Chris Angelini On Tom's Hardware In 2012

I just got back from CES 2012. And although I’ve attended a great many Consumer Electronics Shows, Computexes, and Comdexes (never a CeBIT), this year’s show was by far the most intense. It wasn’t that there were tons of really awesome products. In fact, on the PC side, I came away flatly underwhelmed. Nvidia wasn't ready to show off Kepler. AMD's Trinity was up and running, but no comment on availability. Intel 7-series chipsets were on boards, but with little new to discuss aside from integrated USB 3.0.Rather, the hustle was a direct result of nearly 50 scheduled meetings, meals, and parties. Additional editorial staff drove out at the last minute to cover an additional 20 or so get-togethers that I just couldn’t fit in.

In years past, we probably wouldn’t have been so busy. But our scope is expanding. You already know Tom’s Hardware as a place where enthusiasts and the tech-curious go to learn about the latest PC-oriented hardware, how it works, and whether it’s worth spending your hard-earned money on. That won’t change. We’re still enthusiasts passionate about getting maximum value out of our machines. As you probably noticed over the past six months, though, we’ve also added tablet coverage. In classic Tom’s Hardware style, we’re coming up with new ways of testing, including a unique display suite that allows us to quantify the performance of an LCD panel.

You’ll continue seeing tablets in 2012, along with smartphone coverage (our first review went live during CES: Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget). We plan to cover Ultrabooks, of course, particularly once Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture makes them a little more interesting than Windows-based MacBook Air clones. And we made some interesting contacts at CES that should help pave our way into the world of automotive infotainment, too.

Again, though, don’t fret over a departure from our bread and butter. Graphics, processing, motherboards, memory, cases, cooling, and build guides all remain core components of our editorial calendar. I’d even like to see us go into more depth in those segments. To that end, I’ll be expanding our editorial team with experts in several different fields over the next couple of months so that we’re able to satisfy your tech cravings with even more meaty content in the year to come.

Charts

One area of the site that continues seeing updates is our charts section. Truth be told, I think that the charts interface could use some help to simplify navigation and product-to-product comparisons. Even still, there’s a ton of data added on a regular basis, and we now cover graphics cards, hard drives, SSDs, CPUs, power supplies, external storage (memory cards, thumb drives, and hard drives), processor cooling, and NAS appliances. Our 2012 graphics benchmark suite and platform was recently finalized, so you’ll start seeing updates with the latest games, GPU compute applications, temps, and acoustic measurements shortly.

Contests

I also want to take a moment to address the contests we regularly run on Tom’s Hardware. More so last year than any before, we gave away an incredible amount of gear. Predominantly, though, only residents of the United States, excluding Rhode Island, were eligible to win.

Our international audience is massive, and we appreciate the patronage of everyone who reads Tom’s Hardware outside of the U.S. But the unfortunate reality for us is that contests are categorized as sweepstakes/lotteries, putting them under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.  Certain countries require entrants to solve a puzzle, creating a contest of skill. Other times, big customs duties make shipping prizes prohibitively expensive.

As such, contests on tomshardware.com necessarily remain limited to our American audience. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have Tom’s Hardware sites in France, England, Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, and Turkey. So, I see no reason why 2012 shouldn’t see our international sites extend more giveaway opportunities to their local audiences as well, which we’d be happy to link to here.

I should also note that Tom’s Hardware recently won Samsung’s 830 SSD contest, which involved explaining solid-state technology as simply as possible. Because that one was hosted by Samsung itself, 15 of our readers, locally and internationally, are going to be given 128 GB drives.

BestConfigs

The BestConfigs section, designed to give our readers an easy place to send friends and family for community-approved upgrade advice, is in dire need of an update. I’ll be working with Joe Pishgar, our community manager, over the next couple of weeks to get new threads in the forums so that you can pick your favorite components for each of our 10 different build categories. Stay tuned.

Get Involved

Over the last year, we took more cues than ever from our audience. We polled you on Facebook, collected your feedback in the comments section of news stories asking for your preferred benchmarks, and communicated with you over Twitter.

I realize that there are plenty of Tom’s Hardware regulars who have no interest in social media, and that’s fine. However, I want to make sure that the door remains open to anyone with constructive feedback on ways we can better satisfy you with our writing, testing, and content direction. You’re more than welcome to jump onto my Twitter page and join the handful of regulars with whom I discuss upcoming stories, collect feedback on certain tests, and share information from private meetings at the shows I attend.

Have A Great 2012!

We have a lot of exciting content planned for the next 12 months. Multiple Radeon HD 7970s are currently sitting on test beds behind me. Radeon HD 7950s are expected soon. Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture is nearly upon us. And Xeon E5s should be arriving in the next couple of months, too.

Really, though, some of the best stories and series are the ones we didn’t explicitly plan, but were presented by Tom’s Hardware readers with great ideas. Adam Overa’s line-up of Web Browser Grand Prixs, Paul Henningsen’s Balanced PC stories, and Dr. Alan Dang’s security coverage were all high points of the last year. As mentioned, I’m looking to introduce several more writers’ ideas to the site. If you think you have what it takes, check out the news post I just published.

Chris Angelini

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  • phishy714
    Speaking of the Samsung SSD contest.. who won?
  • cangelini
    Phishy714Speaking of the Samsung SSD contest.. who won?

    Believe Joe and Marcus are handling that--I'll ask!
  • RedJaron
    Happy to be here and love the stories you guys bring. Chris is even known to respond to tweets!
  • JonnyDough
    Uhh, isn't that the exact same picture you've used before?
  • cangelini
    jonnydoughUhh, isn't that the exact same picture you've used before?

    Yeah, did you want a new one? I look pretty similar, though ;-)
  • boletus
    While I appreciate that no one can ignore the rising importance of tablets, phones, etc. in the computing world, they remain a big yawn for me, personally. And, fact is, those types of devices have ample coverage at sites like Cnet, which cater to the general masses. Do I care which little gadget has finally been dumbed-down enough that lemurs can use alongside chimpanzees, or which 3.5" LCD screen is preferred by 4-year-olds? No; I want to know which mobo is going into my next build and which components will best compliment it.

    So while I don't want to discourage Tom's from expanding in those ways, I do hope that, as Chris says, PC hardware will remain the focus. Because, after all, that's why I come here. And thank you to the people at Tom's HW for being here.
  • dingo07
    Can I send my PC in to Tom's to have it Overclocked? - because I haven't the faintest clue, and you guys are the best!
  • Chris Angelini, check the TechReport's new micro-stuttering tests for GPUs. They are analyzing the time it takes for a single frame to be rendered. Perhaps you'll find it useful for your tests.
    http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516
  • crewton
    dingo07Can I send my PC in to Tom's to have it Overclocked? - because I haven't the faintest clue, and you guys are the best!


    I'd ask in the classifieds if anyone on the site lives near you and is willing to overclock your pc for $xx. If you live in Omaha, NE I'd do it for you :P
  • mrmaia
    Welcome to the world's best tech site, Chris. We readers are always wanting news!
  • davewolfgang
    Please keep up the great work!! And while you do delve into other Personal Electronic Devices - please keep those great DIY hardware reviews coming. I wish I had better writing skills (and my spelling stinks too - those red squiggly lines save me!), I'd apply for a position!
  • ta152h
    mrmaiaWelcome to the world's best tech site, Chris. We readers are always wanting news!


    Welcome? He's been around for a while.

    I've talked him with a little, and can say he's a really great guy. Even tempered, objective, well-mannered, and very open minded. I wish I had his disposition. The one thing I will mention is that he actually DOES listen to what people say, and considers different opinions. A lot of people say they want your opinion, but really only do if it agrees with what their opinion already is. With him, you really can influence him and make a difference. I'll say it again, he does listen. He's also enjoyable to chat with. So, by all means, take him up on his offer, you can make a difference.
  • nerrawg
    tgreaderChris Angelini, check the TechReport's new micro-stuttering tests for GPUs. They are analyzing the time it takes for a single frame to be rendered. Perhaps you'll find it useful for your tests.http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516


    Right on the money with that article tgreader, looks like measuring the 99 percentile frame time is much more informative than fps for SLI and CFX setups. I has no idea how deceptive those fps charts actually are in terms of microstutter.

    And of course great editorial Chris! Looking forward to 2012 on Toms Hardware!
  • cangelini
    ta152hWelcome? He's been around for a while. I've talked him with a little, and can say he's a really great guy. Even tempered, objective, well-mannered, and very open minded. I wish I had his disposition. The one thing I will mention is that he actually DOES listen to what people say, and considers different opinions. A lot of people say they want your opinion, but really only do if it agrees with what their opinion already is. With him, you really can influence him and make a difference. I'll say it again, he does listen. He's also enjoyable to chat with. So, by all means, take him up on his offer, you can make a difference.

    Thank you, sir!
  • Onus
    I'm almost tempted to get a Twitter account for the sole reason of keeping up with Chris and this site. I'm going to mull it over.
    I will say, if I didn't already have a good job, I'd be interested in that editorial position. I learned grammar and spelling the old fashioned way, and would like to believe most of it stuck pretty well. Not lately, but in past jobs I have been asked to do the writing for my workgroup...
    Anyway, of the various tech sites I visit, this is by far the most frequent.
  • Th_Redman
    "Certain countries require entrants to solve a puzzle, creating a contest of skill. Other times, big customs duties make shipping prizes prohibitively expensive.

    As such, contests on tomshardware.com necessarily remain limited to our American audience. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have Tom’s Hardware sites in France, England, Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, and Turkey."

    What about Canada, your supposedly "great neighbours to the North"? When are we going to be allowed into your contests? Even if there are Customs tariffs, extra shipping costs etc., you, Tomshardware have a great following here and why so many other countries have contests and access to them...and we, Canada, again...your supposedly great neighbors, are excluded is a joke. Get on the ball in 2012, Tom's...or you will lose readers eventually. We are a "forgiving bunch", but up to a point!
  • cangelini
    Th_Redman"Certain countries require entrants to solve a puzzle, creating a contest of skill. Other times, big customs duties make shipping prizes prohibitively expensive.As such, contests on tomshardware.com necessarily remain limited to our American audience. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have Tom’s Hardware sites in France, England, Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, and Turkey."What about Canada, your supposedly "great neighbours to the North"? When are we going to be allowed into your contests? Even if there are Customs tariffs, extra shipping costs etc., you, Tomshardware have a great following here and why so many other countries have contests and access to them...and we, Canada, again...your supposedly great neighbors, are excluded is a joke. Get on the ball in 2012, Tom's...or you will lose readers eventually. We are a "forgiving bunch", but up to a point!

    Physical proximity isn't the problem, unfortunately. Laws and regulations are. Believe me, it's a royal pain to ship back and forth between our SoCal offices and Don up in Winnipeg, but we'd certainly do it for contests if the lawyers would allow it!
  • Onus
    Th_, I'm sure Chris was oversimplifying the issue of international winners. They're dealing with government bureaucrats and similar parasites who impose their will on others by force, not with persuasive Reasoning; meeting their requirements would be a crap-shoot, and losing could be extremely expensive.
  • mkrijt
    tgreaderChris Angelini, check the TechReport's new micro-stuttering tests for GPUs. They are analyzing the time it takes for a single frame to be rendered. Perhaps you'll find it useful for your tests.http://techreport.com/articles.x/21516


    That was exactly what I was thinking :) This would be a (very) valuable addition to the tests.
  • Mac_McMan
    ta152hWelcome? He's been around for a while. I've talked him with a little, and can say he's a really great guy. Even tempered, objective, well-mannered, and very open minded. I wish I had his disposition. The one thing I will mention is that he actually DOES listen to what people say, and considers different opinions. A lot of people say they want your opinion, but really only do if it agrees with what their opinion already is. With him, you really can influence him and make a difference. I'll say it again, he does listen. He's also enjoyable to chat with. So, by all means, take him up on his offer, you can make a difference.
    Wow, no wonder Chris gets the love :p
  • IMO you are too late to catch up with Engadget, The Verge, Tech Crunch for tablet and smartphone reviews... Even the News section of Tomshardware is regularly late a few days.
    What is your plan to demark yourself from the above sites reviews and give to your reader additional infos?
  • Zeh
    Chris, I guess this would be a good time to ask you again, since there's clearly a lot more people showing interest: what about the article about microstuttering? I've talked with you about it by Twitter (@ joseorth) and even emailed you a few suggestions. You said you had discussed it with the guys in Germany or something.

    So, what's the status? I'm really excited about the possibility of an article about that (with the suggestions and considerations I've sent you). I believe that knowing well the issue (and what affects it) is a large step forward to solve it.

    Just to remind you what the suggestions were:
    - How long does it take to render frames with 3 gpus compared to 2
    - How does a multi-gpu setup behave if you overclock one of the cards (be it the master or the slave). Since stuttering seems to happen on every odd numbered frame, overclocking the 2nd board might help.
    - Any differences if you use one or two bridges for two cards?
    - What if we use different cards, like a 6850+6870 and the 6950+6970 (to cover the 2gb cards aswell); maybe a 560 with a 560 Ti if it's even possible.
    - Are there any differences if we put the 6850 instead of the 6870 as the master (the card where we plug the dvi cable), or with the other possible combinations?
    - Any differences between DVI/HDMI/minidisplay ports? I'm confident there isn't, but what the hell.
    - Any differences between 60hz and 120hz monitors or multiple displays?
    - Do SSDs help? Does more/different system memory help? Does more GPU memory help (like with 2x6950s with 1 and 2 gbs).
    - And of course, how does the new generation behaves compared to what we currently have on the market.
  • JohnMD1022
    I could do without the phone stuff.

    There's enough of that on what used to be the other good tech site.
  • Marcus52
    boletusWhile I appreciate that no one can ignore the rising importance of tablets, phones, etc. in the computing world, they remain a big yawn for me, personally. And, fact is, those types of devices have ample coverage at sites like Cnet, which cater to the general masses. Do I care which little gadget has finally been dumbed-down enough that lemurs can use alongside chimpanzees, or which 3.5" LCD screen is preferred by 4-year-olds? No; I want to know which mobo is going into my next build and which components will best compliment it.So while I don't want to discourage Tom's from expanding in those ways, I do hope that, as Chris says, PC hardware will remain the focus. Because, after all, that's why I come here. And thank you to the people at Tom's HW for being here.


    I have to agree with the sentiment here; I could care less about tablets and cell phones, really, except the technological progress that they represent and their influence on the computer world I'm interested in.

    However, agreeing with the sentiment doesn't mean I entirely agree. Leaving the technology to sites like Cnet (Really? Cnet?) means leaving that technology in the hands of less qualified, to put it mildly, people. For that reason, I'm glad Tomshardware and Anandtech do articles about tablets and phones. There is a need, and only these sites fill that need.

    The fact is, while some of us may have little interest in specific reviews about specific tablets or smart phones, they ARE important to today's computing world, and they DO have their influence. I do read smart phone and tablet reviews if I think there is something in them that relates to computing progress - and there often is these days. It's a pretty exciting time, technologically speaking, in the mobile compute world.

    One only has to look at Windows 8 to begin understand the influence these things are having on the machines that people that call themselves computer enthusiasts build and own. Following their technological progress tells us what is possible and where we are headed in the desktop computer world, at least in part. I've read Apple is going to release a notebook computer with a 2880x1800 screen on it - that kind of pixel density was seen on tablets and smart phones first. I, for one, hope it's the beginning of a new class of 20"-30" LCD monitors that really produce the kind of quality images I want to see.

    I certainly don't expect Tomshardware to focus only on things I am particularly interested in; I'm not the only person in the world, and it hardly hurts me for articles to be written I won't read. (And, I don't need to read about my specific piece of favorite hardware to get something out of an article. This site isn't "Consumer Reports", and I don't want it to be.) Tomshardware, so far, hasn't lost it's roots, and I see no sign of that happening.

    ;)