Get all your hardware FREE in 3 EZ steps! Details inside!

Others are doing it and so can you simply by publishing your own hardware review website! Just follow these 3 EZ steps:

  1. Register a “techy” sounding domain name like (sorry, already taken) for your review website.

  2. Make your website reaaaal perty-like.

  3. Finally, write-up the weakest and briefest reviews as possible. All you gotta do is make a list of the specs and talk about how nice it looks! Oh, but be sure to include lots of perty pictures and graphs and charts to make em look O’fishal and all!

That’s it! Then just wait for the hardware samples to pour in from bloody stupid manufacturers!

This is the first hardware review I’ve clicked on (from bluesnews) in quite a while since I’m now in the market for a new vidcard and the “review” linked above is what I was (mis)treated to. So this guys gets a $200 card for taking pictures of it, listing the specs, running a few benchmarks and writing conclusions like:

The X800GTO performed quite well providing good frame rates and good image quality making this a good choice for gamers who want a lot of bang for their buck. The X800GTO’s 256 megs of memory make high quality gaming possible on midrange prices as well.

I would give the Sapphire X800GTO 9 out of 10!!

I suppose this is the precisely what mfgrs are looking for so they can slap some quotes and scores on their website “The Sapphire X800GTO earned the prestigious Silver Award (insert picture of medal here) at by scoring an overall 9/10!”

Anyway, can anybody tell me who’s doing any “useful” hardware reviews these days? I’ll be upgrading mobo (AMD) and video card.

We’ll, I’d pimp our site (ExtremeTech). We’ve given our share of low scores.

More to your point, though, I’ve had interesting conversations with major hardware makers about this. The big ones are becoming stricter about vetting who gets hardware for reviews. But the second tier and lower hardware makers are desperate for any press, and will often cater to anyone who can give them a good quote.

One PR guy told me about a site that would demand two of anything for review. The second one would magically appear on eBay shortly after it was shipped – even before the review ran.

Intel is putting codes in their engineering samples so they can trace a CPU should it appear on eBay and they notice.

I should point out, though, that some smaller sites actually review stuff they buy. The quality of the review is often mixed, but the good intention is there. But even the well intentioned sites often seem dazzled by the glamor of attention. And the small guys also get beat up by the hardware makers more than larger sites, should they write something remotely negative.

But yes, there are sites that pop up just to scam free hardware.

There are scam sites out there, and that review is definitely weak, but when I checked out the site it had 93 simultaneous users and their forums had 1700 posts. The site is legit, it’s just very small.

We’ll, I’d pimp our site (ExtremeTech). We’ve given our share of low scores.

I’m sure I’ve been there in the past. I’ll check it out. thx

You might have heard of these little fly by night places called or They hang under the radar but their reviews are good. ;)

– Xaroc

Can’t be that in-brief if they spend 6 pages reviewing a fax machine.

My only foray into the world of games journalism was to do some volunteer reviews for a site (AVault) to see if I liked it more than mundane journalism (I did, but I ended up changing careers altogether).

Once I’d got on whatever comp lists the game publishers keep, it was almost impossible to get off of them. Unsolicited crap arrived in my mailbox every week for a year. I ended up calling up the PR contacts and saying, “Please, you don’t have to send me every game you ever make. I’m not going to review it. I’m just going to play it for a week, then sell it on eBay.”

I still have my “American Conquest” T-Shirt! It’s been very durable.

What was funny, was that the games I was actually assigned to review only occasionally turned up, and I’d end up getting it from Avault’s editor directly, presumably store-bought.

Video card reviews are insufficient. Sites like to compare say an EVGA 7800XT to an Abit 7800XT. Benchmark says blah blah this card is 0.04234% faster in doom 3 but 0.0234234235% slower in FEAR.

Most cards differ little from reference card. There’s differences in what RAM they choose, physical layout, cooling solution (are they nasty noisy fans, passive heatpipes, etc), and some features like internal temperature diodes (for the 6800gt for example, some read off temp and some do not.)

When I pick a card that’s what i want to know - i want to know how easy it will be for me to rip off the $0.50 fan and put in a heatpipe or a huge fan.

</rant off>

Motherboards are a different issue. Since i’m getting older and find it much less fun to mess around finding a problem (sounds like, gasp, work!) reliability is a much more valued commodity.

My personal rankings:

  1. General build quality. Have no idea how I can find out, try to find a reliable brand with a long warranty. you figure if the manufacturer honors long warranties they tend to be more reliable.

  2. Layout. I like to be able to hide wires, keep em out of airflow. Put in big, fat heatsinks. Also, remove stupid northbridge fan and put in real heatsink.

  3. Features: Do you want RAID 1/0, ECC ram, etc. How many dimm slots? etc etc. This tends to be marketed a lot and is how the manufacturers like to differentiate themselves.

  4. Layout of their website. Go check the web site and try to find drivers for 3 year old motherboards. If it’s in some obscure place with nasty uncertified drivers and a readme.txt in swahili, pass.

Motherboard reviews tend to be better imho. but that may be because there ARE substantial differences between motherboards. the marketing people work hard to try to find differences between video cards I guess.