How Nvidia blacklists sites like Hardware Secrets

Unethical behaviors to control the media

Nvidia World IconIT LOOKS LIKE the cracks are starting to spread at Nvidia PR, Hardware Secrets just joined the list of those honest enough to get banned by the company. The real question is how does Nvidia PR decide to blacklist a company? Since you asked, we dug up their internal memos on such things.

Hardware Secrets seems to have done the unthinkable and not bowed to Nvidia PR’s requests to, lets not mince words, lie about their products, or at the very least, change things that they didn’t like. Some may think just because Nvidia wanted to get stories before publication to editorially ‘rightspeak’ them, and Hardware Secrets refused, that they were banned. Not so, and that is reported from personal experience.

Nvidia has a long checklist of what you should and should not write about. When they send you a new card, they give you a reviewers guide that basically shows what you should test, what benchmarks you should use, and what OSes and drivers are recommended. If you stray too far from those recommendations, or worse yet, don’t say that PhysX or CUDA is the greatest thing on earth, you are on dangerous ground.

If you have the gall to say that a card is not absolutely and unquestionably better in every way than the competition, goodbye. Of course they will spin it to any site that questions Nvidia about blacklisting as the person being “unworkable” or funded by ATI/Intel, but the truth is that if anyone is honest, it makes it very hard for them to spin their own curious version of the truth. That makes Dear Leader sad, so it must be torpedoed.

Back to the GTX470 and GTX480 launch. The list of who got cards was very select, and Hardware Secrets was not on it. If you are not big enough or don’t meet the suck-up requirements above, you didn’t get a card. Those who did, and those who somehow managed to get around the Nvidia AIB blockade, were actively graded by Nvidia.

What did Nvidia want to know about? Here is their list of questions, PR was asked to fill this out for everyone who they sent samples to. That will determine who gets immediately hit with the big green excrement cannon, and then is subsequently badmouthed in the background to the faithful fanbois. In Nvidia’s own words……

Did they write that we have an architecture advantage? (Y/N)

GTX 480 Pricing (Good, Too High, Too Low)

GTX 470 Pricing (Good, Too High, Too Low)

Did they complain about power?

Did they complain about noise?

Did they complain about heat?

Design Garage

Supersonic Sled

Water/Hair Testing

Unigine 2.0


Stone Giant


Did they test with Catalyst AI On? (Y/N)

Did they call out AMD on their cheat?

If yes, give link

It is pretty clear what Nvidia wants you to hear about, and how they explicitly want sites to attack ATI. The whole ‘ATI cheat’ thing was manufactured by Nvidia and pushed really hard to sites that Nvidia thought were gullible enough to write it up. They also wanted reviewers to push Unigine and Stone giant really hard, along with the F@H, all projects that Nvidia sponsors. I wonder why?

Also, note that when talking about power, heat and noise, Nvidia did not ask how the products fared, they asked if the sites complained about them. It’s almost like the company knew the power use, heat and noise were so far out of line it was ludicrous. Nvidia also wanted sites to push their demos really hard for some reason, but nowhere did they ask about the card’s performance. Demos, PhysX and Cuda are all over the ‘suggestions’ as to what sites are ‘recommended’ to talk about with GTX470 and GTX480 reviews, performance is not.

In case you were wondering, there was a test after class, and Nvidia not only grades on a curve, but they play favorites. Should you not hit the high points above, and are not ‘too big to exclude’, you are blacklisted. Please note that the list does include explicitly calling out ATI about points Nvidia fabricated and pushed. Go back and re-read the questions, they are not nearly as innocent as they may seem.

Now do you understand why SemiAccurate can not work with Nvidia? Now do you understand why honest sites have a hard time with the company? If you still don’t, or can say so publicly with a straight face, there are lots of jobs available for your particular skill set.

To call the company’s behavior unethical and sleazy would be insulting to those who have achieved those goals. Nvidia however is not competent enough to reach those lofty goals, but it is not for a lack of trying.

So, in the end, nothing really new. Leaked memos, what Nvidia wants talked about for their new cards, and more sites blacklisted for honesty. The more things change in Santa Clara, the more things stay the same. That makes Dear Leader smile.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate