To ‘ES’ or not to ‘ES’? That is the HWBOT question…

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.

i7 980x "Engineering Sample" (Note Intel Confidential on the IHS)

i7 980x "Engineering Sample" (Note Intel Confidential on the IHS)

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, 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 and at

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 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!

- EarthDog

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rdrash's Avatar
You only have half the story. The hwbot staff and others with access to the development/VIP lounge side at hwbot have been working toward the "professional" league and have discussed moving ES cpus out of the general overclockers league since at least July 2009. Get your facts straight guys.
EarthDog's Avatar
Wow, eazy killer. How was anyone not in the know supposed to find that information out? I poured through the entire two threads to gather this information. Maybe next time can I send stuff like this through you since you are in the know? Can you specifically point out what is false so we can correct it? Thanks.

From the article BTW. ^^
KonaKona's Avatar
I've been over most of the hwbot thread and our other thread here, first I've heard about this.

The article sums it up pretty well that removing ESes doesn't fix anything, however I think we are going to see a certain man come in here and try to convince us otherwise.
rdrash's Avatar
Do some real investigation if you're going to jump on the band wagon and publish articles about this...otherwise it should remian in forum discussions. Articles imply a certain amount of research/fact checking has been done... or credibility gets lost.
EarthDog's Avatar
What bandwagon? What are you talking about? Its a general piece about whats going on?!!?!?!!

Please check my edits above, there were mentions of it in the article as I quoted. I read both threads and mentioned what you state I missed. I put them in orange in case you missed them when reading the article.

Again, if the information is not correct, please, since you are in the know, let us know and they will be corrected.
rdrash's Avatar
You should have asked massman or rb, they probably would have given you more facts/solid dates, perhaps even what is really planned for the next hwbot revision and when it may be rolled out...real news.

Crass yellow journalism if you ask me. My point is you only have half of the story, it's not very professional to just snipe bits and pieces out of other forums to make a front page "Article".... Do your research get the whole truth and then publish a "Article"
mdcomp's Avatar
Earthdog, that's a solid summary my friend. It really hits on all the key points in the forums thread.

Thanks for letting us in on the "confidential" details. Unfortunately, many of us (Earthdog included) do not have access to that area of hwbot. So his report is based entirely on the thread over here and other public information. The source of his facts were cited, and he presents the opinions of others as their opinions, not as his own or those of the website as a whole.

It is my job as editor to make sure those guidelines are followed. They were followed and followed extremely well. Earthdog's synopsis really impressed me.

mdcomp's Avatar
Sounds like a good idea for a follow up article if you ask me.

Thanks for the suggestion.

rdrash's Avatar
Whom did he interview at hwbot?
KonaKona's Avatar

I'm gonna make like a banana and leave this thread.
I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
Rdrash, your comments stand for themselves. I think you would represent your position in a more positive light by taking a less partial perspective on this article - last time I saw someone lash out like that was this guy named benchzowner in a thread on hwbot where he was (too) passionately arguing about ES cpus!

Passion is generally a good thing, until the point where it makes you look like your perspective is all out of whack. Everyone will decide that for themselves tho - the messages you post is what they will judge by.

This article is:
1. Relevant current events in the benchmark community
2. Telling people what is going on and where its going on at
3. Telling people what it could mean for the future
4. Leaving it to the reader to draw conclusions

This article is not factually inaccurate - it simply presents current events, and references the source for people to decide for themselves. There isn't even any subjective framing of what is good or bad - and both quotes the author selected are in support of the HWBOT team's approach to the topic.

A lot of us have been big supporters of HWBOT, we all enjoy their platform, and this isn't a criticism piece - hell, it simply states what is going on and what it could mean for the future of competitive benchmarking rather than that information being buried in forums/development/VIP lounges.

Few people appreciate sarcasm. Making suggestions is usually well received. That makes me and probably any reader ask why is this guy angry?

To answer your question - he didn't interview anyone. It's an editorial, it's not classified as news. Its a presentation and perspective of what is going on, leaving it for everyone to decide on their own what they think about the issue, as well as giving them a heads up on likely developments down the road.

Bobnova's Avatar
Speaking as someone who does not have access to the restricted areas of HWBot, the article looks accurate to me. It nicely sums up 20+ pages of threads on multiple forums.
EarthDog's Avatar
Agree. That should have been done, and it would have improved the article, no doubt. But this was a very high level 'article' about the situation, thats all.

Again, if there any facts listed that are wrong, please let us know and we will get them corrected (3rd time I have asked this). Help us out instead of chewing me out.
rdrash's Avatar
The article would be much better if someone asked the administrators at hwbot what/if aything is really being done for future releases to address some of the concerns raised in those threads. All it takes is a few PMs....
splat's Avatar
glad you nominated yourself to do so. I expect to see your article by the end of the day.
rdrash's Avatar
lol... not likely, it's 1:18 am here. I'll be in bed when your close of business (COB) hits there
mdcomp's Avatar
If you can shoot over some contact info for the guys at hwbot (via PM or email), we'd be glad to check it out. Our report was certainly not inaccurate, but of course there are angles we did not cover. One of my goals as editor is to not leave any stone unturned. So if you have contact info for those guys, we can have somebody write a follow-up article. It's a good suggestion, I was just put off by your initial methods of presenting it.


EarthDog's Avatar
Agreed ^^.

Well, before you go to bed, can you at least do us the justice of correcting what facts I had wrong (4th time I asked this with no response...) or filling in the 'other half of the story' (that I quoted for you that WAS mentioned sans specifics)?

This just seems to be a lot of **** and vinegar so far.........Mad respect for you but, lets just help us get it right if its only 'half the story' instead of simply berating the author (me!) for 'crass yellow journalism' for not hitting the scope YOU appear to have wanted to see the article written in...
I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
Thats a fair suggestion and would make a great follow up article, but I feel the article as it stands is more impartial... Perspectives obtained directly from HWBOT staff would best be made separately to retain that impartiality.

This article simply presents the issue. It doesn't take BenchZowner's side, it doesn't take HWBOT staff's side, it doesn't take ANYBODY's side... Earthdog wasn't in bed with anyone - just a community observer with a great short summary.

By the way, I've been communicating via PM with RichB about pulling hwbot data into OC Forums... Sometimes he replies very quick, sometimes I have to follow up after a week. I know how it is being busy. Anyways, no PM's were sent, but with your suggestion you can be sure the invitation is presented if anyone from HWBOT would be interested in sharing their perspectives on the issue for a followup article.
rdrash's Avatar
Actually, contacting massman or rb is just like contacting a user here....
I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
See above rdrash, talking to them before publishing this article would have been poisoning the well in my opinion... It's best to start from an impartial point presenting the issue.
EarthDog's Avatar
What more would I have gotten from them considering this post from 2 days ago from Massman? I will admit I was waffling about getting some info from them, however seeing this post below and knowing how busy admins are, as well as the high level approach taken for the article, I didnt deem it quite as necessary as you rdrash....

Source -

That post is 2 days old, FYI.
Deanzo's Avatar
Yeah, this has been going on for along time.

The last really big blow up was in May last year, when there were article's and forum threads about how Intel was binning 1000 i975's super cherry chips.
Some of these threads were taken down if I re-call as they got out of hand, but most will still be up and wouldn't be hard to find.

Think it was back in August that a well known overclocker did an interview on Bright Side Of News (should be easy to find) most of it was about his new team, but in it he talks about es vs retail, and even about a professional competition.

And the thread we are talking about on hwbot, first post is from back in February.

But it goes back before all of that.

It's just not as easy as some make out, as they say "the devil is in the details"
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