|Type of site||online magazine|
|Created by||Kyle Bennett|
Hard|OCP (Hardware Overclockers Comparison Page) is an online magazine that offers news, reviews, and editorials that relate to computer hardware, software, modding, overclocking and cooling, owned and operated by Kyle Bennett, who started the website in 1997.
Hard|OCP reviews some of the products and technologies in an untraditional form by focusing on "real-world" gameplay opinions when it comes to computer hardware reviews. [H]ard|OCP does not review all of the products based upon performance in synthetic benchmarks such as 3Dmark but instead bases some of its reviews on the computing experience that the product provides to the end user.
Hard|OCP vs. Infinium Labs
On September 17, 2003, Hard|OCP writer Steve Lynch posted an investigative report concerning Infinium Labs (now named Phantom Entertainment) and its CEO, Tim Roberts. On February 19, 2004, Infinium's lawyers sent a letter to Bennett alleging libel and demanding a retraction. Bennett responded by filing suit against Infinium under the Declaratory Judgement Act, which allowed KB networks (the legal entity behind [H]ard|OCP) to force legal resolution of the issue. Facing sanctions from the Court and an order to produce detailed financial information, Infinium settled the suit by admitting all of the allegations in the complaint, dropping their co-pending lawsuit, and paying approximately US$50,000 to Hard|OCP. Hard|OCP reportedly incurred close to US$250,000 in expenses during the course of this lawsuit.
Hard|OCP maintains a forum community (based on vBulletin) called Hard|Forum which has over one hundred and sixty thousand registered users and hosts over 12.9 million posts. Hard|Forum is composed of several dozen subforums covering numerous topics related to computer hardware and software. It is also the birthplace of the General Mayhem forum community, which was split off from the Hard|Forum. General Mayhem is now back at HardForum.com but is available to subscriptions users only.
The original HardForums contained an area for off-topic discussion, known as "General Mayhem." Bennett closed the General Mayhem subforum on July 3, 2002, and many users who disagreed with this decision were banned due to grossly disregarding the rules put forth. On July 4, 2002, some forum members broke off and started their own website, Genmay.com. Sanjay Sabnani acquired Genmay.com in 2002 and founded General Mayhem, LLC, in May 2004. On April 2, 2008, it merged into CrowdGather, Inc., CRWG.OB. This independent incarnation of General Mayhem was responsible for the Christopher Walken for President campaign.
Dispute with Falcon Northwest
In 2005, Falcon Northwest's President, Kelt Reeves, had a dispute with Hard|OCP, which had received a system from Falcon that performed less than optimally, with noted instability, and reported these findings to their reader base.
In the exchange that followed, Reeves disputed Hard|OCP's findings, saying that Hard|OCP had publicized incorrect claims with questionable objectivity about which piece of hardware was the true cause of the instability. (Reeves stated that both he and Hard|OCP had initially assumed that the problem lay with the motherboard but later discovered that the video card was at fault.) Falcon quality assurance testing included 14 hours of looping the 3D graphics benchmark 3DMark 2005 in an 85°F room, but upon receipt of the returned system, it could no longer complete that test without crashing. Falcon Northwest offered to repair the system and send it back to Hard|OCP for testing, which refused this solution, stating that it would interfere with the anonymous testing process.
Hard|Gaming was a Counter-Strike based gaming community founded by "Duck" and "Hondaman," friends of Bennett. They received web and server hosting from Hard|OCP but operated without interference from anyone at the mother community. During their 5 year run, 2001–2006, they attracted a number of regular gamers and hosted several tournaments and stats-based prize competitions. All prizes were donated by Hard|OCP, often previously tested hardware from recent reviews. Hard|Gaming closed in Winter 2006 after many attempts by Duck to maintain a working server setup. The cause of the community's decline was due to insufficient support of Valve Software, the maker of Counter-Strike.
The End of H|Consumer and H|Console
In the summer of 2006, then-Managing Editor Chris Morley left Hard|OCP to take a job at Velocity Micro as Director of Product Development. On April 26, 2007, H Consumer was shut down for financial reasons. Jason Wall, Managing Editor of H|Consumer, posted a forum topic which explained why the section was shutting down. It was made clear that the old articles of H|Consumer would still be available for visitors to read. H|Console was also shut down.