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Thread: Quality of reviews in general seem to be poor

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    Quality of reviews in general seem to be poor

    Apologies if this comes across as a moan but the reviews just seem really oversimplistic.

    Here's a classic example:
    http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews...JsX3BhZ2U9MQ==

    Apart from the nice photos, there's absolutely no mention of the things that you'd really want to know eg. case temps, airflow, comparative graphs, chassis resonannce etc.

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    Thank you for the feedback - would you point out a good definative review on chassis for us?

    We are working on improving our case reviews, however, to say our reviews are poor, over 1 product is shocking.

    Check out our CPU/MOBO/GFX/Memory reviews.

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    Are you one of the reviewers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Apologies if this comes across as a moan but the reviews just seem really oversimplistic.

    Here's a classic example:
    http://www.hexus.net/content/reviews...JsX3BhZ2U9MQ==

    Apart from the nice photos, there's absolutely no mention of the things that you'd really want to know eg. case temps, airflow, comparative graphs, chassis resonannce etc.

    As far as temps case resonnance its difficult to produce figures that actually meaning anything as it has too many variables to take into account. And without some very accurate measuring equipement its not possible to produce accurate/worthwhile figures

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Are you one of the reviewers?
    Quote Originally Posted by Stoo
    David is the owner of hexus.net

    Your talking to the man himself! And I must say I liked that review... It was top notch! However you could also add a video review like the 3d game man does... Well, I'm shure the bandwith would be very expensive... kinda like that case...
    Last edited by myth; 09-11-2004 at 06:26 AM.

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    As the poor mug that gets to devise our review structure and focus, I've pondered the 'right' way to do chassis reviews for quite a while now. And I have to agree with Gordy when it comes to temperature testing. Our problem is that more than one contributor to HEXUS is responsible for chassis articles. We therefore run into problems supplying each of those contributors with the same hardware to place into the case to generate the heat for the temperature tests. Compound that with the fact we don't all live in the same place, and even if we did it's difficult to keep ambient temperatures constant in the same place. Can you see where I'm going with that?

    Temperature results would therefore be arbitrary as comparing the temperatures to a bag of toffees. Meaningless to anyone but the tester, without really significant cost on our behalf, something we're not able to do at the moment.

    So while we'd love to go more in depth on chassis articles, we're limited by logistics and cost. We definitely cover the important bases in a chassis article and temperature testing is about all we miss.

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    I quite appreciate that there's quite alot of time and effort involved with reviewing products, particularly given the number and frequency of products passing though the hands of the Hexus reviewers. I also agree that there's a logistical difficulty in shipping standard components across the country. So this isn't intended in any way as a moan - more like constructive criticism.

    It's not that the reviews are bad - they're OK. Almost all of them are written well, in a friendly style that is easily digestable and which doesn't put people off, which is to be commended. The number and quality of the photos accompanying the reviews are also excellent. The range and variety of products of going through the Hexus labs are also to be commendable (not merely, CPU, videocard, CPU, videocard etc).

    However, quite a fair number of the reviews, aren't particularly good in terms of offering an insight into a particular product either in a individual sense, or more usefully, in a comparative sense. There also seem to be a lack of a critical eye being cast over a product, with the reviewer looking for know flaws in products of that type, as well as good points from similar products in the same product niche.

    Lets take the SilverStone review as an example. It's a high end, expensive case (£200+) and because of that, a more rigorous approach should, in my view, be adopted. The type of customer buying something like that is liklely to be far more discering and / or demanding, than someone who drops £50 on a Lanboy (who may well be more interested in the bling bling factor). And lets be realistic here - making a buying mistake than costs £50 is far less painful that buying a £200 case that isn't any better than one costing substantially less.

    I fully appreciate that having a standard motherboard/CPU/HSF/graphics card test system that gets shipped around the country everytime a case is reviewed is going to be costly. Would it not be possible to consider having one or two reviewers that concentrate specifically on reviewing cases? They could have the test system based at their location(s) and would also develop the expertise to be able to review cases wtih a particularly critical eye rather than producing the generic reviews that someone might produce if they review a completely different product week in week out.

    I strongly believe that that having some commentary on temperatures and airflow is absolutely crucial though when reviewing cases, particuarly in light of the current power requirements and heat produced by some processors, graphics cards and systems with multiple HDDs and optical drives, all of which are becoming far more common than they were a few years ago.

    I'd hazard a guess that far more people run mutiple drives, RAID arrays, 90W CPUs, graphics cards than they did a few years ago. With the introduction of SLI boards, dual graphic cards, oversized heatsinks (eg. XP-120), fanless heatsinks (Zen, Thermaltake etc), fanless PSUs (Antec Phantom, SilverStone 30NF etc), and fanless GPU sinks, the airflow, cooling and layout that a case can provide arguably becomes increasingly important.

    If a uniform test system cannot be provided, surely some indication of the reviewers test system compared to his previous case(s) is far more preferable than providing no information at all. At least then, the people reading the review can at least hazard a reasonable guess at how his or her system is going to perform in the same case. No one is suggesting that we turn reviewers into egg head scientists with an array of fluke thermometers, isolated sound chambers, but having a table of temperatures (even taken from the BIOS, ATI tool, NV CP etc) would be extremely helpful if it showed:-

    1. CPU, GPU, HDD, case, ambient temps (idle/load) under different fan conditions
    2. Temps under 5v, 7v, and 12v fan conditions.

    This would be very easy to achieve by supplying the reviewer with some 12v/5v 3pin molex splitters (which from memory, come with some of the Zalman fans and cost about £4 or £5). Taking the HDD temperature readings via SMART using something like Dtemp.exe (easily downloadable by anyone) would also be very useful. People could make their own comparisons against their current setup. And as we should all bear in mind (which we don't), HDD temps are probably far more important than CPU temps given that there's a data critical element to HDDs, whereas CPUs running at 60-65c are still within manufacturers specs (and I've yet to hear of anyone's CPU failing or being unstable at that temperature).

    Other things that I would like to know about the SilverStone would include:-

    1. How restrictive is the front fan intake? An HDD temp reading could be taken with the intake fan running at stock, and with it disabled showing the difference.
    2. How much clearance is there between the 5.25inch bays and the front door. Are the knobs on my fan controller going to fit behind the door?
    3. What case fans are supplied? Are the manufacturers specs accurate? Am I going to have to spend another £20 upgrading all the case fans to fit my purpose of use?
    4. What sort of clearance is there between the PSU and motherboard? Are there likely to be any clearance problems with an oversized HS? What is the reviewers opinion?
    5. What stealthing faceplates are available for the 5.25inch bays? Am I really going to have to put up with beige and black 5.25inch bays with the case door open? Are faceplates from other alu manufacturers such as Lian-Li, Coolermaster etc compatible or am I going to have to drop some more more money
    6. The part of the review that talks about the 3.5inch > 5.25inch bracket and links to the manufacturers website is nothign short of frustrating. Is it not possible to point to a UK retailer that supplies such items? If the item isn't available in the UK, it kind of defeats the point.
    7. Cooling and noise levels of the case, and the supplied fans.
    8. How good is the fit between the side panels and chasis of the case? Is there any panel rattling when the optical / HDDs spin up? Can the source of the rattling be isolated? A quick 3 or 4 line paragraph about the beneits of alu v steel would also be helpful for the less well informed, as would a quick comparative critique of the case compared to other current designs eg. rubber grommetted drive sleds of the Antecs, the BTX type 'upside down' layouts of the the newer Lian-Li's etc.
    8. Noise levels of the included fans.

    Like I say, I hope none of this comes across as a moan because it isn't intended that way. It's just that often with so products, I find myself having to scour the web and go through so many reviews and forums, before I can find something that particuarly uselful. It would be great if Hexus could become the definitive review site (they're not that far off with some of their reviews), or at least allow for certain reviewers to develop specialisation in certain product ranges to enable the reviews to become much more definative.
    Last edited by davidstone28; 09-11-2004 at 03:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Quality of reviews in general seem to be poor
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    It's not that the reviews are bad - they're OK. Almost all of them are written well, in a friendly style that is easily digestable and which doesn't put people off, which is to be commended.
    It seems to me that you've only actually got issues with that one case review, which is hardly consistant with your opening statement.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoo
    You've only actually got issues with that one case review.
    Er, no.

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    1. How restrictive is the front fan intake?

    2. How much clearance is there between the 5.25inch bays and the front door. Are the knobs on my fan controller going to fit behind the door?

    3. What case fans are supplied? Are the manufacturers specs accurate? Am I going to have to spend another £20 upgrading all the case fans to fit my purpose of use?

    5. What stealthing faceplates are available for the 5.25inch bays? Am I really going to have to put up with beige and black 5.25inch bays with the case door open? Are faceplates from other alu manufacturers such as Lian-Li, Coolermaster etc compatible or am I going to have to drop some more more money

    8. Noise levels of the included fans.

    ^ I'd acyualy like the awnsers to thoes questions... You got to admit, there good...


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    fair post tbh.
    Twigman

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    Gordy Gordy's Avatar
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    I'm going to try to answer some of these:

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28

    Lets take the SilverStone review as an example. It's a high end, expensive case (£200+) and because of that, a more rigorous approach should, in my view, be adopted. The type of customer buying something like that is liklely to be far more discering and / or demanding, than someone who drops £50 on a Lanboy (who may well be more interested in the bling bling factor). And lets be realistic here - making a buying mistake than costs £50 is far less painful that buying a £200 case that isn't any better than one costing substantially less.
    Some may argue that if you can afford to spend £200 on a case you are less worried about cash and that someone scrapping together £50 of cash to get a lanboy would be far more decerning

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    I fully appreciate that having a standard motherboard/CPU/HSF/graphics card test system that gets shipped around the country everytime a case is reviewed is going to be costly. Would it not be possible to consider having one or two reviewers that concentrate specifically on reviewing cases? They could have the test system based at their location(s) and would also develop the expertise to be able to review cases wtih a particularly critical eye rather than producing the generic reviews that someone might produce if they review a completely different product week in week out.
    Its still doesnt allow for the fact that the temperatures take wouldn't take into account any external factors, without a good thermally controlled room it simply wouldnt be much point in giving temperatures.

    If you did as you said and had a rig just for case reviews, while I'm sure it can be sorted out, the problem is as soon as you start using that rig it will be out dated and replaced by newer hotter hardware so giving a review with that system wouldnt give a fair indication as to the temperature you can expect.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    I strongly believe that that having some commentary on temperatures and airflow is absolutely crucial though when reviewing cases, particuarly in light of the current power requirements and heat produced by some processors, graphics cards and systems with multiple HDDs and optical drives, all of which are becoming far more common than they were a few years ago.

    I'd hazard a guess that far more people run mutiple drives, RAID arrays, 90W CPUs, graphics cards than they did a few years ago. With the introduction of SLI boards, dual graphic cards, oversized heatsinks (eg. XP-120), fanless heatsinks (Zen, Thermaltake etc), fanless PSUs (Antec Phantom, SilverStone 30NF etc), and fanless GPU sinks, the airflow, cooling and layout that a case can provide arguably becomes increasingly important.
    I'd argue that it is less of a problem nowadays as nearly all cases have good airflow, even shuttle systems can easily run twin hard discs, a prescott and a x800 without worrying about it. A full sized case will be better granted but temperatures aren't really an issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Other things that I would like to know about the SilverStone would include:-

    1. How restrictive is the front fan intake? An HDD temp reading could be taken with the intake fan running at stock, and with it disabled showing the difference.
    Its hard again to get an accurate figure, the pictures will give you far better an idea as to how restrictive an intake would be, granted prehaps an indication in the review as to if it was an issue would be helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    2. How much clearance is there between the 5.25inch bays and the front door. Are the knobs on my fan controller going to fit behind the door?
    Not a bad idea but there are 100's of fan controllers out there so some may fit some may not. A quantative figure would be helpful but it would have to made clear where it was measured from/to which isnt always easy hehe


    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    3. What case fans are supplied? Are the manufacturers specs accurate? Am I going to have to spend another £20 upgrading all the case fans to fit my purpose of use?
    This is normally the case in the reviews, I know I try to give manufacturer part numbers for all fans, if you are at all fussy about fans 99.5 % of case fans would need to be replaced as they are normally an average fan with average airflow/noise so that its cheap to make and doesnt annoy everyone.

    You should bear in mind that manufacturers often change fan specs so you can't take it as written that you will get the same fan as the review sample.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    4. What sort of clearance is there between the PSU and motherboard? Are there likely to be any clearance problems with an oversized HS? What is the reviewers opinion?
    PSU/Mobo's come in all different sizes so its impossible to state a figure , the pictures again will give you a good idea.

    If there is an issue with heatsinks it will be stated in the review if the reviewer had a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    5. What stealthing faceplates are available for the 5.25inch bays? Am I really going to have to put up with beige and black 5.25inch bays with the case door open? Are faceplates from other alu manufacturers such as Lian-Li, Coolermaster etc compatible or am I going to have to drop some more more money.
    They will never match 100% as each batch are different, at the end of the day they will look ok in any aluminium case. As for fitting the coolermaster ones are drive dependant so will fit any case so its not really something that should be put in each and every review should it?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    6. The part of the review that talks about the 3.5inch > 5.25inch bracket and links to the manufacturers website is nothign short of frustrating. Is it not possible to point to a UK retailer that supplies such items? If the item isn't available in the UK, it kind of defeats the point.
    Often when the review is written the case is fresh out on the market so it is nearly impossible to point to a source of any particular accessory, a link to the manufacturer will be the best help to a buyer as it will nearly always give you some idea of where it can be bought and if not thats what google is for.

    Linking to one particular store would also be problematic as which store should be linked to if lots stock the item? and what happens if that store doesnt stock them 6months down the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    7. Cooling and noise levels of the case, and the supplied fans.
    Impossible to give any quantative noise level it would have to be how much that particular reviewer thinks the case creates which is often hardware and person specific, one persons noisey case is anothers silent one. take a look at the fan specs and fan number to give yourself and idea of expected noise levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    8. How good is the fit between the side panels and chasis of the case? Is there any panel rattling when the optical / HDDs spin up? Can the source of the rattling be isolated? A quick 3 or 4 line paragraph about the beneits of alu v steel would also be helpful for the less well informed, as would a quick comparative critique of the case compared to other current designs eg. rubber grommetted drive sleds of the Antecs, the BTX type 'upside down' layouts of the the newer Lian-Li's etc.
    Including a comparison between aluminium and steel cases in each and every review would be time consuming and irrelevent to most people. There is very little difference other than weight really. Build quality and design are always part of any review so if there was a problem again it would be mentioned.



    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    8. Noise levels of the included fans.
    See above

    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Like I say, I hope none of this comes across as a moan because it isn't intended that way. It's just that often with so products, I find myself having to scour the web and go through so many reviews and forums, before I can find something that particuarly uselful. It would be great if Hexus could become the definitive review site (they're not that far off with some of their reviews), or at least allow for certain reviewers to develop specialisation in certain product ranges to enable the reviews to become much more definative.
    Reviews have specialised in certain area's which appeal and they are good at, its always been this way really.

    While I think hexus is a great review source you should never just read one review and think that is all there is about that product, a minimum of 2 really should be read as different reviewers have different points of view on any one product

    In the review you linked to a lot of your questions were answered in the review itself

    Hope that answers some of your points
    Last edited by Gordy; 09-11-2004 at 05:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordy

    Hope that answers some of your points
    Not really.

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    Gordy Gordy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstone28
    Not really.

    right....

    Well seeing as you mentioned some of the points in relation to one review heres the answers to most of your questions in the review itself.



    Fan specs are on the 2nd page

    Front 120x120x25mm
    Dual ball Bearing
    2000rpm, 21dBA(Intake)
    Rear 80x80x25mm x 2
    Dual ball Bearing
    2000rpm, 21dBA(Exhaust)
    Top 80x80x25mm
    Dual ball Bearing
    2000rpm, 21dBA(Exhaust)

    and in even more detail on the 4th page

    Size:
    80 x 80 x 25 mm
    Manufacturer:
    Everflow
    Model Number:
    F128025SL
    CFM:
    32
    RPM:
    2050
    DBa:
    21
    Bearing Type: Sleeve

    Size:
    120 x 120 x 25 mm
    Manufacturer:
    Everflow
    Model Number:
    R121225BL
    CFM:
    Unknown
    RPM:
    2000
    DBa:
    21
    Bearing Type: Two Ball


    Stealthing question :

    Coolermaster stealthed drive in this picture here

    http://img.hexus.net/v2/cases/silver...s/DSC03358.JPG

    Craig has even got a silver painted drive to show what they look like in the case

    Comparing it to other cases in its field along with any noise from panel flex question

    I had mixed views as soon as I opened the box for the SilverStone TJ-03. Part of me was screaming with joy as the case looks absolutely stunning, but as I lifted the case out of the box it didn’t have the same feel as a Cooler Master case. It’s hard to put it into words, but when you buy a Cooler Master case it feels solid and very sturdy. I’ve owned my CM201B for around 2 years now and it still looks as well as it did when I first got it. The TJ-03 leaves doubts in my mind as it didn’t have this feel of quality and sturdiness. The side panels seem to flex a lot and require a bit of strategic movement in order for them to fit. I’ve noticed Lian Li cases suffer from the same problems but the TJ-03 is basically a Cooler Master, so why am I noticing this lack of solidity?

    I’d imagine a lot of the flex in the side panels is due to the shear size of them, as this case is able to accept an extended ATX motherboard, which means the depth of the case is a lot larger than the standard Cooler Master 201.

    Front fan grill blockage question

    Underneath the main door for the drive bays is another door. Yet again, this door can be disassembled and hinged on the opposite side if you wish. The door hides the front intake fan. The fan is actually a massive 120mm fan which intakes cool air and pushes it directly across the hard drives mounted in the 3½ inch drive bays. Although the fan is 120mm, it is blocked by the aluminium door. This isn’t a major problem as the door has ventilation grills in the side to allow cool air to enter the system. Of course this isn’t as efficient as a meshed front but it allows the case to keep its sleek uniformed look throughout the front of the case.




    Thats just the ones if seen in two minutes of looking.

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    How does cutting and pasting from the review provide insight and meainingful comparative analysis?

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