HardOCP.com: Status Quo is No Mo

Lumpus

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Ack... unfortunately, I think you're going to be right on this one.
It might easily become a world where Gamer's Nexus and Hardware Unboxed become unprofitable.... while Linus grows and branches out with his own cooking lines of air fryers and a daytime talk show, and such :/
/starting to really hate this current timeline
 

Fleat

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This is probably not a popular take on here, but content is being created in a more interesting and digestible format which broadens the audience. I can recommend my 12 year old nephew to Watch a Linus video and he will stick with it because it is kind of silly and entertaining, but he will also likely learn something. If I tried to send him to a Gamer's Nexus long form article about a review, he would move onto something else very quickly.

Influencers have been a big part of the industry for quite a while so I don't think this is breaking news. Long form written reviews from certain well known websites have even had similar problems in the past with speculation about money and heavy influence playing a part.

We certainly might be losing some depth in review form content and you may need to read between the lines a bit more in regards to influencer content but getting the younger generations actually interested in computers and computer hardware has a net benefit that outweighs what you feel we are losing.
 

sc5mu93

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So KB is coming back as an Influencer?

dumb-and-dumber-lloyd.gif
 

Aurelius

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I hope MSRPs retain some meaning and won't go away, because I don't want to see PC gamers disenfranchised like that. At the same time, the current state makes me wonder why some people keep cheerleading for a total PC gaming monopoly that kills off consoles... I'm sorry, but I don't want to wonder whether I can afford to play future games because the GPU I want might cost $1,200 instead of $600. Not that consoles are immune to price inflation or scalping, but they're a bastion of stability in comparison.
 

Dan_D

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As usual, Kyle's absolutely on point here. The fact is its getting harder and harder for long form sites to survive. (I have first hand experience with this.) There are plenty of other industries that rely on Youtubers and social media influencers as it is. I'm not surprised by the hardware industry moving that direction. Most companies have this idea of lifestyle branding and products being evaluated on the basis of their actual merits on a model by model basis works against that goal. We've also seen precisely what Kyle is talking about with NVIDIA discouraging day one reviews for hardware with the 3080 12GB. The second I saw that, I knew that would become the norm at some point in the very near future.
 

Ur_Mom

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OIP (1).jpg


It really sucks, but you're right. Reviews are never going to be the same. From both stances. Removing the MSRP comparison (from current offerings to past ones, or each other) is a big one. I usually go for the best bang for my buck. I have no real brand loyalty. So, this is going to be a bit rough for me.

Review sites? Yea.... I hate influencers, because well... they try and influence. I don't want that. I want a down and dirty, give the me the facts and details, the pros and cons, and let me decide. I don't want it to be a sponsorship, I don't want it to be a "buy it because Douggie said so, SMASH THAT LIKE AND FOLLOW BUTTON!". I want it to be a real review. They really have become pretty rare lately (in comparison to a decade ago). YouTube (TechTubers) has some decent stuff, but even then it isn't as good as the written style, IMO. I don't want a car salesman. I don't want a cheerleader (well... maybe I do, but she has to work for the Cowboys). I want someone I can trust, that gives me the down and dirty, the good and the bad. Like what [H]ardOCP was back in the day (although, I 100% understand why that's wasn't sustainable anymore). There's still a few places out there, and some have some of the old review crew from [H], but it's far from what it was. And, it's only going to get worse.

This article was one of those things that makes you think. You're right, but I really hope some things move past that and we do get the MSRP back (and back on track to the non-inflated numbers), and the influencer craze dies out leaving the legitimate and better review system (both Youtube and written).
 

learners permit

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One of the reasons I became a patreon supporter of HUB even before the Nvidia debacle. I understand the no negative press aspect that companies want to maintain but I'll do my part as well to see that we have someone advocating consumer interests.
 

Unabomber

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I wish that what Kyle wrote were untrue, but alas, times are a changin', and in my opinion, not for the better.

All too many people don't want information, nor do they really care about what the facts may be. Instead, they'll simply fall for the hype, and desperately cling to it like a cult clings to its false gods.

In the end, their actual knowledge is so poor, that I often times wonder if I should send them a magnanimous offer for some oceanfront property in Arizona...
 

schoolslave

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Spot on with regards to MSRP. I'd only like to add that similar to magic-bucks valuations for companies in the stock market, physical products are now also moving to this imaginary value land.
Previous MSRP was (at least in theory) based on a BOM and expected profit margins. No MSRP means that the real manufacturing cost of the product is meaningless and profit is unbounded - a real shame for most consumers.

In the longterm I suspect these trends will lead to less or no ownership (games, gaming PCs, hardware, etc) and more rent-seeking (streaming, "game pass", cloud etc) for most gamers/"enthusiasts" (really - there are barely any more enthusiasts, just fucking consumers these days).

FrgMstr thank you for taking the time to post longform articles.
 
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Ididar

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All true.

On the MSRP item, people got a result in complaining about how selling price wasn't matching MSRP. It wasn't the result they wanted, but it was a result. The end effect is that there will likely be no MSRP. The manufacturer's don't want to take the heat for the retailer and why should they? People should have been going after the retailers but by focusing on the manufacturers they got an unintended result which effectively backfires on them. C'est la vie.

On the review issue, I also dislike the way things are going but I can understand why they are. I'll admit I was never an avid reader of the really long-form reviews that H wrote back in the day but I did read their conclusions on every one of them. I wasn't knowledgeable enough to parse all the data myself but knowing it was there gave me a comfort level with the conclusions. Someone who just presented their conclusions you'd never know how they arrived at that conclusion but H made it blatant to everyone what they did to arrive at their summary on a given piece of hardware.

That said, I'll throw another point into the mix is that there are simply way more consumer electronic devices available and the pure number are growing stupid fast. If you combine tablets, watches, smartphones, and the whole host of home automation products then you reach a truly baffling level of literature if you wanted to really "do your research" on it all. Faced with the constant flood of new devices a lot of people, myself included, tend to pair back how much we read on a given topic. I don't want to devote more and more of my time to reading reviews so to keep at least somewhat current on a variety of topics I've largely turned to YouTube. While I'm trying to avoid the influencers, I do subscribe to some home automation YouTube channels to keep somewhat informed on that market. Watching (or more likely listening to) a 5-7 minute YouTube video in the morning while I'm getting ready for work is a minimal impact on my time but gets me base level information. Reading a long-form article on every new home automation device would be a significant burden that I'm not prepared to dedicate the time to. Yeah, I'm contributing to the move away from long form reviews but it comes as a result of the time I want to dedicate to tech information, not because I dislike the long form review as a medium. I wish it could still exist alongside the YouTube videos as backup but I understand why its ROI just doesn't make sense anymore.

Every year we're getting more and more "stuff" in the market. Not just a higher quantity of existing gadgets but different types of gadgets with sometimes new and interesting functions and implications. Much of it mundane but a significant chunk of it with the potential to be really helpful, or at least highly entertaining. I think back to when I first joined H and the only electronics thing I cared about was a desktop computer. I joined because I was building my first PC to do some gaming. Now while I still use a computer to do gaming I probably spend more time fiddling with my Raspberry Pi run Home Assistant than I do my gaming machine. Then again, lately I've been spending more time with my drills, saws, routers, and other tools in the basement. Maybe I'm just old.
 

grim4593

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I watch many LTT videos since it is a good way to keep up on hardware and tech news across a broad spectrum of industries and frankly I find it entertaining. To try to keep up in another other format is just staggering as stated by Ididar.
However, when it comes to something I actually want to -buy- I much prefer an organized written article that I can zero on the items I am interested in verses a 20 minute video with a reasonable amount of fluff.
And when I do research something I want to buy I don't just check one review but I look at several websites to look for a consensus and then customer product reviews if available (with a grain of salt).

Unfortunately due to "supply chain issues", inflation, and tariffs (or _excuse of the day_) customers are just getting used to paying more for everything and are becoming desensitized. At first everyone was upset at the blown up MSRPs, now everyone just accepts and and jokes about it. Unfortunately the article is likely right.
 

Armenius

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This is probably not a popular take on here, but content is being created in a more interesting and digestible format which broadens the audience. I can recommend my 12 year old nephew to Watch a Linus video and he will stick with it because it is kind of silly and entertaining, but he will also likely learn something. If I tried to send him to a Gamer's Nexus long form article about a review, he would move onto something else very quickly.

Influencers have been a big part of the industry for quite a while so I don't think this is breaking news. Long form written reviews from certain well known websites have even had similar problems in the past with speculation about money and heavy influence playing a part.

We certainly might be losing some depth in review form content and you may need to read between the lines a bit more in regards to influencer content but getting the younger generations actually interested in computers and computer hardware has a net benefit that outweighs what you feel we are losing.
I was reading Next Generation at the age of 12, which was an industry magazine and would most likely be scoffed at by today's publishers with the amount of words and lack of advertising products. To give an idea of what the magazine was like, this was an issue I remember quite well. 300 pages of insights from industry employees and experts talking about where the industry was headed in the 32-bit era, including the good and bad. I also have the very first issue of the magazine in storage.

https://archive.org/details/NextGeneration24Dec1996/page/n29/mode/2up

I largely discarded advertorial publications like GamePro by the time I turned 14 in preference for publications like the above.

The way I would summarize Kyle's point on long form reviews disappearing is simply this:

1643654344212.png


I frankly weep for those in the current generation who are being programmed to accept advertising because it's flashy rather than being fostered by parents to seek out knowledge.
 

Burticus

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Pretty soon we will see hardware reviews hosted by the likes of Amouranth clones on Twitch / Youtube. Chicks in bikinis "reviewing" product from a pre-written script provided by the OEMs. With the occasional wardrobe malfunction to keep viewership up.
 
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The part about more people not caring about how things actually work struck a chord with me. The less people care about stuff actually works, the less of a market there is for critical, in-depth reviews. What they want is some fluff to get them excited enough about buying something so that they can be on the verge of an orgasm when their Amazon driver is less than 5 blocks away. A week later they're on reddit wondering why their RGB software is conflicting with something, or why everything is overheating inside their pretty tempered glass case after they turned on some kind of automatic overclocking bullshit.
 

sleepeeg3

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Yeah, you're likely right, Kyle. Social media advertising going to be the main focus. Have seen my niece/nephew spend hours watching others on social media and I admit I don't get it. They could have obtained more information faster from a review. Maybe it's due to the early exposure of them to video versus written reviews, that it's more comfortable for them to absorb? I'm not sure.

I am not as pessimistic that traditional reviews will completely go away. There will always be nerds who want the truth, want the hard data and want to influence their friends. You can't get that from watching an influencer. How many hours would you have to spend watching videos versus looking at benchmarks on a website? It still makes sense. Consolidation will continue to happen, but I just can't see the format completely going away. AMD/NVIDIA may not support negative reviewers, but the option to buy and resell video cards for reviews is always there. As you said, with the price of video cards increasing, IMO some people are going to want to spend some time researching where their money is going. There is a need for written reviews.

Also, fanboyism has always been a thing and that's not changing. Broken up many fights over stupid bickering as a mod on another forum.
Ack... unfortunately, I think you're going to be right on this one.
It might easily become a world where Gamer's Nexus and Hardware Unboxed become unprofitable.... while Linus grows and branches out with his own cooking lines of air fryers and a daytime talk show, and such :/
/starting to really hate this current timeline
Just heard about this guy a week ago. Feel like I am watching a commercial. I don't get it.
 
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kac77

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I first realized the problem with mobile phone reviewers. One minute they had a wide variety of brands they reviewed. They next minute it was only one brand that they "reviewed" aka marketed non-stop. In the video card market I've seen the same. Really wild out there suggestions that don't make an ounce of sense and surely isn't the best interest of their viewers. We're in the land of influencers now and everyone is going to get shafted even worse.
 

Ididar

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The part about more people not caring about how things actually work struck a chord with me. The less people care about stuff actually works, the less of a market there is for critical, in-depth reviews. What they want is some fluff to get them excited enough about buying something so that they can be on the verge of an orgasm when their Amazon driver is less than 5 blocks away. A week later they're on reddit wondering why their RGB software is conflicting with something, or why everything is overheating inside their pretty tempered glass case after they turned on some kind of automatic overclocking bullshit.

Lots of people remark about how "young people" are so "up" on the new technology. My response is always the same .... "ask them how it works". The vast majority of the kids they're looking at with their "excellent skills" using technology don't have the first clue how any of it works. They know which buttons to press, very quickly, to get what they want. They don't have the first clue what any of it means. I said something about "RF energy" to someone today and I got the immediate question back "what's that?". It took me a second to blink a few times before I answered. Anyone can learn to press buttons quickly in a specific order as long as they're motivated to do so. Heck, you can train a mouse to operate a smartphone with appropriately timed food rewards. It doesn't mean the mouse knows how the bloody thing works. Lots of people can drive cars but a far smaller subset have a clue how any of it works.
 

Fleat

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I was reading Next Generation at the age of 12, which was an industry magazine and would most likely be scoffed at by today's publishers with the amount of words and lack of advertising products. To give an idea of what the magazine was like, this was an issue I remember quite well. 300 pages of insights from industry employees and experts talking about where the industry was headed in the 32-bit era, including the good and bad. I also have the very first issue of the magazine in storage.

https://archive.org/details/NextGeneration24Dec1996/page/n29/mode/2up

I largely discarded advertorial publications like GamePro by the time I turned 14 in preference for publications like the above.

The way I would summarize Kyle's point on long form reviews disappearing is simply this:
<Snip - don't ask questions, just consume product and then get excited for next products>

I frankly weep for those in the current generation who are being programmed to accept advertising because it's flashy rather than being fostered by parents to seek out knowledge.

Part of my point was that the advertising and influencing have always been present in hardware reviews and other content, it is just morphing. My daughter has never seen a TV commercial (like many kids) but I sure as hell saw a lot of them growing up. She has certainly consumed other content that would be considered advertising including influencer YouTube videos. We will both grow up with various sources that heavily influence purchasing decisions.

The broader part of my statement was that some of the newer styles of content have appeal and can help broaden the demographics that tech items appeal to. This is something that Ididar touched on in a previous comment as well with the sheer number of tech items out there, easily digestible information can be quite helpful. Growing the potential audience is a net positive, particularly in a time where PC part pricing and technology pricing in general is exceeding the actual capacity to spend on those items.

It is up to the parents to give their kids the critical thinking skills and intellectual curiosity to dig deeper if it is something that they are passionate about. For me personally, I did read many of the long form review style articles but it was never the source that I found the most valuable. I much preferred going to places where actual end users were passionate about it like icq or usenet back in the day, forums, and now subreddits. Hearing the views, usage, and trials and tribulations of hundreds of people always outweighed reading one individuals review that you are presuming isn't biased (but you don't really know). I certainly had long form reviewers that I trusted more based on historical precedent (like Kyle), but still without guarantee that undue influence wasn't at play with their content as well.
 

vegeta535

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Lots of people remark about how "young people" are so "up" on the new technology. My response is always the same .... "ask them how it works". The vast majority of the kids they're looking at with their "excellent skills" using technology don't have the first clue how any of it works. They know which buttons to press, very quickly, to get what they want. They don't have the first clue what any of it means. I said something about "RF energy" to someone today and I got the immediate question back "what's that?". It took me a second to blink a few times before I answered. Anyone can learn to press buttons quickly in a specific order as long as they're motivated to do so. Heck, you can train a mouse to operate a smartphone with appropriately timed food rewards. It doesn't mean the mouse knows how the bloody thing works. Lots of people can drive cars but a far smaller subset have a clue how any of it works.
4 year olds can learn how to use a iPad.
 

Ripskin

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The call outs are not un-true, markets pivot and the way content is consumed adjusts. Prior to online we had to wait for print magazines and such. Then we could get it faster, better and more tailored online. Then we could get video's of things and now by launch day we can have a full video review showing details and such (albeit likely biased). Those too will eventually shift to another method.

I think a nice mix can be had where the video is shorter and to the point (not necessarily Instagram length) but it points to various aspects of offline content that the user can look at it they want to in their time. Such as all the charts and such while the video just show's the overall average. Detailed quality comparisons, speak about in the video, show some highlight but steer users to the images. Track the page hits and tweak as needed.

Not in on this at all but we can already see the shift in how the youtube reviewers are changing to keep up in clicks, view times and such. I don't think the platform is in trouble yet but it too will go away at some point.
 
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staknhalo

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Lots of people remark about how "young people" are so "up" on the new technology. My response is always the same .... "ask them how it works". The vast majority of the kids they're looking at with their "excellent skills" using technology don't have the first clue how any of it works. They know which buttons to press, very quickly, to get what they want. They don't have the first clue what any of it means. I said something about "RF energy" to someone today and I got the immediate question back "what's that?". It took me a second to blink a few times before I answered. Anyone can learn to press buttons quickly in a specific order as long as they're motivated to do so. Heck, you can train a mouse to operate a smartphone with appropriately timed food rewards. It doesn't mean the mouse knows how the bloody thing works. Lots of people can drive cars but a far smaller subset have a clue how any of it works.

see here

https://hardforum.com/threads/whats-a-computer.2013980/
 

Viper16

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Not gonna lie...I am a complete nerd, but I am a broad spectrum of nerdiness. Gamers Nexus is great for extremely in depth detail, which I do use to narrow down my choices, if I am in the market. If I am not in the market, I typically will fly through the youtube video, or just skip it all together. I do love to have the ability to go light or heavy into subject matter, so I do thoroughly appreciated both ends of the spectrum for coverage.
 

TheGardenTool

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I'm thinking Kyle will need to bring [H] micro-reviews/editorials to TikTok if he wants to stay ahead of the Youtubers.

Several years ago when he was looking for contract reviewers for several areas I was talking about things with him briefly. I was awaiting a decision about grad school acceptance and if I got in there wasn’t going to be time to do reviews. I know even then I was putting out my opinion to begin to augment the written reviews with more YouTube. Seems from this post he knew it then too even though he was largely resistance to it even being brought up.

I’d make a TikTok account finally if Kyle does hardware reviews for it though.
 

sleepeeg3

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I think a nice mix can be had where the video is shorter and to the point (not necessarily Instagram length) but it points to various aspects of offline content that the user can look at it they want to in their time. Such as all the charts and such while the video just show's the overall average. Detailed quality comparisons, speak about in the video, show some highlight but steer users to the images. Track the page hits and tweak as needed.
Right idea.
What video reviews need are a table of contents. YouTube's default format is a giant video blob, which requires you to skip around or watch all of it to find what you are looking for. Hyperlinks can be added to the description, but that's a half-assed solution.
A solid video review platform would follow the same format as many reviews do - clickable table of contents. You click on the section you are interested in (Overview, Power Usage, Cooling, Benchmarking, Conclusion, etc) and it takes you right to it.
I have seen training videos do this, but not reviews.
The format needs to evolve.
 

SeymourGore

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Right idea. What video reviews need are a table of contents. YouTube's default format is a giant video blob, which requires you to skip around or watch all of it to find what you are looking for. Hyperlinks can be added to the description, but that's a half-assed solution.
A solid video review platform would follow the same format as many reviews do - clickable table of contents. You click on the section you are interested in (Overview, Power Usage, Cooling, Benchmarking, Conclusion, etc) and it takes you right to it.
I have seen training videos do this, but not reviews.
The format needs to evolve.

GamersNexus and HUB usually include a detailed 'Index' in their video description. I do agree that there should be a sleeker way built into the Youtube interface.
 

ElementDave

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It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of developing the ability to critically evaluate information. Bullshit has always been the globally dominant language, and children should be taught to recognize it as early as possible.

Small communities such as this forum are more important than ever. They're a refuge from mainstream social media.
 

chameleoneel

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Right idea.
What video reviews need are a table of contents. YouTube's default format is a giant video blob, which requires you to skip around or watch all of it to find what you are looking for. Hyperlinks can be added to the description, but that's a half-assed solution.
A solid video review platform would follow the same format as many reviews do - clickable table of contents. You click on the section you are interested in (Overview, Power Usage, Cooling, Benchmarking, Conclusion, etc) and it takes you right to it.
I have seen training videos do this, but not reviews.
The format needs to evolve.
Youtube has had a feature for labeled video chapters for a couple of years. And several channels use them. At this point, those who do not, choose not to.
 

OutOfPhase

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Many thoughts.
1) He's right, isn't he. Crap.
2) Glad he's willing to spend time to share experience-informed thoughts with us.
3) Wait, the format was actual text. On a website. Without 12 Next Page buttons. Oh lawdy we loves it.
 

Endgame

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Many thoughts.
1) He's right, isn't he. Crap.
2) Glad he's willing to spend time to share experience-informed thoughts with us.
3) Wait, the format was actual text. On a website. Without 12 Next Page buttons. Oh lawdy we loves it.
I looked at the page twice - once on my desktop and once again on my phone disconnected from my wifi. Why? Because I was looking for an ad to load and figured my pi-hole had trashed the ad(s) - this is the exact kind of information I'm looking for and I figured the least I could do was make sure Kyle got some ad revenue. And... there were no ads? Like, damn, I feel kind of obligated to pay for this since it's treating the community right.
 

sfsuphysics

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Kind of a small part of the story but I dont blame nvidia and AMD for msrp shenans I blame the AiB partners who jack the prices up for "premimum" marketing bullshit and a minimal amount hardware/clocking that in no way is reflective of the price. Just as an example take the newest the 3050 and its 249 msrp(?) a company like Asus makes one for that price but they also have their premibull model the "RoG" version that is listed at 489, no way there is anywhere close to value there to justify that, that's all in Asus not Nvidia
 

OutOfPhase

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Kind of a small part of the story but I dont blame nvidia and AMD for msrp shenans I blame the AiB partners who jack the prices up for "premimum" marketing bullshit and a minimal amount hardware/clocking that in no way is reflective of the price. Just as an example take the newest the 3050 and its 249 msrp(?) a company like Asus makes one for that price but they also have their premibull model the "RoG" version that is listed at 489, no way there is anywhere close to value there to justify that, that's all in Asus not Nvidia
We can punish them right back by not buying things which we call overpriced. If they sit on a pile of inventory, that price will change and/or the entire line will get discod.
 

M76

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I'm from Europe, MSRP has never meant anything to me. We were always at the mercy of importers and retailers. That doesn't mean hardware reviews were of no interest to us. Especially since there are tons of other hardware than video cards. Yes the video card market is shambles now, but you can't extrapolate that trend to other hardware. I'm looking for reviews about every product I intend to buy. It is unfortunate that in some cases that means video reviews. But it is not my choice to consume those. It is the only thing available.

You are right I don't know what kind of chip is in my mirrorless camera, but I still went out to find reviews comparing it to other competing products before making my buying decision. I might be the odd one, but as long as I draw breath written reviews will have relevance to me, and no influencer shall tell me what to consume. They might make me aware of certain brands and products, but if I can't find a review of that product I won't be buying it, unless it is something trivial priced bellow $100.

GPU manufacturers might think they can get away with anything now, but it's not a question of if the mining bubble and chip shortage will end, it's a question of when and how will it end.
 

sfsuphysics

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We can punish them right back by not buying things which we call overpriced. If they sit on a pile of inventory, that price will change and/or the entire line will get discod.
Sure, dont buy., that's not a problem. The problem is so many who do buy that my silent protest goes unheard.
 

StormNobleheart

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I feel like the computer hardware hobby continues to leave me further behind. I am looking for the facts when I decide to purchase computer hardware. I want to make the best decision for myself. Not because some influencer says I "NEED" this XY or Z. I do not have a problem with FACTS presented in an entertaining manner. I just want the facts presented, not mostly or all hype. I guess I am among a very small minority of consumers these days.
 

trick0502

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The part about influencers is already happening. When nvidia launched their 3000 series cards I remember seeing several twitch streamers installing 3000 series gpu in their systems live on stream. Talking about how great the card is without giving any data to back it up. At the same time I remember small YouTubers not being able to get the cards to review. But Shroud uses a rtx 3090 and says it’s great so I should get it…
 
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