Premium: The PC Build Race Disaster of 2014

Norm competes in the annual PC Build Race for charity, with Will and special guest Nathan Edwards providing color commentary. Third time’s the charm, right? But everything that could go wrong, went wrong. So very wrong.

Comments (46)

46 thoughts on “Premium: The PC Build Race Disaster of 2014

  1. I’m confused as to why stopped building if he hadn’t actually finished…? I mean, sure they said his name, but if he hadn’t actually finished the build then surely he must have known it was a mistake! Had he booted the PC up at that point? Other than the name being called out, what exactly made him think he’d won?

    Also, why is this premium content? In the original announcement Norm made a point of saying “none of the stuff that we do right now, the stuff you love …. all that stays on the site, free for everyone”. The PC build contest has always been a featured video on the site, so why put it behind the pay wall now? This isn’t the “extra content” that was promised, I’d rather that everyone in the Tested community was able to see this, whether they paid or not.

    The CES 2014 “What’s in your bag” video, again, premium content… but you’ve always done those videos before so pay walling them seems cheap. I don’t feel like I’m getting any extra for my money there and you’re denying that from the free readers, so who is winning?

    The stuff that should be behind the pay wall is the stupid stuff! The sort of content that might put off regular or casual readers, but that is more personal to your subscribers. For instance, the recent blog that Adam wrote for his Behind The Myths tour, that would have made good premium content, it’s not really news or a feature article. But it lets us have bonus content without it affecting the coverage of relevant stuff for everyone.

  2. This is the first premium video I’m sad I missed.

    But is alright, you need a little time to figure out what content goes where.

  3. I don’t look at it as a paywall. I suppose it depends on your intentions for signing up as a premium member. I’ve loved their work since day 1, so I’ve never had an issue with paying a very small sum of money for a product / team I enjoy, which I’ve received as a free item for years.

    I haven’t watched this video yet, but I’ll have to take a look when I get to work.

  4. Thanks Dave. I’m going to have more to say about this later today (after we record our first podcast of the year–the big CES recap), but if you read Will’s CES rant, you can get the sense that this is not the same event that it was for us two or three years ago. We intentionally brought our barebones team to cover it (two videos are up, with nine more coming) because there are still interesting things here, but didn’t have the bandwidth (figuratively and literally) to do the same kind of CES that we’ve done in years past (three producers, two field reporters, live streams, 30+ videos). The premium stuff we put up this week wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t spend the extra time on it–we weren’t going to do the PC Build thing at all because it conflicted with another event but wanted to do something for our supporters. It’s a very different video than the one we’ve done in years past–unedited and shot off the cuff so it wouldn’t come at the expense of the product coverage we’re here to do. Joey stayed up late and worked extra hours for it because we thought it’s the kind of behind-the-scenes thing that the people who support us would enjoy.

  5. Thanks for explaining Norm, I think that for the time being you could try explaining in the premium content videos why they are there. I think it better explains your reasoning and in exchange you could get better feedback from us. Just food for thought, keep the great content going!

  6. I too have read Tested and been a member of the community since day one. I was a Whisky media member before and quite honestly don’t have a problem with paying just to support the site. For me, there doesn’t need to be a pay-wall, I’ll subscribe and be happy for everyone to benefit from the extra content. I understand that not everyone will share that opinion and so there is a need to provide an incentive to sign up.

    I just don’t think the guys have found the right balance yet, hence why I questioned the reason for this video being for premium members. I certainly appreciate the extra effort that Joey put in, it’s not my intention to detract from all your hard work.

    As for CES itself, is it that CES has changed, or you? The site has certainly shifted focus (for the better) in the last 18 months to 2 years. I just wonder if you guys don’t care so much for new tech now, whether you actually realise it or not… and there’s really nothing wrong with that!

    I read Will’s post and it was great, but CES has always been full of outlandish electronics and “the next big thing”, which invariably isn’t. It’s driven by the latest fad, 3D, tablets… you name it, most years have a theme. This years seems to be curved screens for some reason.

    You took a “barebones” team to cover it, so you clearly went in with a certain pre-determined outlook on the event.

  7. Why does this page require flash player? I can watch any of your other videos on my mac without flash installed, this page requires me to pretend I am using an iPad to watch the video. What gives?

  8. I have to assume this was followed by a private ceremony in which Gordan Ung confiscated Norm’s PC Gaming Master Race membership card.

  9. Super disappointed this is Premium content, I had assumed Premium Content would be new original stuff, not things that had been free in years past… :

    Still waiting to hear back from my tested support ticket about unused premium time from the whiskey switch that Will told me to submit btw… 🙁

  10. I subscribed because I liked the existing content. Bonus stuff is just gravy. Keep up the good work, guys.

  11. People need to eat and I also don´t work for free normally. So a pay wall is actually fine by me.

    I rather feel that stuff that had a price tag before (newspaper articles e.g.) has to be for free now. That cannot work in the long run.

    So it simply swings back around. There is really no such thing as a free lunch (apart from the free lunch from the welfare army but everybody here seems to be cool to drop a lot of dough into tech so it´s not the same demographic I guess 🙂

  12. Nobody in this thread is complaining about paying for stuff are they? I’m not sure what the point you’re trying to make is. Perhaps you can make yourself a bit clearer?

  13. Has anyone else noticed that half of the comments under the premium videos are complaints about why this isn’t free? Maybe premium members should be the only ones who can comment under premium content. It might clear up the distracting comments. “You pay – you get to say” (under premium).

  14. When Berman Braun bought Tested, I just assumed that there would no longer be a need for a paywall. Especially with the connection to Adam/Jamie. I guess I just don’t know what the paywall is for. Is it going to Will/Norm/Joey/etc? Is it paying for their operating costs (Electric/Water/Internet/etc)? Is it allowing them to do things that they normally wouldn’t have in the budget (Lego Builds)? Is it keeping afloat because Berman Braun is thinking of shutting the site down? Is it just to make Berman Braun money because that’s what companies do? If that’s the case, then I understand the ads. If I knew where or had a breakdown of where the money was going, I’d feel better about paying it.

  15. As many people commented on the fact that they felt that this wouldn´t have been behind a pay wall before I can only deduce that some (not all) might mean that they should have continued as before. It also means some people (even subscribers) might feel that they should be rewarded with better things than before.

    So same stuff as before = no fee

    different/more interesting/wilder content = okay to pay

    That would be great in an ideal world but I have always felt that there is no way in hell that Berman Braun keeps this running just for the fun of it. Whiskey media (god rest its soul) was great but did not have enough revenue to keep them afloat. Jamie and Adam don´t make any money from this as of now, I am willing to bet on that.

    In no other field you would be asking a company why they charge for something. If it´s a movie and you aren´t interested you just don´t go. If it´s a device and you don´t see its worth you don´t buy it.

    So I understand everybody´s sentiment but put yourself in Norm´s and Will´s (also Joey my man!) shoes. How would you like to discuss the worth of somebody´s investment in a hamburger with you being the cook or the quality of a movie with you being the actors?

    And this is a situation where we have been given 1000s of hours of entertainment. Gary is not getting paid, Nor is Vinny to come on the show.

  16. Love you guys and I gladly paid for yearly Whiskey membership back then, but it’s a shame this is premium. Among all the bullshit at CES, this video is something I look forward to at each one.

  17. Maybe I’m just not the target market for Premium, but it’s kind of off-putting for me. You leave all the boring, pedestrian coverage you can get at ANY other tech site available for free, and put the interesting/silly videos behind the paywall. I can see why you do that; charge for the content that is unique to your site. And yet, I don’t think there’s anything on Tested that’s worth $40 of money I really don’t have. You’re just hiding away the content that *does* bring me to Tested, but not $40’s worth. I realize out in California, $40 is how much it costs to buy a coffee, but for some of us that’s real money. I don’t mean to sound crotchety or ungrateful, I like the site and I understand you guys gotta do what you gotta do… but, I just thought I’d explain why Premium content has made me start visiting more like once a week rather than every day. Your other content’s fine, but it’s the same coverage available elsewhere.

  18. I am bummed this is premium. But you guys are the best out there and I love all you do. No bitching here, just a little bummed. You have provided me and my family with so many “ah-ha” moments that I will hold nothing against you all, in fact when money open up here you are on my list of things to used it on. Thank you for always teaching as I am always trying to learning. Cheers to you all. Happy new years!!!

  19. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh to the users thus far disillusioned with the premium content scheme, but: I don’t think it’s possible to have our cake and eat it too. Tested is such a small website that I can’t see from any angle how it is possible to divide resources in such a way as to maintain the current “free” content stream and add additional, worthwhile premium content, with zero overlap.

    “Worthwhile” differs from person to person, and while the “behind the scenes” style clips are nice and require less production anything more than that isn’t feasible in the long term with their current staff. It’s just not.

    For many the sub is worthwhile just to support the site, which is seperate from this conversation.

  20. I think some of the additional comments past my last reply reaffirms that my suggestion should be implemented.

  21. When I play premium videos it is very choppy. Is anyone else having this problem? Same problem on Chrome and Firefox.



  22. While I agree in principle with your suggestion (as people who can’t see the content can’t really comment on it), isn’t it truly refreshing that nobody has been aggressive, rude or obnoxious. Just people voicing their opinions with reasoning. It really speaks volumes for the awesome Tested community, you don’t really get this anywhere else.

    I’m also concious that some people may be mis-interpretting what I’ve been saying. So just to re-iterate, I am happy to be a premium member, I love Tested and appreciate all the work , , and the team do. I was just voicing my own opinion, that I’d like some of the premium content we have access to available to everyone.

    Basically, this isn’t the sort of stuff I had expected to pay for, I’d rather have no premium content so everyone can enjoy this stuff if this is the way things are going to be.

    Where I feel they got the premium content right is in the tour bus videos, and the lifecast timelapse. In those examples the tour bus stuff were short and not really “mainstream” Tested produce. In the lifecast time-lapse, everyone got to watch the main lifecast video and articles, premium members got a little bonus time-lapse, this is perfect!

    Perhaps an example of how they might have possibly done this better…. make an edited PC contest build video for everyone (which I know takes time), this would then be ad-supported and keep everyone happy. If they then wanted to release a “full length” unedited version for Premium members, that’s where the bonus content comes into play. So us members would get the video you see above, everyone else gets a shorter, maybe 5-10min version.

  23. When I play premium videos it is very choppy. Is anyone else having this problem? Same problem on Chrome and Firefox.



    I suspect some of those issues are with Amazon’s servers. I’ve attached a screen shot of downloading the video to watch. (It’s unwatchable for me as a stream). Somewhere along the pipe, there is a major slowdown/throttling. This does not appear to be an issue on my side.

  24. And just some data on the hip-hops…


    Traceroute has started…

    traceroute: Warning: has multiple addresses; using

    traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 72 byte packets

    1 bottleworks ( 1.035 ms 3.138 ms 0.853 ms

    2 nc-**-***-***-* (**.***.***.*) 28.008 ms 28.495 ms 29.670 ms

    3 ( 28.242 ms 28.042 ms 28.492 ms

    4 ( 34.857 ms 35.502 ms 35.221 ms

    5 ( 54.727 ms 53.532 ms 51.425 ms

    6 ( 53.476 ms 55.399 ms 55.642 ms

    7 ( 47.628 ms 48.231 ms 46.648 ms

    8 ( 44.218 ms 47.179 ms 43.655 ms

    9 ( 47.679 ms 46.459 ms 46.679 ms

  25. I would rather have tons of adds (even in the videos) then be locked out of what has always been free content. I can’t even comment on the video because I’m not able to pay for a subscription.

    Why can’t you guys ask for donations? or even do the premium thing as extras like behind the scenes and additional little videos. Things that are nice like DVD extras, but don’t screw up your experience.

    You guys at tested are so smart, I know you can figure out a way to make everyone happy and still offer your content free.

  26. Its something to do with the service they’re hosting with instead of youtube. Pause and let it buffer first and it works fine. It doesn’t wait for a large segment to buffer and it seems to take a bit more bandwidth.

  27. Yeah, I’m not saying that everything should be free, having premium content is totally fine.

    But locking this behind premium feels like the exact opposite of what the first FAQ answer says, that’s all.

    “We are not changing the day-to-day format of the site, nor are we moving any existing content franchises or videos behind a paywall. If you don’t want to pay for Tested content, your experience will remain the same as it is today. We created the subscription plan because we have great ideas for new additional content, and we need audience support to develop and produce the ideas.”

  28. I paid for a premium account because I love the website. I do not mind supporting people who do things I like. Was the PC build off video free last year? Yep. But times change. I signed up for premium the first day it was available, got my t-shirt, and have no regrets.

  29. I paid for a premium account because I love the website. I do not mind supporting people who do things I like. Was the PC build off video free last year? Yep. But times change. I signed up for premium the first day it was available, got my t-shirt, and have no regrets.

    Yeah, I’m not saying that everything should be free, having premium content is totally fine.

    But locking this behind premium feels like the exact opposite of what the first FAQ answer says, that’s all.

    Here’s the thing guys, Will Smith said,

    Don’t freak out. A premium membership plan doesn’t mean we’re going to start paywalling the content you’ve come to love–we aren’t changing any of the content that’s on the site already and it will remain free. We’ll still post the same great articles, videos, and podcasts every day that you’ve grown accustomed to and that stuff will remain 100% free to view and enjoy –

    making your CES coverage, which has always been free (even back in the days of Whiskey Media Premium Membership) premium content is pretty shitty. Here’s the content I’ve enjoyed since 2011… and it’s premium now. It should be value added, like Will Smith’s Jar Time or the A.I. commentary.

  30. Man, this is some rough shot video, it makes me really appreciate how much editing goes into regular videos, thanks Joey!

    I am glad there is so much free content on Tested, people will complain about everything these days.

  31. Don’t listen to the complainers. People need to just break out the wallet and pay 5 bucks a month, or save yourself some money and buy a yearly membership.

    Times change so get on with the program, or stop complaining here….. PLEASE MAKE PREMIUM VIDEO COMMENTS FOR PREMIUM USERS ONLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your eagerness to build segregation is only mostly horrifying. You not only want to separate the haves and the have not, but. your solution to the complaining is to take away the voice of the people who feel wronged. You’re a monster.I don’t like what I hear so I want them to turn it off. Great.

    …Are you Greg Gopman?

    The difference is in other cosmopolitan cities, the lower part of society keep to themselves. They sell small trinkets, beg coyly, stay quiet, and generally stay out of your way. They realize it’s a privilege to be in the civilized part of town and view themselves as guests. And that’s okay.
    In downtown SF the degenerates gather like hyenas, spit, urinate, taunt you, sell drugs, get rowdy, they act like they own the center of the city. Like it’s their place of leisure… In actuality it’s the business district for one of the wealthiest cities in the USA. It a disgrace. I don’t even feel safe walking down the sidewalk without planning out my walking path.
    You can preach compassion, equality, and be the biggest lover in the world, but there is an area of town for degenerates and an area of town for the working class. There is nothing positive gained from having them so close to us. It’s a burden and a liability having them so close to us. Believe me, if they added the smallest iota of value I’d consider thinking different, but the crazy toothless lady who kicks everyone that gets too close to her cardboard box hasn’t made anyone’s life better in a while.

    Sorry, I didn’t meant to ruin your premium experience Greg.

  32. ! Yeah, because this is totally a class war.

    Norm did a pretty good job of explaining why CES coverage would be different this year, and how they don’t have the resources on hand to do a ton of content. I suppose one can accept the explanation or not. I don’t necessarily agree with keeping premium content comments premium only, but the other side of the argument has hardly been any less divisive in its tone.

  33. One of the issues that I see with non-premium members commenting in premium content is that they don’t have access to that content. Therefore, it will be off-topic, or only a complaint that they can’t access it for free.

    It’s like doing a movie review on a movie that hasn’t even come out.

  34. I’m not in the habit of backing losers, win next year or I’m not re-upping my subscription….well that might be a little extreme but dammit I want Tested to at least medal!

  35. Great video! Feel really bad for Norm, I hate when people don’t take care with names. Like it’s not importnat. It’s THE most important part of any competition – to get all the names right. Also the way the video ended, it would have been cool if Will threw the mic on the ground stand up style screaming “We’re out!”

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