Yesterday a batch of reviews of AMD's Trinity desktop APUs hit the web and many readers wondered why none of these reports got into the details regarding the CPU's performance, and focused solely on the integrated graphics part.
The Tech Report offers a look behind the scenes and writes it's because AMD instructed hardware review sites do to a two-stage release of information. The official product launch is set for early October, sites were allowed to do "limited previews" of the embargoed information to gain extra traffic, but only if they agreed not to talk about non-gaming performance, overclocking, nor pricing. The area where AMD's Trinity really excels in is gaming performance, thanks to the good integrated graphics part, so it appears AMD's staged release is aimed at getting the good press out first, because reviewers aren't allowed to discuss some of the chip's negative parts in these limited previews.
Below is the statement The Tech Report received from AMD to further clarify the multi-stage information embargo for reviewers:
Allowing media outlets to post 'limited previews' prior to the product launch date (and news embargo lift) is not a new practice. AMD and our competitors have used previews for years (if not decades) to give our customers and fans an early 'sneak peek' at some of the new features and technologies in upcoming products.
For the second generation AMD A-Series desktop APU launch, we thought it would be reasonable and fair to let all reviewers run previews, in all regions around the world, rather than selecting a handful of outlets. As for the preview rules, we allowed press to run gaming benchmarks (any game, whether we win or lose), run power tests (including tests we both win and lose in), as well as run experiential tests (again, whether we win or lose), where the reviewer can discuss his impressions of the product based on the quality of the experience in any application they see fit.
The goal was to provide an opportunity to talk about the real-world experience with the product and also highlight the performance in key applications where we are targeting the product. Our latest APU is designed for gaming and entertainment enthusiasts, and we wanted to make sure that the design decisions we made to improve the experience for these users were clearly discussed by the global review press.
Many media feel this approach allows an unprecedented level of freedom to previewers; it includes more press, it includes more readers, it includes more countries and it includes more hard news. Of course, there is no requirement that press participate in this or any other preview; they are free to wait for the full embargo lift date.
Bright Side of News published a response to The Tech Report's editorial over here, the site offers some extra insight into the tech journalism industry and notes AMD is far from the only company that tries to control information. BSN recalls Intel invited the press to the Intel Developer Forum in 2006 to test Conroe, but reporters were only allowed to run preset benchmarks, and Intel also had full control over the setup of the AMD systems that were used as comparison at that event.
Intel not only did exercise absolute control over benchmarks, but also over the setup of AMD systems. All media had to do was come over, run the preset benchmarks and go and gloat just how great the "Conroe" is. Here's a quote from Tech-Report:
"We were among a select group of publications here at IDF to get a chance to do some hands-on testing with Intel's next-generation desktop processor, code-named Conroe. Although the results are obviously very preliminary, they give us something of a window into how Intel's new CPU may perform when it arrives. Read on for a first look at Conroe performance, compared directly to an overclocked dual-core Athlon 64 system."