A hot topic on the benchmarking scene has developed in the form of a HWBOT forum poll created by BenchZowner to discuss whether or not to continue to allow Engineering Sample CPUs as boint scoring hardware. For those that may not know, an ES chip is one that is not released to the public, cannot be sold (legally), and can be coveted for its potential overclocking performance over retail chips. A lot of the sponsored overclockers use these chips and can potentially score more boints than an average joe that is using an unbinned retail chip, which is essentially the heart of the matter.
The implications for this could be far reaching. The argument presented by BenchZowner is that removing these chips from use would level the playing field between the amateurs and the pros. Some agree, some do not as you can see by the results of the poll (link in the first paragraph). The issue is not a new one, but the passion from both sides of the discussion remain obvious. HWBOT’s own Massman states on the issue:
“…It’s been said a million times, and not just by me, removing ES from HWBOT is just a very short highly ineffective solution. There’s no point in faking to provide a solution when it’s no solution at all.”
So the HWBOT management team is aware of a potential issue, no doubt. Another notable overclocker and member of Overclockers.com, Gautam, stated:
“I’m with most of your guys complaints but what you’re all missing is the fact that stating such a rule won’t solve the problem that you guys want solved. It’s not even a band-aid fix. You guys all want less manufacturer interference, and for it to be easier for the “average joe” to compete. Banning ESes won’t accomplish any of that. What good did that “no ES” rule do in the Gigabyte uguru contest? If you take the GTX480 as an example, the issue isn’t retail vs ES. Some people have access to special BIOSes that others don’t. What good will banning ES cards do there? None.”
The results for this poll seem to be a mixed bag and the debate has been at a constant boil here at overclockers.com and at HWBOT.org.
In response to BenchZowner’s topic, another well respected bencher from our community, MIAHALLEN started another forum poll in regards to making an amateur and professional class separation at “the bot”. In the first 24 hours of voting, the result is considerably in favor (~2 out of 3) of making this change and the management at HWBOT have already been in discussion about it as well.
So what does that mean to you and I, the average overclocker? Only time will tell, but I see this shaking down in two ways. The first, and not likely according to Massman, is that in the future, ES CPUs will not be accepted at HWBOT.org for boints. Many others have mentioned that this is not a solution as the binning process will just be done with retail chips or possibly even fudging CPUz to show that its not an ES chip. The other option that has been in discussion at HWBOT, at least behind the scenes and is now in the public spotlight as noted above, is separating the benchers into amateur and professional sections. The results of this will be unknown as well until rules are decided upon and its rolled out to the public. Stay Tuned benchers!