like "ethical" sites are not commercial. They are. They can't afford not to be. They are by their very definition. Their real function is to provide additional info / insight to help people sort out what they need / want / should buy. This is an essentially economic function. It's what a famous NYT book critic used to say about reviewers: Our job is to sell more books. And he did, I am sure. But he panned the bad ones. And no one told him what to write in his rave reviews. It's his originality and creativity that made people value his reviews even of books he didn't like.

There are a few products we've received and not bothered to review (usually because it's hopeless & a waste of our tiime to write the review and yours to read it). One or two we finished reviewing -- only to decide not to post the review, because all we wanted to do is slash and cut, which doesn't really help anyone. In exchange for not posting the negative review, we have accepted some wee compensation for time spent once or twice: basically, just to keep the dumb thing, for whatever it is worth.

There are in fact 2 product samples in the lab right now that I reluctantly accepted and am in the tedious process of returning because they are useless for SPCR readers. I won't go against my instinct again in future.

Our point of view on this is simple: We want, in general, to review products that at least have a chance of being useful to the goal of PC silence. If it doesn't do that, we don't really want to review it. It's too much of a waste of time to look at bad products; just trying to sort through the better ones is a big enough job that keeps us constantly busy. And if we haven't reviewed it or had first hand experience, then we're not going to vouch for it.

Some readers may feel SPCR doesn't review enough of the latest and greatest gear. The truth is, most of that stuff is too hot and/or too noisy. SPCR now has enough market presence that we could probably get a lot of that stuff... but for what? So you know not to buy the latest and greatest? Most readers already know by the time they get here that the leading edge is usually ear-bleeding edge.

Trust us on this: If we think something is truly useful or revolutionary for quiet computing, we'll tell you about it whether other sites are covering it oor not. And if it isn't, even if everyone else is writing about it, we'll be whistlng along our own quiet lane.

At the moment, dual core obviously doesn't do a thing for quiet computing.

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Last edited by MikeC on Wed Apr 06, 2005 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:04 pm 
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I have mixed feelings on the subject.

On one hand, I have absolutely no objection for SPCR to take money in exchange for reviews, scathing or otherwise. Money is always nice, and I feel that it may allow you to spend more time doing reviews. You would have done the review for free if it was good, but since you wasted your time doing so, you may as well take cash for it.

On the other hand, I can understand why you would be loathe to do so, since from a company's perspective, bad exposure is better than no exposure. That's how and why advertising works. You forget that they suck long before you forget who they are.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:10 pm 
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Ah, I was wondering when you would chime in on this, Mike. You're definitely more qualified to respond to that rant than probably anyone else here. :D

Perhaps SPCR's growing hit count and ever greater exposure will be a lesson to those sites mocking up the press releases, with their stagnant viewer base.

But is there anything that can be done? Ranting is great and all, but only when it can actually accomplish something. This used to happen in the music industry all the time; major labels would pay top-2o market radio jockeys to play specific songs...it was called payola. Congress found out and really cracked down on it; but it didn't work. Jockeys now receive their pay through more tangible means, be it meals, cars, what have you. It is now called "swag", and the problem is even worse now than it was during the payola scandal; just tune in to any major radio station and you'll notice they only have maybe a 20-25 song playlist. If you're tuned in for 20 hours or more the songs repeat.

I have lots of experience in one industry, though, and not in the other; is this something you could see continuing despite our best efforts?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:24 pm 
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A good comment Mike, I agree with you.
It's good to know that you select your samples quite a bit. But e.g. when I'm looking in the heatsink section I can see quite a few medicore samples there. SPCR leads the web in some sections (e.g. heatsinks or PSUs) and imho it doesn't need to cover the whole aspect of PC hardware. Reviews in sections need to be comparable. If there's one lonely review, you can't do any connections to other products available but not reviewed.

I'm also happy to hear that you try to play the "straight game".
A good example for unbiased printed journalism in Germany is the magazine C't. They only review the stuff they want and for the most time they actually buy the stuff by themselves. The more financial independence SPCR has, the more free it is. I'd rather hear from you to reject a sample than to publish a review with constraints. For example Anand with his first dual-core preview: "This type of a review is a first for Intel. For the most part, doing an officially sanctioned preview with performance benchmarks isn't in the Intel vocabulary. Don't take this opportunity lightly - this is a huge change in the thinking and execution at Intel." That's just not sounding right to me.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 2:34 pm 
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I think it needed to be said in part because so many hardware sites still talk as if they are the up to the moment, edgy alternative to the print media, but this has not been the case for a long time now.

When the bubble burst, and the hardware sites began to consolidate, a lot of the old ways of doing things got thrown out, objectivity and independace being among the first casualties. There are still small sites that seem more independant, but few have the resources or frankly, the intelligence, to offer anything more than can be found elsewhere.

Thankfully, SPCR bucks the trend. Your editorial integrity, and the relative maturity of the community are what I think the two main factors are. As the mainstream hardware sites were losing their appeal, a lot of aging nerds like myself began to migrate over. I think a lot of the audience of AT and other sites are clamouring for another rave review of the latest, greatest, most overblown hardware - regardless of merit. This is a big enabling factor for uncritical reviews.

I enjoy the critical thought behind every review at SPCR, and FWIW, I completely agree with your decision not to publish scathing reviews. It serves no purpose other than to alienate another hardware vendor.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 4:01 pm 
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The state of hardware web reviewing doesn't look like it's going to change, certainly not quickly. mrzed's quick summary is right on, imo; web hardware review "journalism" got largely bought out a while ago. Not that any of them used to be "revolutionary" or really alternative in any meaningful way. They (we) were still basically helping people to be good consumers.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 5:38 pm 
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I agree with not publishing reviews on bad products, as it would be a waste of time time to write a comprehensive review (the only kind spcr does) on something that does not matter. But i think it would be good if ya'll could at least mention unworthy products in a list or someother item. If a consumer comes to SPCR and does not find a review of an item they are considering, they might take it as nothing, when it might mean it has not been written because of inferior quality.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2005 6:13 pm 
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dano --

This is an issue that's more complex than it seems.

A couple of examples:

1) There was a high power 3-fan PSU a company sent 2 samples of for me to test. They insisted these products were quiet. They weren't. One failed on the test bench after a minor overload just over full power. I gave the product a thumbs down.

From that point onward, I became a persona non grata to the company. No big deal, they don't make anything suitable for SPCR audiences anyway.

Was it a bad product? Maybe. Maybe I got a bad sample. I had only 2 and one survived. It was noisier than I'd like -- but maybe quieter than lots of other PSUs at the time. Should this product be on a don't buy list? Does it need to be? It has 3 fans and if you buy it thinking it will be quiet because they said so, then I think you deserve it. :lol:

2) There is an early HDD noise damping enclosure that I really dislike for its poor manufacture, lousy design and ridiculous price given what it is. I actually list it as an item not to buy in the Recommended HDD section. A number of companies associated with its distribution gave me grief about this. I stuck to my guns.

Now Edward Ng recommends it in these forums as a good notebook drive quieting option. :lol:

Bottom line: Sample variance issues alone makes it hard to be so tough as to have a non-recommended list. As does the question of applications.

Naming names without doing reviews would make us look pretty critical and open to criticism ourselves. It's tough enough doing a critical review of products in an industry that expects a whitewash from the reviewers. To then take this review and use it to put the product on a don't buy list is tantamount to telling everyone not to send samples to SPCR.

If we get an angel who dumps enough money into our operation that we can buy everything we ever want to review, and not worry whether we have a single sponsor or advertiser, then OK, we can do that. But as long as we have some reliance on the industry, we have to careful not to draw blood from the hand that feeds. It can be a delicate balancing act.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:28 am 
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This may be off-topic to the post, but there is one other area in which SPCR appears to be a Maverick.

Sometimes, whenever there is an individual product review by a standard hardware review site, there is usually a link to it on dozens of OTHER hardware review sites' news briefs. This becomes especially noticeable when you're googling for product reviews. Most of the links that turn up are links to the same article.

I never see SPCR on the sending or receiving end of such linking webs. Is this at all related to purchased reviews? i.e. other sites are getting paid to link to articles?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:08 am 
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Nah, I think that is more related to the different public SPCR and the general hardware news sites draw. The only other sites I know that draw the same type of public as SPCR are in a different language. For general hardware reviews on the other hand you can find a gazillion english language sites all with exactly the same public and interests.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:51 am 
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One thing I've noticed about the reviews at SPCR is that very few of them are unreservedly praiseful of a product, but almost all of them point out distinctive features of a product that are innovative and applicable to quiet computing, even when the product overall does not meet the site's criteria for quiet.

I don't think it's necessary to post a review here that simply pans a product, regardless of the delicacy of financial considerations. This is not like other hardware sites, or, say, a movie reviewer, where readers go to see whether a product or film they've heard of is good or bad, (or to become aware of what is being released into the market and whether it is good or bad.) Readers, newcomers especially, come here with the question in mind "What quiet computing products are available?" (and not whether a given product they might have seen advertised is quiet.)


Last edited by Reachable on Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:51 am 
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The posting of news items is largely a quid pro quo type of thing. We send out a news blurb for each article that we publish, and recieve news blurbs from a bunch of other sites.

But since we rarely put their news on our front page, since we filter it to only quiet-related items, they rarely publish ours. Occasionally news sites will pick it up, such as Slashdot or The Inquirer.

Nothing particularly sinister about the arrangement: We give no quid, so we get quo. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 10:48 am 
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There are some good and very valid points made. I still have a small list of hardware sites I will check for info, some of them are big and definately skew things at least part of the time. Still they are useful, just take most reviews with a grain of salt, look at is being said on other sites, and read between the lines at what is skipped over, etc and you can get a good picture of where most products stand. And in my book personal experience with companies and their products counts for a lot to.

I do have to say SPCR reviews are among the most balanced no BS reviews on the web. There's only one other review site that is as consistent in this imo, another fairly niche review site actually. But as I've said most of the big review pages are useful, they just take a bit more effort to see the whole picture. Then there are just tons of mediocre and horrible pages of even less real help.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:10 am 
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Talz wrote:
I do have to say SPCR reviews are among the most balanced no BS reviews on the web. There's only one other review site that is as consistent in this imo, another fairly niche review site actually.

Do tell, what site is it?

Good sites should be patronized and supported.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 11:28 am 
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Reachable wrote:
One thing I've noticed about the reviews at SPCR is that very few of them are unreservedly praiseful of a product, but almost all of them point out distinctive features of a product that are innovative and applicable to quiet computing, even when the product overall does not meet the site's criteria for quiet.

I don't think it's necessary to post a review here that simply pans a product, regardless of the delicacy of financial considerations. This is not like other hardware sites, or, say, a movie reviewer, where readers go to see whether a product or film they've heard of is good or bad, (or to become aware of what is being released into the market and whether it is good or bad.) Readers, newcomers especially, come here with the question in mind "What quiet computing products are available?" (and not whether a given product they might have seen advertised is quiet.)

Insightful observations. But not all readers are so. :lol:

Many people come demanding, Tell me what to buy! What's the best?! They are the ones who clamor for a star or points system. Of course the only viable answer is, Well, that kinda depends... :mrgreen:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:01 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Many people come demanding, Tell me what to buy! What's the best?! They are the ones who clamor for a star or points system. Of course the only viable answer is, Well, that kinda depends... :mrgreen:


I hope I don't bore you with my statements about the german magazine C't but during their tests they also don't choose a winner. They just show how good each product is in each this aspect.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:25 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Insightful observations. But not all readers are so. :lol:

Many people come demanding, Tell me what to buy! What's the best?! They are the ones who clamor for a star or points system. Of course the only viable answer is, Well, that kinda depends... :mrgreen:


They're probably also the ones that'll leave in a couple of weeks when no one answers their posts....

....at least there's a forum section where they can (hopefully) keep that contained :) , and some people even know that there's a search function :roll:

OTOH, I can't blame some people. It's a difficult question; I'm searching 5 different forums right now trying to figure out which RAM to buy and I'm still not sure.

/off-topic unintentional hijack


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 12:41 pm 
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jojo4u wrote:
I hope I don't bore you with my statements about the german magazine C't but during their tests they also don't choose a winner. They just show how good each product is in each this aspect.

Seems like it'd be a good one to have on line -- then those of us who don;t read German could use babbledegookalations at least. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 7:16 am 
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sthayashi wrote:
Talz wrote:
I do have to say SPCR reviews are among the most balanced no BS reviews on the web. There's only one other review site that is as consistent in this imo, another fairly niche review site actually.

Do tell, what site is it?

dido. I'm curious as well. ;)

Come on, what's wrong with mentioning sites? I'll start. I used to frequent Toms Hardware Guide, but I haven't for the past several years and have moved mainly to Tech Report. THG just seems a shaddow of its former self. A few years ago I was seeing their quality of reviews starting to go lack. They've really seemed to have been bought out.

I like techreport because of their Shortbread to reviews and ability to comment to the reviews they make. Some sites in their shorbread require different amounts of salt, of course, and many have a certain focuses/foci anyway (ex. SPCR's forcus is noise).

Of course, I almost always end up in fits of laughter when reading anything quiet/silent related at any site other than SPCR. :lol:


Edit: I was wondering who the Inquirer dude could be ranting against. I found these reviews from TechReport's shortbread. This is halarious stuff! :lol: Even funnier that the site is Legit Reviews! :shock: :lol:

Quote:
Doom3 Intel Dual-core Testing

Our first test was by far the most requested benchmark to be requested by our readers. One unlucky reader talked about being in a CAL match for CS and having his virus scanner start to run mid-game and kill his gaming performance leading to his teams defeat all thanks to the virus scan. For this test we ran a full scan of Norton and then ran Doom 3 at the same time.

The Intel 640 took a 24% hit in performance when run with the virus scanner enabled, which is a significant difference in performance. The Intel 840 with Hyper Threading enabled came in only 4% slower, and that isn't a significant performance difference. Dual core easily proves to be the victor here.
<>
The second benchmark simply adds listening to MP3's to the mix. Not everyone wants to listen to the audio in their video games, so they add their own music during the gaming experience. We keep Norton 2004 running, make our own unique play list, and then get the action going with Doom 3.

Results: Interesting results here because the Intel 640 actually improved a bit by adding a third application. The dual core processors with and without Hyper Threading still prove to be the winner though.

<>
The third benchmark used was proposed from a reader who like to watch movies on a second monitor at the same he played games. For this we ran the movie Training Day on Power DVD 6 and again scanned with Norton and benchmarked Doom 3.

Results: Here we see the single core processor taking the biggest hit in performance yet at 30%. The game play was slow at points as a result of all the applications being run on the Intel 640. The dual core Intel 840 processor took nearly a 10% performance hit in this testing environment.

Quotes from "Legit"Review.com, link Oh man, this is hysterical!

This shortbread linked 'preview' is much more realistic, even a little frank. a1-electronics.net link.

DrCR

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 8:01 am 
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sthayashi wrote:
I never see SPCR on the sending or receiving end of such linking webs. Is this at all related to purchased reviews? i.e. other sites are getting paid to link to articles?

Most SPCR reviews are mentioned at [H]ardOCP's Mods & Ends (a part of their news). Sadly, I've seen only a few links at other websites.

Cheers,

Jan

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:23 am 
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There are a few over at ProCooling that have at least checked out this site. Mainly from guys like ferdb, bobkoure, (me), and others I'm sure, mentioning it.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:46 am 
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Addressing the article in question:

Charlie Demerjian wrote:
To step sideways a bit, the current dual core chips are all going to suck on games regardless of whether they come from Intel or AMD. Both are heat limited and will debut several clock bins below their single core counterparts. The Intel side also takes a step backward in bus speed because of the added loads on the bus. All these are engineering realities, and in no way diminish the really great jobs both companies are doing to bring dual cores to the masses.

It does mean however that until software catches up, most likely not this year, that gaming is going to suck on them. They will cost more, take more power, and be a status symbol for the rich and stupid, but their frame rates will blow dead goats. On multitasking and multithreaded apps, they will shine like the sun, but how many of these are there? How many times do you encode a movie while typing a document, zipping your C drive, doing some heavy CFD work all while listening to a few MP3s? Yeah, me neither, but at least 3DSMax and photoshop will rock on the new chips.

Getting back to reality, imagine my surprise when I saw that this new preview studiously avoided games. They are testing two of the most popular gaming chips out there, and the heir to the throne, and they did not put in one single game benchmark. Not one, think about that.

In the rebuttal to this, there will be the usual cries of 'we were not testing gaming performance' or some such bullsh*t ass covering, but here is the truth, if you are going to multitask and do and do anything that tasks both of the CPUs, one of those is going to be a game.

If you read up on the benchmarks posited by the current crop of reviews, how many are things you do regularly? How many fit the a scenario that you have ever found yourself in? How many of you would do seven things concurrently if you had seven things to do rather than do one or two at a time, and probably end up at the finish line first? The human mind does not multitask well, so 19 active windows is 17 or 18 more than you really can use at once.


The article wavers a bit more than my attention span can cope with--so I may be addressing a straw man--but the only real-world evidence provided to support the claim that reviewers are being bought out is regarding dual core processors, so that's what I'll address.

Charlie claims that because benchmarks for dual cores tested things no typical user would ever do regularly, and reviewers avoided benchmarks where dual cores performed poorly, the reviewers must have been bought out.

Regarding the multitasking that no users would ever do: first Charlie points out that multi-core CPUs cannot be fully utilized until the software industry as a whole begins threading properly, and then moves on to browbeat reviewers because they didn't use multithreaded software to test, instead using suites that don't properly emulate real-world behavior? This is a ridiculous catch-22. Reviewers are doing a bad job because they didn't test real-world software usage, despite there being very few applications currently available that can actually make use of a dual-core properly? I'm sorry, but to me that just smacks of hypocrisy.


Regarding reviewers not testing benchmarks that make a product look bad: This is, again, a half-truth at best. Given that:

1. Applications that are single threaded aren't going to benefit from dual cores, and
2. Most games are currently single threaded (mostly, anyways)

...why would anyone benchmark current single threaded games? It's pretty obvious what the results would be. The dual-core is going to be slower than the single core that's clocked faster. There isn't any point in benchmarking a single threaded application on both a dual core and a single core chip running the same core where one is clocked faster than another. It'd be like comparing a 2.8 GHz P4 to a 3.6 GHz P4--the result should be pretty obvious.

One site that is probably guilty in the eyes of this article would be Anandtech. Their first dual-core article clearly omitted gaming performance, and they state the following:

Anandtech wrote:
(For plain-jane single threaded application performance), the Pentium Extreme Edition or the Pentium D will simply perform identically to the equivalently clocked Pentium 5xx series CPU. The second core will go unused and the performance of the first core is nothing new. Given the short lead time on hardware for this review, we left out all of our single threaded benchmarks given that we can already tell you what performance is like under those tests - so if you're looking for performance under PC WorldBench or any of our Game tests, take a look at our older reviews and look at the performance of the Pentium 4 530 to get an idea of where these dual core CPUs will perform in single threaded apps. There are no surprises here; you could have a 128 core CPU and it would still perform the same in a single threaded application. Closer to its launch, we will have a full review including all of our single and multithreaded benchmarks so that you may have all of the information that will help determine your buying decision in one place.


Did Anandtech omit benchmarking games? Yes! Is there a good reason to do so? Yes!

However, in Anandtech's second review, they compare apples to apples from a price perspective--a dual core 2.8 GHz proc and a 3.0 GHz single processor P4. The dual core is clearly a better processor in this scenario, given the price. Applications that are threaded properly are going to utterly smoke the faster clocked single core processor.



So, to conclude, I don't really understand why Charlie can't sleep at night. He hasn't provided me with any evidence that Intel strong-armed reviewers of low moral fiber into skewing their findings, and his dual core rant makes little sense to me. I'm sure there's some crooked reviewers out there, but overall I don't share this pessamistic attitude.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 11:46 am 
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MikeC wrote:
dano --

This is an issue that's more complex than it seems.

A couple of examples:

1) There was a high power 3-fan PSU a company sent 2 samples of for me to test. They insisted these products were quiet. They weren't. One failed on the test bench after a minor overload just over full power. I gave the product a thumbs down.

From that point onward, I became a persona non grata to the company. No big deal, they don't make anything suitable for SPCR audiences anyway.

Was it a bad product? Maybe. Maybe I got a bad sample. I had only 2 and one survived. It was noisier than I'd like -- but maybe quieter than lots of other PSUs at the time. Should this product be on a don't buy list? Does it need to be? It has 3 fans and if you buy it thinking it will be quiet because they said so, then I think you deserve it. :lol:

2) There is an early HDD noise damping enclosure that I really dislike for its poor manufacture, lousy design and ridiculous price given what it is. I actually list it as an item not to buy in the Recommended HDD section. A number of companies associated with its distribution gave me grief about this. I stuck to my guns.

Now Edward Ng recommends it in these forums as a good notebook drive quieting option. :lol:

Bottom line: Sample variance issues alone makes it hard to be so tough as to have a non-recommended list. As does the question of applications.

Naming names without doing reviews would make us look pretty critical and open to criticism ourselves. It's tough enough doing a critical review of products in an industry that expects a whitewash from the reviewers. To then take this review and use it to put the product on a don't buy list is tantamount to telling everyone not to send samples to SPCR.

If we get an angel who dumps enough money into our operation that we can buy everything we ever want to review, and not worry whether we have a single sponsor or advertiser, then OK, we can do that. But as long as we have some reliance on the industry, we have to careful not to draw blood from the hand that feeds. It can be a delicate balancing act.


Hey now, I never said to stick a 3.5" drive of any sort in one, and I still think you're a fool to do so, but being a lazy bum like I am, I haven't found an easier solution than to just shove a 2.5" drive into a SilentDrive and call it a day. No need to go building anything crazy, and it is more effective at nullifying what little sound a 2.5" drive makes than any convoluted act of hard disk suspension/bungee. Sure, it costs $35; it's only a solution if you're willing to pay, and like I said, I'm lazy--so sue me. Is it built like shit? Sure, but it's not exactly the shifter on my car, so I couldn't give much of a damn how it feels, or how it looks, given the fact that it's sitting out of side in my computer, anyway--plus it looks better than anything I could whip up! Most importantly, as I said, try as hard as I might to overheat any of these 2.5" drives I have on hand inside a SilentDrive and I've failed miserably (thankfully so).

Heck, quite a few people out there couldn't even hear one of the better 2.5", 5400rpm drives in open air (whether it be from lack of sensitivity to high frequencies, or high ambient noise), let alone inside a computer sitting on foam. The SilentDrive solution I use is only because of my sensitivity to high frequency noise! Personally, I think anyone who's trying out one of these great 2.5" drives for the first time should do so without any isolation whatsoever, just to see how it works for them. It would be poor use of funds to buy a SilentDrive straight up with the drive...

-Ed

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:47 am 
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sthayashi wrote:
I never see SPCR on the sending or receiving end of such linking webs. Is this at all related to purchased reviews? i.e. other sites are getting paid to link to articles?


Nothing particularly sinister about the arrangement: We give no quid, so we get quo

sums it up quite nicely;) well after sending a few emails to MikeC he now sends me his updates when a new article is released at SPCR which I post at the site (link in sig) and prove to be quite popular. I think the rant over exagerates the amount of "bought" hardware review sites; instead of being vage he should give names and reviewers which he thinks are biased.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:08 pm 
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DrCR wrote:
There are a few over at ProCooling that have at least checked out this site. Mainly from guys like ferdb, bobkoure, (me), and others I'm sure, mentioning it.


I read every review posted over here and appreciate the hard and honest work done. I bought a Seasonic PSU and a Antec P180 based upon reviews here and couldn't be happier. I love the fact that the reviews give some of the reasons why a piece of hardware is good or bad, not just "product is really quiet, 3.5 stars".

Oh, and MikeC is right-on about the pressure put onto hardware review sites. The sites I've known to be scrupulously honest and open are procooling, SPCR and ... OK, I can't think of any more. ProCooling is (as far as I know) a bit too open in that it has gnawed off the whole arm that feeds it and could use a bit more civil discourse in the forums.

I also frequent ArsTechnica (which I *think* is good but haven't been involved with their community enough to really know), overclockers.com (seems mostly good but has more polemic than info for me) and techreport.com (seems OK). StorageReview is probably good as well, but I don't know for sure.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:33 pm 
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I am ALWAYS sceptical of every single review I ever read, except SPCR, if I need any more info than SPCR reveals about a product, I will read (skim) many reviews until I am satisfied, you can guess that I ignore anything that is mentioned about noise.

I am a sceptical and distrusting person by nature as I know companies can and WILL trick, as well as buy out companies reviews.

SPCR already does mention sample varience, however I dont see any reason why a manufacturer cant cherry pick samples before sending them to SPCR knowing full well that when it comes to noise SPCR are in a league of their own.

One thing that I would love to see at SPCR if its possible AND practical to implement is to swap with a local retailer the part they were sent by the manufacturer, and hand pick one off of the shelf, to guaruntee that the item is just like ( +- sample varience ;) ) any SPCR readers are likely to buy.

Some people may think that this is going way too far, but if its easy to do, and the item is already on the shelves it would put ANY possible cherry picking out of the window.

I know for a fact that all of the "bought" review sights review cherry picked parts that.

Overclock, underclock better than standard parts.
Are pre-tweaked for performance.
Are known to be reliable as they are not off the shelf, they have already been tested.
Run cooler, think of mobo NB chips and VGA cards with AC5 hand applied.
And of course run quieter, as they have already been batch tested, and the best one has been picked out.

I know for a fact that this is routine, and I know that SPCR are honest, but newbies might start to wonder when they see pretty much nothing but Antec cases, Seasonic PSU's, Samsung (now WD) HDD's, etc etc on the recomended list, people start to wonder.!!!

As I have already mentioned, I personally trust SPCR's reviews far more than ANYONE elses, however SPCR can still be receiving cherry picked parts without knowing, and reviewing only the best samples.


Andy

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 9:14 pm 
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Posts: 30
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Does anyone know if http://www.rojakpot.com/ is bought? It's one of my favorite hardware review sites.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:38 am 
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Ironically, The Inquirer is one of the few sites I've emailed about factual inaccuracies in their product previews/reviews. Each time, I get a stock reply along the lines of "this is the information I have from the technical guy and he is never wrong"


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 1:51 pm 
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Posts: 538
Welcome to SPCR Brians256 :)

Yeah, know what you mean about ProCooling. A shame really. :? Things seem to be getting better to some extent though, right? Isn't Cather back? What's BillA's status? I haven't been around for a while, with only a couple of expections, since I simply haven't had anything WCing related to look into. Heard bout Cather's accident. Ouch!

I like ArsTechnica particulary for Mac related stuff. Don't frequent the site really though. I just wait until something is important enough to be mentioned at TR (techreport.com).

I absolutely love TechReport.com. I was introduced to it by a coworker IT/CS guy around their inception. Worked out really well since TomsHardware was just starting to go down around that time. TR is one of the very few places I really trust...and on a related note, sometimes one of the last sites to get pre-release hardware. :roll: That in and of itself should say something.

Been to storagereview and OCers now and again, but not enough really to make a judgement call. I don't recall seen anything that made me laugh and move along, like I'm sure we all do all too often.

DrCR

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:46 am 
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Posts: 19
Location: Klamath Falls, OR
DrCR wrote:
Welcome to SPCR Brians256 :)

Yeah, know what you mean about ProCooling. A shame really. :? Things seem to be getting better to some extent though, right? Isn't Cather back? What's BillA's status? I haven't been around for a while, with only a couple of expections, since I simply haven't had anything WCing related to look into. Heard bout Cather's accident. Ouch!


The ProCooling forums are a bit more friendly at this point, which is good. Cathar is still (AFAIK) recovering from his accident. I don't see him really contributing anything interesting to the cooling scene anymore, since the really interesting stuff that he could contribute is commercially valuable. Which means he won't give it away. BillA is gone. He's disappeared into the biz. Last I saw posted, he was doing some work for CoolingSystems (I think).

ProCooling got to be too focused upon watercooling, which is not viable with HTPC and "normal" needs. With a normal computer, you can't beat current air cooling regimes unless you go really exotic. The pump noise alone is more than a couple of 5V Nexus fans on heat sinks, and it's rare to find a watercooled system that has no fans on top of that. Watercooling is still king where you need to overclock. As for the staff, well, I'm busy with real life (4 kids, handicapped wife, dad with cancer, etc...), pHaestus really got burned out by the harsh forum treatment, and Joe is really interested in racing cars.


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