HWBOT General Rules and Guidelines

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HWBOT General Rules and Guidelines

- Español : http://hwbot.org/article/news/reglas_hwbot

Here at HWBOT we try our best to deliver a fair and enjoyable playing field for all those who participate in the rankings and competition. To be able to provide this kind of service we have tried to design some submission and general rules to help remove any doubts about whether something is allowed or not. Based on continued experience these rules will be updated, expanded and completed as time goes by. Please check back for any updates.

1. General Submission Guidelines

2. Benchmark verification
2.1. General verification rules
2.2. Specific verification rules

3. Tweaks and cheats
3.1. Drivers
3.2. Mipmap
3.3. Software ramdisk
3.4. Unlocked CPUs and Modded Video Cards

4. Lending hardware, hardware sharing
5. Ethics


1. General Submission Guidelines

You can submit to the HWBot using two methods, either use the website’s submit score functionality, or you post your score between [hwbot] tags at your favorite forum. From our experience we have noticed that the HWbot matches hardware specifications about 80-90% of the entries posted in forums, this is quite good, but not perfect, sometimes it does require manual intervention from the team moderator. This is one reason why we prefer direct submission to the HWbot using the submit score page. The other reason why using the HWbot directly to submit a score is the attached verification; the HWbot submit page helps you along to let you know what qualifies for validation (CPU-Z online link, information required in the screenshot, applications specific rules, etc) and also allows you to directly attach a screenshot to your score. If you post it in a forum you have to rely on their hosting capabilities, some users have had a bad experience where all their validation images went missing and thus all their scores at HWBot became subject for blocking.

Update 27th July 2009: Although this is pretty straightforward, we want to explicitly mention that you can only submit scores that YOU obtained. It is disallowed to have your hardware benched by someone else and submit the score to your account.

2. Benchmark verification

As you probably understand, claiming a certain benchmark score is nothing without having the proper verification to back your claim up. At HWBot, the verification plays a bigger role than on, for instance, your overclocking forum. Why? First of all, our competition contains more than 15.000 overclockers from all over the world, which means that most likely you will not know most of the people who you are competing against. The biggest problem of the unknown is … the fear of the unknown, or better put: because you don’t know the person behind the nickname, there’s no trust between you and that person. This implicates that chaotic entries with messy validation will probably be considered illegal rather than legal, although the opposite is true in most cases.

Therefor, we have set a certain amount of rules of verification. Please understand that these rules have been evaluated and discussed more than once. Furthermore, they are meant to serve YOU, not the HWBot moderators; in other words: the rules are there to make the game more enjoyable for you. Not sticking to the rules may result in a score being blocked or, in worst case scenario, you account being suspended.

2.1. General verification rules

Underneath you will find the links to all the different benchmarks, which contain the specific rules for each benchmark. Read them through and you’ll find them to be very easy to remember. In fact, most of you will only have to pay attention to one or two rules, because the other rules are so obvious. In general:

- For Futuremark benchmarks (3DMark/PCMark): top 20 global (HOF) requires a valid FM ORB verification link
- For CPU-Z: only valid verification links

Update 13th November 2009: Wprime application: as of today, submitting a result using the online submission tool has been disabled due to support issues. Screenshots are from now on mandatory to complete a Wprime submission.

Screenshots are, next to the links, another method of providing the required verification. Please make sure your screenshot is as clear as possible! In general, this is required:

- CPU-Z cpu information tab
- CPU-Z memory information tab
- GPU-Z videocard information tab (3DMark/PCMark/Aquamark)
- For SuperPi/Pifast: entire calculation has to be visible
- For 3DMark/PCMark: benchmark settings have to be visible as well as the subtest scores

Update 12th May 2009: HWBOT moderators may apply a not suspicious exception when moderating scores which do not earn global points.

When a submission has minor mistakes or incomplete verification, it does not mean by definition it has to be blocked by a moderator. If these submissions are not suspicious in any way, and do not receive global points, the moderator has the right to approve them.This rule is to prevent users reporting each and every submission which have minor mistakes, in order to get a better rank for their own submission. Reporting submissions which are not suspicious but have minor mistakes is against the fair play spirit, and abuse of the reporting functionality will be acted upon.

Update 27th April 2009: ONLY official CPU-Z version for screenshot verification.
Update 27th July 2009: Photographs are not allowed as verification, so only screenshots.
Update 1st November 2010: It’s now mandatory to accompany every score submission with a verification screenshot. This screenshot must suffice to the specific verification requirements of each benchmark. One exception: for CPU-Z validations, a screenshot is not necessary

2.2. Specific verification rules

For more specific information and sample screenshots, please visit the benchmark info pages on HWbot:

- 3DMark01
- 3DMark03
- 3DMark05
- 3DMark06
- 3DMark Vantage – Performance
- Aquamark3
- CPU-Z
- PCMark04
- PCMark05
- PCMark Vantage
- Hexus Pifast
- SiSoft Sandra
- SuperPi
- Wprime

3. Tweaks and cheats

A big part of the benchmarking process is setting up your operating system to be as fast as possible in the benchmark you want to run. Stripping down to the bare minimum, messing with the registry settings or changing the video card drivers from ‘quality’ to ‘performance’, these are all more than legit tweaks. A tweak is what can be considered as a manual change in system settings to increase the performance, which in the end affects your benchmark result positively. Not all tweaks are to be used in 24/7 setups as they might decrease performance for your daily applications or even limit you in what you can do.

However, where there’s competition, there are cheaters! HWBot will not allow people to cheat their way to higher scores leaving less honor and/or points for those who play fair. Therefor, we try to be as clear and strict as possible when it comes to cheaters: we block the score instantly. Depending on the cheat used and the motivation behind the cheat, we can also ban the member.

What do we consider as severe cheating (instant ban):
- Submitting scores that belong to other people
- Using software, performing hardware modifications or by human interaction altering the perceived speed of the benchmark program, tricking it to believe it ran faster and thus producing a better result. (adjusted 31st of August 2010)
- Using a program to edit screenshots to have more points

What do we consider as illegal tweaks (instant block):
- PhysX enabled drivers
- Mipmap (either through software or registry)
- Using a program to launch your benchmark, unless officially approved by HWBOT; benchmarks must always be launched using the shortcuts found in the installation directory.
- Software based ramdrives

Update 17th March 2010: Any software or human interaction causing the benchmark application to fail to (properly) render the textures or making the rendered image to differ too much from the original due to other software tweaking

Update 20th July 2010: Any software or human interaction causing the benchmark to use different calculation algorithms as intended by the original software creator. E.g. replacing the codec or browser in PCMark2005.

3.1. Drivers

Unlike Futuremark, hwbot chooses to allow people to use whatever driver they feel is best for their videocard, be it an official version of the videocard driver. Pre-modified performance drivers, such as Starstorms, are not allowed for the simple reason that the HWbot crew is unable to be certain that there are no cheats implemented in those drivers.

There is one exception: the Omega Ati drivers. These are allowed because they give the user the opportunity to unlock for instance pipelines on their video card.

Update 17th March 2010:

Official drivers causing a benchmark not to render correctly are not accepted at HWBOT. Incorrect rendering is defined as clear visual indications that parts of the benchmark are either not visible or in someway improperly rendered. The main effect of this incorrect rendering is an out of line performance increase due to this rendering flaw

Do note that this rule will not be actively applied to hardware and drivers released prior the year 2010. Also, the HWBOT staff will not be actively testing out different combinations of drivers, hardware and operating systems to ensure propper rendering. We hope that the overclocking community will be able to help us with this list and find problematic drivers.

Current list:
# Intel GMA HD 1995 drivers in combination with Vista 32-bit (40% performance difference) **under investigation**

3.2. Mipmap

This cheat is a very simple one to explain: a certain Nvidia video card tweaking utility (for obvious reasons not mentioned by name) allow people to enable a very high level of detail value, making the benchmark run either without details or even without image of any kind. The 3D benchmark becomes unrecognizable and in addition, the FPS rate is not visible anymore. Since in certain benchmarks, the 3D image contains only two or three colors, Futuremark and HWbot decided not to support this feature as a legit tweaking method. Note that the usual LOD tweaking, which requires a lot of time to find the sweet spot, is allowed.

3.3. Software ramdisk

In most benchmarks, a ramdisk makes no difference at all or at least hardly any. In one type of benchmark, however, it means the world: the harddisk benchmarks, found in for instance the PCMark benchmark series. Since Futuremark designed the harddisk drive tests to be run from an actual harddisk drive, we only allow hardware harddisk drives to be used in this benchmark. What do we consider as a hardware-based harddisk drive:

-The harddisk drive can be touched physically; if you drive is 32GB, you must be able to physically remove the 32GB from your system
-It is possible to install an operating system on the harddisk without the need of another harddisk drive or software. In other words, one must be able to plug the unformatted harddisk in a new setup and, without external help, install a fully working operating system.
-The harddrive is not dependent from any form of software to be used; in other words: when removing the supporting software, the drive must still be working correctly. This excludes the official driver software for RAID configuration.
-The harddisk drive does not actively address the RAM (mounted onto your motherboard); the harddrive must be able to run regardless of any amount of RAM available.

Are accepted for physical storage medium tested in storage medium benchmarks and/or subtests of a benchmark:
-Normal platter harddisk drivers
-Iram / Acard ram drives (DIMM as storage medium, not system memory)
-Solid-state disk (SSD), using flash memory as storage medium

Are not accepted as alternative for physical storage medium for storage medium benchmarks and/or subtests of a benchmark:
-Software ramdisks
-MFT software

3.4. Unlocked CPUs and Modded Video Cards

Again this is a subject where we have to trust on the honesty of the submitter; if you have a CPU with unlocked multiplier, please only submit results under the hardware category of its original model. Don’t emulate other models to gain HWboints, if you are caught you will get penalized or even banned. The same goes for video cards which are modified either with a flashed BIOS or modded software, post your scores in the category of the original hardware.

Update 27th July 2009: It is allowed to unlock extra cores and cache if your processor allows that. Again, you do have to submit your result to the category of the original hardware.

4. Lending hardware, hardware sharing, score sharing/selling/buying

This in a delicate subject as we have to trust on the honesty of those participating at the HWbot that they are indeed using their own hardware and not sharing a golden sample CPU or VGA card.
Let’s start with what is allowed to be shared: everything except:

- VGA may not be shared for 3D Benchmarks
- CPU may not be shared for 2D Benchmarks
- special cases, like what to do with joint bench sessions and manufacturer hardware is explained here.

3952208.jpg

While the rules are quite simple and straightforward, enforcing them isn’t. If you are having a joint benchmark session, provide as much proof and information as possible when you submit a new HWBot score, which shows you were using your own hardware for the benchmark in question, a photo with a paper showing your nickname and the product serial number is good way to do this.

Update 19th July 2010: Since HWBOT does not tolerate the sale of benchmark scores, the act of both selling or buying benchmark scores and uploading them to this database is not allowed. In addition, we strongly believe that no overclocker who is involved in this kind of business should be allowed to be part of the community. Therefore HWBOT will remove any overclocker who buys and/or sells benchmark scores from the rankings and will give this user a lifetime ban.

5. Ethics

HWBot is not perfect, neither are the result moderators, nor is any overclocker or benchmarker. Please accept that people can make mistakes and understand that human errors are solved easiest by friendly human interaction. If a certain score seems fishy, you can use the report function to inform the owner of the result and the result moderators. In most cases, there’s only a very minor mistake and the solution to the problem will only take one or two minutes. In some cases, however, there’s more to tell and discuss: that’s what the hwbot forums are for. In the forums you’ll find a vast number of very active crew members trying to respond as quickly as possible (often within half a day) and/or other members who are willing to discuss the issue. As this is a public forum, we would like everyone to behave in a respectful way; flaming, forum wars, personal issues … all those can be discussed via mail or PM, but not in our forums.

If a score is reported or blocked and you don’t understand why, please contact one of the result moderators or crew members for an answer. It’s very important to do this in a polite manner, not only because that’s the way human interaction goes most fluently, but also because scientific research has shown evidence that you’re more likely to be helped quickly if you are polite to the person who you’re asking a favor from. It’s in fact pretty simple to understand: if we receive a friendly email, we will be in a friendly mood even before we read the email. Note that we are always open for discussion regarding every aspect of HWBot: a lot of new ideas and features come forward from a thread on the forums.

At HWBot, we are all for sharing information such as tweaks, voltage modifications and many more. However, we do understand that certain tweaks are rather kept silent because it gives a small advantage over the competition, which can come in handy when competing for that special golden cup. If questions are raised about a certain score or a series of scores, we strongly suggest trying to clear the air as fast as possible; not because of HWBot or any other member, but to prevent you from getting a bad name in the community (even if you don’t deserve it!). From past experience, we know that when serious questions are raised regarding the legitimacy of a score or overclocker, it’s always best to choose the honorable path by for instance explaining a few tricks or even removing the questioned score from HWBot.

If you are uncertain about the validity of a tweak/cheat, you can always contact one of the crew members. The tweak/cheat will be tested and discussed and you will receive an answer categorized as legit/not legit. If you don’t want the tweak to be leaked, no problem: we guarantee that the tweak will only be shared with those who took part in the evaluation.


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