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This is Day 17 of the Anandtech Hostage Crisis.

Well, gee, what other explanation can there be for nothing new posted on the site for seventeen days?

Oh, there is one (second post):

” . . . the holidays plus the lack of any interesting products has contributed to the lack of news and reviews recently.”

Whew! 🙂

Update: An FAQ update went up this afternoon, breaking the drought.

On the one hand, it is probably best to say nothing when you have nothing to say.

On the other hand, over two weeks’ worth of people seeking but not finding anything new gets you an awful lot of unearned page impressions and an awful lot of people tired of providing them.

The website has the perfect right to do what it likes, but this hiatus does illustrate what is becoming a growing problem with computer hardware websites.

Hurry Up and Wait

To me at least, the pace of product introduction seems to have slowed down a bit and clustered a lot. Nothing really significant happens for a month or two, and then BANG for a little while, then back to next-to-nothing for quite a while. Short floods, long droughts.

This arena is getting bi-polar. Or perhaps the old term for the condition is more fitting: manic-depressive.

It also seems to me like expectations have changed. People seem to want more before they spend their money, and for the most part, they aren’t getting it. It’s true that many new products offer but slight improvement over older models, but it seems like the bar has been raised.

Take memory. The introduction of DDR, and the introduction of dual DDR are pretty much equivalent events. If anything, dual DDR offers a bit more than the initial DDR.

But DDR was rarely if ever described as a “disappointment” the way dual DDR has been.

I don’t know if people are more jaded, or just don’t know what’s going on, but Granite Bay is not a performance “disappointment.” It does what could be reasonably expected from it. The problems with Granite Bay are its high price and its late arrival with the promise of cheaper, better motherboards coming in a few months. Not performance.

I’ll tell you right now, unless Intel has come up with some serious voodoo for memory, Springfields and Canterwoods will be little better than GBs, simply because faster memory doesn’t help performance a whole lot.

From what I see, most new products until the fall are going to be like GBs: expensive and offering less-than-revolutionary improvements. There may be a surprise here and there, but that’s just what they’ll be: surprises.

Until next fall, you have nVidia’s FX, Intel’s new mobos and somewhat better PIVs, Barton and Hammer. If these perform up to expectations, there’s no shocking, “Oh shit, I have to buy this” suspects here. Outside of a surprise, I don’t see something like that coming until fall at earliest, and realistically 2004 with .09 micron CPUs.

So what are these review sites going to talk about 52/365?

Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em

Many if not most review sites tend to take this approach towards products. Well, “Slam, Bam, Thank you, ma’am” is more like it. 🙂

There’s a review, then you never hear about the product again; it’s on to the next one.

I don’t think this is going to work too well in 2003. For one thing, there will be few clusters of product introductions. For another, there will be less to truly get excited about.

If all a website does (or can do) is write first-impression reviews, in all likelihood, they’ll probably end up pumping more and more hype into fewer and fewer products to an audience getting more and more skeptical.

Understand something. The reason why most hardware sites focus so much on reviews is because it’s mentally easy to do. Thought not required. You run umpteen benchmarks and let the benchmarks do your thinking for you.

I think the audience is beginning to want more than that. They are getting tired of running into problems no reviewer ever seems to find when looking into a product. They want to know just what they’re going to run into when they buy this product.

They want . . . more, and they aren’t getting it from websites.

So they go to forums, but that’s like panning for gold.

I think in 2003, those who keep doing the same old thing, just more loudly, are going to get hurt, and those who figure out how to provide “more” will prosper.

As the pace of change slows, the interests of those covering the field must broaden to cover what people want, not what’s easy to do.

Email Ed

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