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Q.A. Gone M.I.A.

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Nath 12th October 2005, 14:29 Quote
It's good that writers are taking these sorts of issues into account when deciding how and when to publish articles, and as said in the column it should hopefully lead to a better, and more informative, set of information.
Da Dego 12th October 2005, 15:11 Quote
As far as I'm concerned, I don't need a review long before the product ships. An advance warning, maybe...but I want my review to be accurate. After all, it's not like I can buy it before it hits retail anyways.

So, I'm in agreement. I'd rather it be right and prompt than rushed and early.
[sinz] 12th October 2005, 15:13 Quote
This sort of raises an interesting question. While you want to be right and want to give a review that accurately portrays the product in it's retail state, what does it say about companies who send out these unstable early samples? One would think that they want their product shown in the best possible light, and thus would not send faulty versions to the people who are likely to scrutinize them the most. If they're willing to send out something representative of their work that ends up being sub-par, I'm not sure I want to be purchasing anything from those companies anyway. It's quite a black mark on a company in my book if they don't sufficiently test their products before putting them on the chopping block for review. While I'm sure they do testing to some extent, the software tests you described aren't exactly that difficult to do, so I'm surprised that these manufacturers don't run similiar stress tests and find these faults before the samples get to you.

While I'm glad you don't want to publish reviews that are not representative of the end product, I still hope that you mention the issues you had with samples and whether or not, and how well, they have been resolved in the retail version. On the one hand, publishing a review of an unfinished product shows the manufacturer in a unjustly negative fashion. On the other, not discussing issues with samples and the lack of Q.A. may leave a better impression than is deserved.

I think this is actually a great way to go about things. Too often I've read a review which concludes with a statement saying that the product is a sample and the retail version may vary or issues may be resolved. It's almost as if there was no purpose in reading it at all.

Keep up the good work guys.
yodasarmpit 12th October 2005, 15:29 Quote
Like you say a review is worthless if doesn't represent the final product, so samples and early release board reviews, although hinting at the final release, won't offer an opinion worth basing a purchase decision on.
Good to see that you will only publish an accurate review of a final release piece of kit.
hitman012 12th October 2005, 15:40 Quote
Good for you guys - it's good to see that you're ever-striving to get reviews which are representative of what the users will experience :)
Glider 12th October 2005, 15:49 Quote
I like a good quality review over a early one all the times, but...

I do want an early preview of what manufacurers are striving for. That doesn't need to be a torture test or a benchmark, but more like: Board X sports these features: 999 Sata ports, 18 channel sound... :d
That doesn't have to be an in depth review, but more of a features litst. And if, later on, the final retail product is check out, then I don't mind reading 5-15 pages of testing...
Jordanis3r 12th October 2005, 15:54 Quote
retail perspectives please - it is nice to have a peek at up and coming hardware sometimes, but not to the exclusion of having a prompt retail review, as they are more important to me - ie something that I may actually be willing to part with my hard earned cash ...

with pre release parts - I think it is unfair to expect them to work first time and be super stable - tbh its all in the process of maturing products, by sending them out as beta or pre-rel products so they can get outside feedback to help improve the product in question...
Bindibadgi 12th October 2005, 16:05 Quote
If you want to see pre-release stuff usually technological preview will be supplied by us or other sites. If you want to see what a board is to offer the best thing todo is read a manufacturer site that lists its features. If you then want to know if it's any good or not then you look for a review :)
They should do internal quality checks not get free and unstandardised stability tests from other people imo.
RotoSequence 12th October 2005, 16:11 Quote
Its starting to feel like the companies are getting review sites to provide the initial hype behind a future product release, and designing them to just WORK so that they can look good before launch. When you get unstable hardware, I wouldnt post a full review, not in the slightest. However, a preview would be something I would be interested in. If a motherboard shows early potential, A preview that talks about some of what this board appears to be capable of would be good, and a few pictures of the board in its retail design.

The more you say about it in the preview, the more the company will know how to make it better, causing them, and us, to win out in the end. :)
Tim S 12th October 2005, 16:15 Quote
There's some good points made here so far. If we were to do more 'previews' with early products how do you feel they should be presented? In the hardware section or as a piece of news (i.e. a single page look at a board in a bit more depth than the recent pictorial of the DFI SLI-DR Expert)?

Or part way to a full review, just with early products?
RotoSequence 12th October 2005, 16:22 Quote
That is the million dollar question, isnt it? Theres no reason to provide the depth present in a full motherboard review; things can change quite quickly. However, a one or two page preview with a couple of significant photos, commentary on layout and general board design and benchmark potential with some tables and minimal analysis would be just fine. I like looking at pictures, so the best way to tell us about it is to show us the board and the results as they stand.

As for the stability problem, you can always leave a note that the board is not in its retail release form, has potential and will be coming out in the future, or if its crap on a stick, leave it at that and never bother with the board again :)
MrWillyWonka 12th October 2005, 16:23 Quote
Can I ask, when you recieve products from manufacturers for reviewing, would you be biased to them on occasions? Because I remember reading a review where you couldn't compare this product with others from other manufacturers on manufacturers orders.
Tim S 12th October 2005, 16:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrWillyWonka
Can I ask, when you recieve products from manufacturers for reviewing, would you be biased to them on occasions? Because I remember reading a review where you couldn't compare this product with others from other manufacturers on manufacturers orders.
That was CrossFire. There was no point in showing that a 7800 GT/GTX outpaced X850 CrossFire anyway, because everyone already knows that. We can write that in the text anyway.

And no, we attempt to give a well-informed and fair account of our experiences with said product. The problem with the review today was that I personally didn't think we'd given said company a good enough chance to make things right before it is anywhere near ready for retail, which is why you don't see the product review today.

In short, the board that we were going to share our thoughts about today (which we'll not name, because this happens a lot) was and is woeful in its current state. Writing a review on something that clearly needs to change before you will be able to buy it seems a rather pointless exercise to me & Rich.
stephen2002 12th October 2005, 16:38 Quote
If it is an unstable part then it isn't finished. I agree with the column, don't bother to review it unless it is ready to go.

I also agree with some of the posts here, I don't mind reading shorter pre-release news blurbs giving a listing of features and some quick preformance numbers, along with the note that this is a pre-production model and is totally unstable.
RotoSequence 12th October 2005, 16:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen2002
If it is an unstable part then it isn't finished. I agree with the column, don't bother to review it unless it is ready to go.

I also agree with some of the posts here, I don't mind reading shorter pre-release news blurbs giving a listing of features and some quick preformance numbers, along with the note that this is a pre-production model and is totally unstable.

Thats exactly what I think. You could always release a revised version of the review, that gives quick reference numbers and some good pictures, say its unstable and not in final production form, and leave it at that; that way, you get an initial preview, help out the company in understanding that its not worth giving a full preview of but they have somewhere to go, and give us something to get excited about :D
3.5SE 12th October 2005, 16:49 Quote
I recently had my new Seasonic S12-600 power supply fail after a week of use. From what I understand a number of others had similar experiences with new Seasonic PSU's. I'm hoping the one I get as a replacement is up to the usual Seasonic standards.
RotoSequence 12th October 2005, 16:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3.5SE
I recently had my new Seasonic S12-600 power supply fail after a week of use. From what I understand a number of others had similar experiences with new Seasonic PSU's. I'm hoping the one I get as a replacement is up to the usual Seasonic standards.

I think you posted in the wrong thread ;)
eddie_dane 12th October 2005, 16:52 Quote
"overclocked and unstable" should be used to describe the bit-tech staff not the products we review. :)
Da Dego 12th October 2005, 17:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie_dane
"overclocked and unstable" should be used to describe the bit-tech staff not the products we review. :)
So true, so true. :D
Asphix 12th October 2005, 17:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigz
There's some good points made here so far. If we were to do more 'previews' with early products how do you feel they should be presented? In the hardware section or as a piece of news (i.e. a single page look at a board in a bit more depth than the recent pictorial of the DFI SLI-DR Expert)?

Or part way to a full review, just with early products?

I think a news bit would suffice perfectly. It doesnt need to be in hardware as hardware is there to be an index of sorts. It would be quite nasty if you're looking to buy a board that was released half a year ago and do a search in hardware and have to sift through a buch of preview articles.

A preview is technically an informal look at an upcoming product. Fits perfectly in the news section if you ask me. Keep the hardware section for the formal reviews.

And yes, I agree with everyone. Id rather an accurate review than an early one.
Bindibadgi 12th October 2005, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RotoSequence
Thats exactly what I think. You could always release a revised version of the review, that gives quick reference numbers and some good pictures, say its unstable and not in final production form, and leave it at that; that way, you get an initial preview, help out the company in understanding that its not worth giving a full preview of but they have somewhere to go, and give us something to get excited about :D

Because we believe the board we have is a duff one and hopefully we'll also get a new BIOS (fingers crossed) that represents the final final final product more accurately, so performance numbers will change.
DarkReaper 12th October 2005, 20:10 Quote
It's not always necessary to blame the company - it could always be a case that Marketing sent out an unfinished product in a rush to get hype up about it. Just look at Dilbert
eek 12th October 2005, 20:34 Quote
TBH even if a product is not in its final form, it is still nice to know a little bit about what to expect so I'd like to see something between a news piece saying something is released and a fully fledged review. Just a page or 2 overview with some product details, piccies and basic benchmarks (nothing fancy or indepth)
cpemma 12th October 2005, 21:06 Quote
"A BIOS update should fix some of the problems..." Seen that a time or two, it would be nice to see an update after a BIOS revision (or two) to see if problems have been fixed, or if the reviewer was just being optimistic. Mind you, by that time there's plenty of real user feedback from the mugs punters who bought the early production kit.

In a review summary I want to know if a product's any good. Where it sits in relation to the competition. But that only gets it on the shortlist, I'm still going to wait to see user-opinion, so time is not of the essence, an accurate assessment of the product going into the shops is.

Tell it warts and all, if the manufacturer claims he will be fixing the problems seen before public release, hold the front page until he's given it his best shot.
Tim S 12th October 2005, 21:14 Quote
cpemma, that'd be wonderful, but quite often manufacturers take the products back before it is possible to do an update. :)
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