I try to be careful when I organise my video card samples, it’s hopeless getting in a bunch of cards that carry with it the same clocks and all that changes is the cooler. For the most part why should I waste my time benching a card that is going to give the same results, waste your time with results that are going to be similar and TweakTowns money with a review that’s not going to bring traffic.
Now there are some exceptions to this rule, if that model is part of a higher profile series like IceQ and iCooler from HIS or Vapor-X from Sapphire; due to the nature of these cards they get happily tested across all games even though they may carry with it the same or similar results in FPS related tests. People will Google these particular variations of models though and they shouldn’t have to look at a standalone review on a reference card just to know the performance.
On the other hand if Sapphire and HIS send two cards in at launch, slightly different coolers but both don’t slot into one of the aforementioned categories the excitement level isn’t high for card number two. So we do two reviews with these cards, the first is a standard single card review with card one. Who is card one? Well it’s generally the person who arrives first, in the case they both arrive at the same time it’s the person that told me they were sending it first.
For card number two though since it’s reference clocks and follows the reference PCB design to mix it up a bit I’ll make that second article a CrossFire or SLI one. This does a few things, one it makes the review different from the first, second we still get cooling numbers and noise levels off the card and finally it’s something a bit more interesting for you to read.
Recently though I had a company complain to me that the review looked like it was a CrossFire one and not on their card, to be honest I must’ve missed the part where I wrote about their package, card, cooler, included their names in all the graphs, wrote about the temperature and heat difference and wrapped it all up in a conclusion which covered both the technology and the card.
This company will now have a few options, the first is, unless they can be the first company to send a card before NDA they won’t get a standalone review, secondly they can just not send a card that has reference clocks if they’re not interested in being tested in a different fashion, instead they can just wait till OC models come out. Thirdly they can step back a second and realize I know what I’m doing after seven years when making sure that I give each company as much exposure as possible.
If the company doesn’t want to be included in a CF article many other companies will, after I have two reference cards I ultimately stop trying to organise any more until OC ones are available. Sure they can send an OC model which will get a standalone review but that company now misses out on a review on TweakTown, instead of getting two they now only have one. Since I make sure I don’t organise crap that also means the company will more then likely miss out on an award, that’s fine for me someone else can pick it up instead.
I’ve been doing TweakTown for over 7 years and this writing gig for even longer. These companies need to know that how I represent their product in a review is the best way for them. CrossFire and SLI articles are a way to mix it up a bit, it means I learn more about the performance and you do as well. It means that if someone on a forum goes, I’m thinking about having CF or SLI *insert mid range model* that forum goers can link to the article and say this is what you can expect.
After reading this I hope the company realizes that I do what I feel is the best for them. If they don’t though there’s someone else who is always happy to take the spot and get the exposure. As for other readers of my blog, this just gives you a bit of an idea of what we deal with behind the scenes, it’s one thing whinging because they don’t like the score, but to get an award, a high score and then complain that they don’t like how it’s tested; come on!