When it came to naming this piece I was fighting with myself; I didn’t want to use the word breaking for the simple reason that the reviews I’ve done over the years that have been released before an NDA lifted we hadn’t signed an NDA.
Over the years we’ve released quite a few reviews before the NDA date for the simple reason we didn’t sign an actual NDA. We have a great relationship with companies like Gigabyte, Sapphire, Galaxy to name just a few but you have to be in contact with NVIDIA, Intel, AMD and what was then ATI.
The best way to get in contact with the big boys is for them to notice you, a company like Intel was never an issue. If a new product was coming we had a CPU and if need be a motherboard to go with it, VGA cards on the other hand where a bit hit and miss, 90% of the time we got the sample before NDA but other times we didn’t because NVIDIA or ATI hadn’t said to particular companies make sure TweakTown get a sample.
It was time to play ball; the 9000 series from NVIDIA was what started a small but strong line of early released graphics cards.
It all started with the review of the Galaxy 9600 GT. We released the review on the 15th of February 2008; the date the NDA lifted was the 21st. Hey we didn’t break any NDA, we didn’t have an NDA and it was time to get noticed.
This review was linked everywhere; and when I say everywhere I mean everywhere. We pissed a lot of people off with this review, the most obvious was Galaxy in which this was the last item we received from them for a long time; actually I remember a legal letter getting sent to the boss from them. Of course they didn’t have a leg to stand on since we hadn’t even talked about an NDA with the company and of course NVIDIA wasn’t in contact with us so we didn’t have a wide spread NDA that covered the model be it from any brand.
That review really ruffled some feathers though; so what happened? We got black listed! What’s that mean. Well it means that NVIDIA tell companies to not send any NVIDIA products to the site. It’s TweakTown though, and it only takes one company to say we’re not missing out on a review from TweakTown, in turn another company goes well it’s a bit unfair that there NV card gets reviewed and not ours so we’re also sending over a product.
So what happened? NV had us black listed wouldn’t talk to us and we end up with a 9800 GX2 before NDA date. So I did what I did best, busted out a review ASAP and got it online, this time the 9800 GX2 was published on TweakTown March 15th 2008, 3 days before the NDA was lifted. Boy did that drive people crazy, here you are with a site black listed by a chip manufacturer and they’re still releasing reviews of products before they’re even suppose too.
The problem was only 10 days later on the 25th of March 2008 before anything was able to really happen about that review we posted the 9800 GTX review which wasn’t suppose to get released until April 1st 2008.
While NVIDIA continued to be unhappy with us we formed a great relationship with ATI at this point. They saw what we were doing and knew that if you can’t beat them join them. Of course NDAs came through for their products, we got briefed on all the important information before hand and we’ve now been working with them for years. We deal with a number of ATI staff ranging from Australia to ASIA and the USA, we deal from PR people to product managers and we’re kept in the loop on everything important.
NVIDIA on the other hand is still a bit hit and miss, I’ve said that NVIDIA have a certain snobbishness that comes across when you talk to them and I don’t begrudge them for that, they’re one of the largest companies in this industry and if you can’t be proud of the company you work for then you truly can’t be happy. It’s probably the same reason people get a similar feel from me, I’m proud I work for TweakTown, I’ve worked at a few places before and I couldn’t care less about them; TweakTown is different though and if I come across as arrogant sometimes in regards to how I talk about the site it’s only because I’m proud I work there and some of the staff are not only great colleagues but my best friends.
NVIDIA don’t promise us anything; if I ask if we’ll get a GTX 470 and GTX 480 sample they won’t give me an answer, I’m sure we will as we deal with a lot of NV partners but everyone I speak to is worried about the cost of the product and the supply so again they don’t want to promise anything.
These days we talk to NVIDIA a little, we get information but they seem to want to update me on stupid ION technology something I don’t give a crap about instead of the GTX 400 series something I do give a crap about.
While there’s no real point to this whole post it just gives you an idea of another aspect of what I’ve done over the years and an understanding of why I did it. I hope you enjoyed it and learnt something else about the industry because to be honest reminiscing has bought a chuckle thinking about the ol’ days.