Back when this site was in full swing (doing reviews, getting lots of visits, writing up articles and news stories) I attempted several times to reach out to AMD about the possibility of covering their products. I managed to get a few business cards from their reps at PAX or CES, but I never heard back from anyone that I contacted. Now it seems that well-known and well-respected sites like [H]ard|OCP, The Tech Repot and TechPowerUp are being denied review samples of AMDs new Radeon R9 Nano video card.
AMD and Nvidia are not required to send free samples to anyone. They do it because a huge amount of their customers decide what to purchase by reading reviews and articles from websites that are trusted by their readers to tell them the truth. I think at least 90% of these sites are completely unbiased. It wouldn't make a lot of sense for them to lie to their readers by comprimising the integrity of their tests because it is very likely that their readers would catch on very quickly. Hell, we got some flack from readers for not comparing Nvidia cards to AMD cards in our reviews. They thought we were biased but in reality we were just trying to do the best with what we had (which was free Nvidia cards and not enough money to buy the competing AMD cards).
So What's Going On?
AMD executed a paper launch of the Radeon R9 Nano on August 27th. [H]ard|OCP and The Tech Report were skeptical about the fact that this was a paper launch, about AMD's Nano performance claims and about the price. However, TechPowerUp didn't say a damn thing in its paper launch article that AMD could find objectionable even though some of their commenters were not very kind.
Then on September 4th TechPowerUp posted an article stating that they were looking forward to testing the Nano but that they wouldn't be getting one because AMD told them that it had too few review samples for the press. TPU used an entire paragraph to talk about how great their reviews are (which is true, they are awesome) and their last paragraph shows that they are disappointed that AMD's Fiji line is not getting the promotion it deserves from AMD. TPU doesn't sound mad, just disappointed that AMD is dropping the proverbial Fiji ball.
On September 9th [H]ard|OCP posted a scathing article about AMD's Roy Taylor and some of his "bullshit" answers to Kyle's questions. Roy also made some statements on Twitter that insinuated that The Tech Report and TechPowerUp do not write "fair" reviews and Kyle called him out on it which brought it to The Tech Report's attention. In his article Kyle talks about Roy's bad judgement, praises him for his work on Nvidia's "The Way It’s Meant To Be Played" initiative and then wraps it up with quotes from a consumer that believes that Roy is PR poison for AMD. On The Tech Report side, Scott seems pretty offended and hurt (not angry) that AMD thinks that their reviews are no fair. He even updated his article to tell us that he spoke to Roy on the phone and that even though he seems like a decent guy, he think Roy's personality is "too-strong".
So What Now?
I think Roy either needs some additional PR training before he is allowed to speak for the company again, or he should just be moved to a different position. There does seem to be some good news on the Radeon horizon. For the first time since AMD bought ATI, it is giving the responsibility of their graphics division to one man, Raja Koduri. It seems like Koduri has been making some good decisions and even Kyle says that he is the right man for the job. Let's all hope Kyle is right about him because (according to analysts) AMD has only 20% of the discrete GPU market right now. If their market share gets much lower, we could end up with a GPU monopoly that is dominated by Nvidia. Just in case you didn't know, monopolies are bad because once Radeon is dead, Nvidia won't need to improve their product and they can charge much higher prices.