The Pure Overclock Hardware Review Awards System
It’s time to lay down the official meaning behind the awards at PureOC. Even though every reviewer will have their own subjective opinion on how components measure up, there should be a general guideline of what we expect when an award is given. Not only should reviewers understand the guidelines, but readers should also have the information at their disposal so they can appreciate the value of an award. So without further ado, let’s get into the general concepts behind the individual awards at PureOC! Every product can fit into 3 main categories that we judge:
- Quality – A component should be made from quality materials that reflects the budget the part is targeting. We wouldn’t dock a $50 case for using some plastic, but a $200 case might be a different story. Also, the aesthetic appeal should reflect a strong effort from the company. Sure, some companies lean toward professional looks while others like the gaming flare, but in any case the appearance should have an appeal that appropriately targets the intended consumer.
- Performance – This is a bit of a no-brainer, but a product should have an appropriate performance level. This doesn’t mean we expect every product to have the highest performance either. Top performance is always welcomed, but competitive performance is acceptable if a product has appropriate levels in the other categories. We wouldn’t be true to our name if we didn’t consider overclocking when it applies as part of the performance as well.
- Value – Price is a huge determining factor of an Award here at PureOC. Most of us relegate our component expenditures to fairly tight budgets. A product should be competitively priced, based on the sum of the features it has. If a part costs more, it can still be deemed an incredible value if it far exceeds the competition with the amount of included features. Overclocking is a huge part of value as well since one of the big reasons for the risk is getting additional performance at no extra financial cost.
This is our top reward and will only represent the absolute best in the business. There are two main scenarios where a product will receive a Must Have Award. The first one is rather obvious in that a product is so completely flawless, it clearly leads any competition in every way. This would include quality, performance and value. For instance, an SSD that has top SATA performance at a great price will have a strong chance at this award. The end result is a dramatically improved computing experience at most levels. However, an NVMe drive, while having the best in performance numbers, would struggle to achieve this award. While the results are strong for NVMe, the practical performance gains are hard to justify when you look at the additional cost/value of the product.
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The other scenario is for a product that, while having it’s fair share of minor flaws, completely eclipses the competition regardless. It could be because the price is so exceptional that the flaws are worth overlooking, or it could be a new technology just hit the market and one manufacturer stood out as being the most stable product. The key point is that in any case, the flaws are either easily worked around, or easy to ignore. A Must Have Award is a product that is so exceptional, the reviewer would have a hard time recommending that a buyer consider any other product than the one being reviewed in its category.
Our second award is designed to recognize an exceptional product that sets a standard to compete with. All three categories are expected to measure pretty high in the eyes of the reviewer. The main difference between Editor’s Choice and Must Have is how competitive the market is. The product is a top choice in it’s category, but the reviewer can’t justify naming it as the only option a buyer should consider when comparing to similar components. Graphics cards are a great example of this since much of what decides how great a card is depends on the actual GPU manufacturer. After that, it’s hard to justify why one brand is better than another outside of personal preference among the top cards.
The third award is intended for a great product, but it might have one critical flaw that is holding it back. The other possibility is that while it’s great in all three areas, it can’t compete with top tier products in any of the three categories. Cases are a perfect example of this. There are so many great cases on the market that it can be extremely difficult to stand out. Even then, many cases that do a great job of standing out have the critical flaw of being way too pricey for builders who would be better served putting their cash into a better graphics card. We want to honor the manufacturer in doing a great job on the design, while helping the reader make an informed choice on the purchase that gives some room for their personal preferences as well.
Moving on to the bottom tiers of our rewards, we start hitting products that, while we wouldn’t say are bad products, we also have a hard time justifying a strong recommendation for purchasing. Good Hardware is a product that doesn’t stand out in any special way, making more competitive items a better choice for the consumer. Generally speaking, this isn’t too common either since the majority of companies that want us to review their products have put a huge amount of effort trying to compete with their respective markets. Peripherals are a good example of Good Hardware since a lot of companies throw designs in the market that are competitively priced, but lack the design and features to truly stand out.
Finally, we have our Great Value Award. Quite simply, this award is meant for a product that directly targets the low end of a builder’s budget. We’d generally recommend looking for something of higher quality, but a component like this would be a great fit for the consumer who is only concerned with saving money above everything else.
What happens if a product is just a bad one? While I can say that it’s never happened in my time with the site, the simple answer is that we won’t give the product any award. The vast majority of the time, we will work with the manufacturer to find out why a certain product is giving us an unusually bad experience to resolve the issues. On the other hand, if we end up with a product that truly classifies as “bad,” then no award is given.
Hopefully, this will give a strong understanding of how our Award system works at the site. As you probably noticed, we try to focus on the big picture with how we think a user’s experience will be with a product, rather than focus on niche areas like performance numbers or professional aesthetics. If you like what we do and find our reviews helpful, keep supporting the site and we’ll see you at our next review!