Beyond3D is, first and foremost, a hardware review site. Our focus is primarily on video cards and the 3D technologies of the chip that powers the video card. It is generally agreed that one type of software that stresses a video chip the most comes in the form of games. Sprite-based 2D games are no longer of any interest to anyone, whether they be "casual" gamers or the designer of video chips -- nothing less that pixel-shaded, vertex-accelerated 3D games would satisfy the gaming crowd that has increasingly associated, and demanded, games with excellent graphics effects. Gameplay matters the most, of course, but if they look like the original DOOM, the chances of a game being successful becomes that much less of an assurance.
For a satisfying gaming experience, you'd need the hardware that performs well, if not at least adequately. In the general computer industry, speed matters, and matters a great deal. But as industry folks get smarter and as technologies advance, the fine line between performance and additional features become a two-edged sword -- what would you be willing to sacrifice to attain a "satisfying gaming experience"? The creators of video chips will undoubtedly flush the industry -- and purchasers of video cards are part of the industry -- with what they would term as information about their latest-and-greatest video chips. This is what is called evangelism, promotions of their video chips that on the surface appear to be pure information -- and they are indeed information -- but perhaps we have to also consider that such promotion/evangelism has a lot to do with "wowing" their real intended audience -- the consumers that buy video cards. No, wait... perhaps the real intended audience isn't the consumers but hardware reviewers (like Beyond3D's). What better way than to prepare carefully worded and beautiful looking documents that contain a lot of technological words that look very impressive to hardware reviewers eager to flush their reviews with the same technological words which in turn looks impressive to those that read it and where the majority of those that read such reviews are the purchasers (or would-be purchasers) of video cards?
Yes, it is true that the latest technologies powering these "next generation" video cards needs to be relayed to the consumers and the public at large. The issue is whether those that peruse such information are all the more knowledgeable or wiser about 3D since such information tend to be 3D-centric. A review can be filled to the brim with terms like "dynamic loops and branches", "swizzling" and "vector registers" without actually meaning anything to many of those that read them -- to both the consumers as well as to hardware reviewers. Folks that purchase video cards for the primary purpose of playing games really seldom care about implementation details, nor should they feel compelled to have a dictionary by their sides when they read or write a review. The most important folks where such implementation details and technologies should be relayed to are the developers, the people that create the games that you buy and play and of which (the games, that is) is probably the primary reason why you buy a video card anyway (notwithstanding engineering students or programmers who don't get these toys for free). And the companies that make these great video chips would already have informed the developers about the latest technologies anyway, long before they are made available to the public by hardware review outlets/websites.
The one important question is whether these information/implementation details about the new technologies powering the latest video cards should be important, and revealed in reviews, to those that buy video cards. The next important question is whether the testing of these new technologies, revealed in a review, should play a role in making decisions about buying a new video card. The first question is easily answered and has in fact been mentioned above -- the reviewer must relay such information in a review, whether they are important to those that read the reviews or not as this can be relied upon as reference material in the future. The second question is a bit more difficult to answer, not because whether such testing of new technologies should be done and presented in a review -- it should in our opinion -- but because there is the frustrating question of "How can the testing be done if we don't have the software to test the hardware?". There is usually a gap of about a year between the release of next generation hardware and that of software taking advantage of the technologies and features of such hardware. So what can we use to see if the evangelisms of the latest video cards by the Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) such as ATI (NASDAQ : ATYT) and NVIDIA (NASDAQ : NVDA) has, well, any true meaning or any realistic relevance to the very hardware that is being promoted? If hardware review outlets serve as avenues for such evangelisms (by presenting to the public the same information fed to them by the IHVs), shouldn't they be doing more than just passing on the information? Shouldn't they try to see if the next generation technologies that are being evangelized, and of which they help evangelize (whether they realize it or not) by virtue of passing on the information via their previews and reviews, perform at satisfactory framerates?
Shouldn't hardware review outlets, instead of being the mere middle-man in the passing of information fed to them by the IHVs, act more responsibly by attempting to see if the evangelisms are "justified"? So, what should a review consist of?