I struggled last week to find a review of the Intel Celeron E1400, a budget dual-core chip that has shown some very impressive overclocking potential, but so far there are no reviews of it. I spent many hours trying to find some, I perused forums and overclocking websites with zero luck, and then it finally hit me: my biggest bone of contention in this regard is the lack of budget hardware reviews, and decent ones at that!
The problem lies with the Internet being a worldwide thing – the barrage of online reviews comes not from SA, but rather from 1st-world countries where people aren’t really concerned with budget parts. After all, the limit that the tomshardware.com reviewers set for their rig was £650! That’s right, a whopping six-hundred and fifty pounds for a machine that would shame owners down here. Spending that kind of money just isn’t an option for us – our economical situation just isn’t the same as that of other countries.
What I’m trying to get at is this: the hardware magazines focus mainly on the best/mainstream hardware out there (sometimes that’s their only option because they get sent parts for review), but what’s stopping their techies from going out, spending the odd R700 and three months running an E1400 in the office, and telling us whether it’s viable for light gaming and office work in the long-term?
Why not go out and build a budget rig for R5000, and tell us how it runs with your benchmarks and games over time? Tell us whether overclocking makes a difference with the rig, and whether running Windows 7 over Vista/XP on the same machine brings any performance benefits to the table. Remember: this is the budget segment;
people in this category want to save as much money as possible and
are sceptical about upgrading without some form of concrete proof
that their investment will be worth their while.
Why not tell us how to get the most out of our HD4650, and why one should upgrade to an E7200 for the next year? Tell us why buying something like the Aerocool Aerocube makes life a lot easier, especially when lugging it to a LAN. Hell, tell us how long it took for that budget PSU to blow out! Come on, show the rest of the industry how it should be done, South African-style!
In short, tell us why YOU, the reviewer, would happily spend your hard-earned money on a product at a certain price point, and give us recommendations based on your extended time with the product. Writing reviews in such a short time doesn’t cut it nowadays, because hardware is becoming increasingly complex and varied, and with that come difficult choices for the less knowledgeable out there.
I’m basically addressing the hardware reviewers at large: please, reconsider your review strategy, and try implementing something in the long term to help inform more users about products in the budget segment based on long-term use. Honestly, what harm can it do?