Controversial benchmarking website goes behind partial paywall — Userbenchmark now requires a $10 monthly subscription [Update]

AMD Ryzen CPUs
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Update, 2/18/24 8:40am PT: Userbenchmark’s testing software still has a free version but with a catch: According to user reports, only a limited unspecified number of users can test for free at any one time, and if no slots are open, then only subscribers to the $10-per-year Pro plan can test — users will get the notification that they will have to sign into a paid Pro account to use the app.

When there are free slots, users will have to complete a 3D captcha minigame where the goal is to shoot down 13 ships. The minigame isn’t particularly difficult on the surface, but it can get very tedious as there are very few opportunities for users to actually shoot down any ships. We attempted to complete the captcha ourselves but gave up after a few minutes.

Original article:

Userbenchmark is notorious for denouncing AMD CPUs and GPUs and being the source of many leaks for upcoming chips. However, the website’s history of leaking seems to be over, thanks to Userbenchmark imposing a $10-per-year fee to use its benchmark (via @ghost_motley).

For the uninitiated, Userbenchmark is ostensibly a website where users can download a benchmarking tool, run it on their PC, and then upload the results back to Userbenchmark for comparison. It’s a very similar concept to 3DMark, and the website has six sections: CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, HDDs, RAM, and USB sticks.

As far as we can tell, the benchmark itself isn’t particularly remarkable. It uses basic libraries from Windows and open-source software; if Userbenchmark is skewing performance results, as many critics claim, it’s probably done on the website rather than the testing software. The value proposition for a $10 fee doesn’t seem to make much sense, and it’s unlikely there will be many customers.

This probably means the end of hardware leaks cropping up on Userbenchmark, which has been the source for many early leaks for chips like Ryzen 3000 and Intel’s Tiger Lake. After all, the fact that Userbenchmark was accessible and straightforward was probably why engineers working with early silicon used it. However, the benchmark’s CPU-memory latency test is pretty unique and notable.

The other side of Userbenchmark is its infamous criticism toward AMD CPUs and GPUs. Entries for mainstream CPUs and GPUs have a mini-review attached to them, and nearly all of them mention phrases like “AMD’s army of Advanced Marketing scammers” and “AMD’s Neanderthal marketing techniques.” The reviews often charge AMD with making it “difficult for consumers to make rational choices” because it has allegedly taken over all levels of social media.

Userbenchmark wasn’t always like this, though. Founded in 2011 as whoratesit, it was a social media platform for rating all sorts of things, from movies to books to computer software and hardware. Eventually, the website rebranded itself to Userbenchmark in 2013 and had even-handed opinions toward AMD for years. Things only changed in mid-2019, when the website reacted against the high performance of AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs by making changes that favored lower core count CPUs, which would benefit Intel’s 9th-gen chips.

Although Userbenchmark somewhat tempered its rhetoric in that specific instance, the website has been increasingly critical of AMD products. Today, Userbenchmark practically accuses the company of masterminding all discourse about CPUs and GPUs any time AMD comes out with a new CPU or GPU. The new paywall will likely be another controversy to put on the pile.

Matthew Connatser

Matthew Connatser is a freelancing writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes articles about CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, and computers in general.

  • Kamen Rider Blade
    I doubt anybody will care and it's going to flounder.
  • COLGeek
    This is the most "meh" thing I have read all day. Good riddance as I am sure it will be a tremendous success...not.
  • stonecarver
    In 2016/17 you could go there and get at least results between GPU A and B.

    I always scratched my head where there math came up with there % calculation.

    You used to be shown FPS also between card A or B with games as well and that today is a flaky slope.

    It always got the year release of GPU off as well.

    Not gonna miss it as it was already bad.
  • usertests
    And nothing of value was lost.
  • purposelycryptic
    Good riddance to bad trash - especially since they even decided to walk themselves to the curb.
  • Bennett_2
    Admin said:
    Infamous for its rants about AMD and leaking early hardware samples, Userbenchmark will now be charging users to run its benchmark tool.

    Controversial benchmarking website goes behind paywall — Userbenchmark now requires a £10 monthly subscription : Read more

    I get that the author is trying to be non-biased... But userbenchmark's bias is very well documented. Hell, go on there and compare the 12700p against the 7745hx. Userbenchmark's result is that the 12700p is 20% faster than the 7745hx. Go to literally any other source and it will say the 7745hx is between 10-20% faster.

    Userbenchmark has consistently changed their scoring criteria, cherry picking (and often boardline falsifying) data to make Intel look better than AMD.
  • mdd1963
    Admin said:
    Infamous for its rants about AMD and leaking early hardware samples, Userbenchmark will now be charging users to run its benchmark tool.

    Controversial benchmarking website goes behind paywall — Userbenchmark now requires a £10 monthly subscription : Read more
    This plan has 'Mega Fail' written all over it.....; nobody is paying $10 even *once*, much less monthly for this 'service'.
  • Notton
    The only way that site's finances makes sense to me, is if they get paid gobs of money by Intel behind the scenes.
    There's no way that site rakes in enough money on its own when they pay google to boost their search results.
  • ddelrio
    Good riddance.
  • HopefulToad
    How to Utterly Decimate Your User Base: A Guide
    Starring UserBenchmark
    Edit: Except... I visited the website itself and see no evidence of this anywhere. You'd think if they were moving to some kind of subscription-only service, it'd be the first button I could click on their home page. TH, can you provide a better source than some random dude on TwXtter?

    Edit 2: Just downloaded UserBenchmark test suite and I'm running it now, without having paid $10 first. So, make of that what you will.

    Userbenchmark is obviously biased and unprofessional in their published write-ups, and their comparisons between hardware may not be the best, but it's still useful for sanity-checking your system to make sure it's performing about as expected.

    Edit 3: I did have to solve a "captcha" in the form of playing a game where you shoot the red ships. When I ran the test a second time, it took much longer to do. Still, not exactly paywalled.