AMD's launch policy: Disadvantages for reputable websites?
The launch of AMD's latest graphics card generation, the Ati Radeon HD 4890, brings up the question again if reputable websites are disadvantaged in general.
It has been all over town: Rumors said that AMD will introduce the Radeon HD 4890 on April 2nd. Why rumors? Shouldn't websites like pcgameshardware.com or computerbase.de (a popular German IT site) know it exactly? Yes, of course we know exactly when the new card will be introduced. And we already got test samples, too. But since we have a NDA, a Non Disclosure Agreement, with AMD we are not allowed to publish any details that look like official material before the launch.
Now AMD was able to the same as they did when the Radeon HD 4850 was launched. Instead of one of the infamous "paper launches” they performed a "hard launch” again. This means the hardware is available. But unfortunately this happened to early. While reputable sites like computerbase.de or PC Games Hardware are still working on their tests, diverse international websites already published extensive reviews; some of them because they didn't respect the NDA and some others because they base their tests on graphics cards they bought - several traders already sell the Radeon HD 4890 in advance.
Thus reputable websites are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ignore the topic? That is not an option because then our readers would have to search the information all around the web. Ignore the NDA? Not an option either since we want to be a reliable partner for AMD, Intel and Nvidia and deliver firsthand information to our readers. So there is only a compromise? Summarizing the prerelease tests from the web and pretending that we don't know if the information is correct until the official release?
Or should we just ignore any NDA and try to get samples of every new product via the regular markets? But then the manufacturers will finally be disadvantaged. If things go that far, no company will be able to provide any information to the editorial staff of websites in advance. Things are published when they arrive via Chinese Whispers - everywhere.
So a demand on AMD, Intel, Nvidia and all the others: Have your NDAs been followed after you have imposed them on close and reliable partners for years. Otherwise the negative consequences, caused by the chaos that predominates the launch of new products these days, might have an even bigger effect in the short, middle and long term. Serious journalism looks different and this is what we would like to offer our reads constantly and even in the future.
The editorial staff of PC Games hardware and ComputerBase