A few months ago, HWBOT introduced a new rule which stated that unreleased technology would not be awarded any points. Very recently, we became aware that this new rule is confusing a lot of HWBOT members. Therefor, we want to set elaborate, explain and set some things straight in this newspost.
Let’s start by explicitly stating that the key argument for giving a product or technology the tag “unreleased” is NOT “retail availability”, but merely the answer to the question “is this under NDA?“.
When trying to improve the competition, a lot of rules and regulations can be set in place to award less points for having either the financial possibilities or the right contacts. Although it sounds as a fairly solid concept, retail availability can not serve as valid criterium for any HWBoints restriction for the simple reason that the availability highly depends on local markets.
Some products are not available in certain countries, but that does not mean those products should not be awarded any points. Two simple examples are the Intel Pentium 6500K, which was only available in China, and the Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6-C, which is not available in Europe, but is available in Russia. In the recent past, we have also seen that Zotac had released a special GTX260 OC card, but again only in China. Next to this, there’s also the problem with users who customise their hardware for higher performance. Someone who modifies the bios of their graphics card is using a bios that is not available in retail. Someone who modifies their graphics card by updating the existing PWM (example: Hipro5’s GTX260 or Tin’s 8800GTX) is using a product that is not available for retail either.
So, what criterium can be used to determine if the hardware is unreleased or not? What we look at is if there’s some kind of NDA on the product or on any of the technologies the product is using. If both questions are negative, then there’s no problem to receive points. Two examples:
The Rampage III Extreme is a new product from Asus which is using the X58 chipset of Intel. At the moment it’s not yet for retail, but neither Asus (board) or Intel (chipset) has set any NDA related to this product. Therefor, points are not a problem.
The Evga W555 2xLGA1366 is a new product from Evga which is using the X58 chipset of Intel. The product is not yet available for retail, but neither Intel (chipset) or Evga (board) is using any form of NDA for this product. Therefor, points are not a problem.