XDA Begins Regular PC Hardware Coverage, Designed For Our Audience
At the tail end of 2015, I started writing for XDA-Developers — it wasn’t a big jump given my involvement on the site for many years, but until then it was all on the forum side. Since then there have been a lot of changes, capped off with a new geographical location and work schedule. It’s been challenging to get back on the path after that and a lot of work was done behind the scenes to keep that going. Thankfully it started to come together again in May with our review of AMD’s Ryzen processors.
And at the end of that article, we asked: What did you think of that review? And how would you feel about more of this type of coverage? Here’s a few of the responses:
Redditor (I have corrected a few spelling errors):
“ Honestly, I was quite surprised to see that it was XDA of all outlets who first brought a broad comparison of the whole Ryzen lineup on Linux weighing cores and threads against price and performance. There were a couple of contenders I would have expected to be interested in compiling something like this. I am following XDA for it’s android content and open software focus, but if articles like this one keeps popping up, I have one more reason to follow it.”
Ryzen review comments:
“ This maybe a wise direction to look at. Custom pc building will be around long after devices are locked down.”
“ Do more of these articles. This is where performance starts for our phones and new hardware coverage, desktop or otherwise, is welcomed on a site all about getting the most from your hardware.”
“Yeah, please get into computer hardware too”
What we didn’t mention was that at the same time readers were offering feedback, so were members of XDA’s own staff. And what did we learn over that time? It says we’ve tapped something we probably should have done a while ago.
For all of the discussion about how we focus on developers, why are we not focusing on the tools they use to produce the software that we love so much? Android isn’t programmed on smartphones, nor are the apps that we all love to install and use. Many of our developers are college students or seasoned professionals. Where do they turn to help get advice on how to better tune their systems or, when it’s time to look for a new purchase or upgrade, what to look for?
Thanks to you, the readers, we have the attention of many folks globally — honestly higher than most tech outlets, and our audience has grown tremendously in just a few years. We still want to keep the mentality of “By developers, for developers” and mobile content that we’re known for. In fact, readers have put an exclamation point on that over the past few days. But that doesn’t mean we should be tying our hands behind our back, and limiting what we cover just because we haven’t done it before. And what if we could do a lot of potential good by covering things where there is very little attention right now?
After two months of work largely behind the scenes, it’s time to finally say it. XDA will start covering PC hardware on a regular basis. This will have a lot of obvious questions. So let’s get into discussing this a bit further and help set some mutual expectations on the new coverage.
What We’ll Cover
News Coverage & Analysis: Articles of this nature will not be as constant as you may see on other sites. The reason for this at the moment is simple: Our readers don’t just read XDA. We’re not the only site out on the Internet that can offer this either. If news seems relevant enough to our readers or we believe we can add insight or analysis that may be missing from the general tech site coverage, you’ll likely see us cover that. We remain, above all else, a site designed for mobile technology. We’re also dedicated to supporting developers at all levels joining the open source scene.
Product Analysis & Reviews: If we’re going to do this right, this means we do this, and that we strive for the same level of detail and insight as the rest of our content. The goal has already been agreed upon – major hardware releases will be covered. It may take a bit to get caught up – but here’s a few of the in-depth topics we will be covering in the month of July.
- A review of Intel’s Kaby Lake i7-7700K. It was one of the missing pieces to really consider during the Ryzen review. And our thanks to the folks at Intel who are willing to work with us on this new journey. And for those curious, we intend to review both Core X and Threadripper fairly soon.
- A follow-up to the problems we noticed in Gigabyte’s AM4 motherboards and how they stand now. We’ll also take a look at one of their Intel motherboards as a part of this.
- At the end of the month, news from SIGGRAPH. At the moment we know of at least one big release during this time frame: AMD’s RX Vega. We expect there will be more news there relevant to our audience.
Reviews will largely focus on the Linux operating system and continue to have a developer focus in them. We decided to keep our reviews on Linux for two primary reasons. First up was the lack of dedicated Linux coverage for new PC hardware in the global market. We hope that this will help introduce corroboration to findings of other Linux reviews, of which there are not many beyond Phoronix. The other half is one that I have heard several times and experienced on my own: A lack of information on how to get most PC hardware working on the day of release. As part of our reviews we will be including notes on any issues with using hardware as well as any solutions and/or workarounds available.
So what about Windows? Given the many choices of alternate sites to offer this coverage it seems that, in many cases, it does less for our readers to offer a review of PC hardware on Windows. The immediate exception to this rule will be the upcoming ARM on Windows. We know and love the Snapdragon SoC quite well here and so it makes every sense that we would cover devices powered by it, independent of the platform on which they run.
There’s obviously a lot more to be said here. Much of it still has some fine details left to straighten out before we announce further information. But we’ll continue to share relevant news on the topic as this new venture develops. We again thank our readers for the (very) vocal support on these efforts and hope you will continue to offer that support as we continue our coverage!