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Chris Angelini On Tom's Hardware In 2012

I just got back from CES 2012. And although I’ve attended a great many Consumer Electronics Shows, Computexes, and Comdexes (never a CeBIT), this year’s show was by far the most intense. It wasn’t that there were tons of really awesome products. In fact, on the PC side, I came away flatly underwhelmed. Nvidia wasn't ready to show off Kepler. AMD's Trinity was up and running, but no comment on availability. Intel 7-series chipsets were on boards, but with little new to discuss aside from integrated USB 3.0. Rather, the hustle was a direct result of nearly 50 scheduled meetings, meals, and parties. Additional editorial staff drove out at the last minute to cover an additional 20 or so get-togethers that I just couldn’t fit in.

In years past, we probably wouldn’t have been so busy. But our scope is expanding. You already know Tom’s Hardware as a place where enthusiasts and the tech-curious go to learn about the latest PC-oriented hardware, how it works, and whether it’s worth spending your hard-earned money on. That won’t change. We’re still enthusiasts passionate about getting maximum value out of our machines. As you probably noticed over the past six months, though, we’ve also added tablet coverage. In classic Tom’s Hardware style, we’re coming up with new ways of testing, including a unique display suite that allows us to quantify the performance of an LCD panel.

You’ll continue seeing tablets in 2012, along with smartphone coverage (our first review went live during CES: Nokia Lumia 710 Review: Windows Phone 7 On A Budget). We plan to cover Ultrabooks, of course, particularly once Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture makes them a little more interesting than Windows-based MacBook Air clones. And we made some interesting contacts at CES that should help pave our way into the world of automotive infotainment, too.

Again, though, don’t fret over a departure from our bread and butter. Graphics, processing, motherboards, memory, cases, cooling, and build guides all remain core components of our editorial calendar. I’d even like to see us go into more depth in those segments. To that end, I’ll be expanding our editorial team with experts in several different fields over the next couple of months so that we’re able to satisfy your tech cravings with even more meaty content in the year to come.

Charts

One area of the site that continues seeing updates is our charts section. Truth be told, I think that the charts interface could use some help to simplify navigation and product-to-product comparisons. Even still, there’s a ton of data added on a regular basis, and we now cover graphics cards, hard drives, SSDs, CPUs, power supplies, external storage (memory cards, thumb drives, and hard drives), processor cooling, and NAS appliances. Our 2012 graphics benchmark suite and platform was recently finalized, so you’ll start seeing updates with the latest games, GPU compute applications, temps, and acoustic measurements shortly.

Contests

I also want to take a moment to address the contests we regularly run on Tom’s Hardware. More so last year than any before, we gave away an incredible amount of gear. Predominantly, though, only residents of the United States, excluding Rhode Island, were eligible to win.

Our international audience is massive, and we appreciate the patronage of everyone who reads Tom’s Hardware outside of the U.S. But the unfortunate reality for us is that contests are categorized as sweepstakes/lotteries, putting them under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.  Certain countries require entrants to solve a puzzle, creating a contest of skill. Other times, big customs duties make shipping prizes prohibitively expensive.

As such, contests on tomshardware.com necessarily remain limited to our American audience. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have Tom’s Hardware sites in France, England, Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia, and Turkey. So, I see no reason why 2012 shouldn’t see our international sites extend more giveaway opportunities to their local audiences as well, which we’d be happy to link to here.

I should also note that Tom’s Hardware recently won Samsung’s 830 SSD contest, which involved explaining solid-state technology as simply as possible. Because that one was hosted by Samsung itself, 15 of our readers, locally and internationally, are going to be given 128 GB drives.

BestConfigs

The BestConfigs section, designed to give our readers an easy place to send friends and family for community-approved upgrade advice, is in dire need of an update. I’ll be working with Joe Pishgar, our community manager, over the next couple of weeks to get new threads in the forums so that you can pick your favorite components for each of our 10 different build categories. Stay tuned.

Get Involved

Over the last year, we took more cues than ever from our audience. We polled you on Facebook, collected your feedback in the comments section of news stories asking for your preferred benchmarks, and communicated with you over Twitter.

I realize that there are plenty of Tom’s Hardware regulars who have no interest in social media, and that’s fine. However, I want to make sure that the door remains open to anyone with constructive feedback on ways we can better satisfy you with our writing, testing, and content direction. You’re more than welcome to jump onto my Twitter page and join the handful of regulars with whom I discuss upcoming stories, collect feedback on certain tests, and share information from private meetings at the shows I attend.

Have A Great 2012!

We have a lot of exciting content planned for the next 12 months. Multiple Radeon HD 7970s are currently sitting on test beds behind me. Radeon HD 7950s are expected soon. Intel’s Ivy Bridge architecture is nearly upon us. And Xeon E5s should be arriving in the next couple of months, too.

Really, though, some of the best stories and series are the ones we didn’t explicitly plan, but were presented by Tom’s Hardware readers with great ideas. Adam Overa’s line-up of Web Browser Grand Prixs, Paul Henningsen’s Balanced PC stories, and Dr. Alan Dang’s security coverage were all high points of the last year. As mentioned, I’m looking to introduce several more writers’ ideas to the site. If you think you have what it takes, check out the news post I just published.

Chris Angelini