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Geekbench Pre-Release Hardware Policies Aren’t New, Founder Says

Image of a Ryzen engineering sample
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Earlier today, a tweet from the Twitter account @Benchleaks declaring "Geekbench ded [sic]" shocked some PC hardware enthusiasts, as it featured an error message claiming that pre-release hardware has been blocked from the benchmark's browser database.

Geekbench error message

(Image credit: Primate Labs)

But according to John Poole, the founder and president of Primate Labs, which makes Geekbench, that message is actually months old, and the policy of blocking pre-release hardware has been going on for years.

"We've blocked pre-release hardware (e.g., Intel 0000 processors) from the Geekbench Browser for years now," Poole told Tom's Hardware in an email. "The page that's making the rounds is a new error page that we introduced a few months ago."

Poole did not answer questions regarding why Geekbench is blocking these results. He said that people should still be able to run tests on unreleased hardware using Geekbench without issue, but that it's not meant to show up in the public-facing browser.

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The error message specifically refers to engineering samples (ES) and qualification samples (QS), which are pre-production silicon that Intel, AMD and others provide to system builders and software vendors to test their latest wares, and aren't always completely identical to what ships as a final product.

This doesn't stop people from hunting down unreleased laptops, desktops, phones or other hardware. The block is on the component level, Poole said, so if an unreleased laptop, for example, had existing chips, that is allowed through per current policy.

But ES and QS samples (like the AMD Renoir laptop CPU picture atop this article) often have other identifying strings attached, so it's possible those may continue to slip through. Despite the block on Intel 0000 processors Poole mentioned, we've seen them on Geekbench as recently as this summer in what appear to be leaks of systems with Intel's 12th Gen "Alder Lake" processors.

Poole said that Primate Labs has "updated the 'Intel 0000' check at the beginning of July since newer Intel CPUs were using a different CPUID string." He said nothing of other component manufacturers.

Poole did not respond to follow-up questions regarding how this policy is enforced.

If this policy has been in place for years, it hasn't shown. Geekbench has been a go-to source for bots and Twitter leakers to find new information. Perhaps the new error message means that Primate Labs is taking the issue more seriously now. But only time will tell if it is "ded" to leakers or not.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.