Is “Fanboyism” Actually A GOOD Thing For The PC Industry?!

Many people in technology rightly point to really toxic comments and behaviors from a small majority of fans – whether that’s “AMD Fanboys” or Intel/NVIDIA fans.

Clearly toxic behaviour is always wrong, but can generally “fanboyism” actually be a force for good in some cases? That’s the question that I discuss in today’s video.

I have been reflecting on the post-Bulldozer launch of 2011 (the disappointing AMD CPU launch) and how it felt like Intel just pumped out marginally improved CPUs each year because of the lack of competition. AMD’s Ryzen launch in 2017 seemed to bring back a real sense of “fanboy” culture and excitement in the PC hardware industry, and I’m not convinced that this is actually all bad.

But what do you think? Please check out my thoughts in this video and let me know.

If you prefer text over video, please read on for the guide/transcript version of this video.

Video Transcript And Guide


Hey everyone, I’ve been weighing up whether to shoot this video because I don’t want it to be seen as clickbait – and having a title like “AMD Fanboys are AWESOME” (or whatever) is y’know clearly not great. However this is more of a “my thoughts” type video, and I’d love to hear your own views down in the comments.

Bulldozer Launch In 2011

So, the reason why I’m shooting this video is that I was around when AMD released the REALLY anticipated Bulldozer architecture back in 2011:

Original review from 2011 of the AMD Bulldozer launch
Original review from 2011 of the AMD Bulldozer launch

And it BOMBED. It was nowhere near as good as people thought it would be, and in some cases it was WORSE than the previous gen Phenom II chips. This led to a sliding share price, and EVEN rumours in 2012 that AMD might go bankrupt.

What followed was a series of lackluster Intel CPU launches year on year on year because, pfft, they had no real competition. In some ways it was quite a boring time for PC hardware. That’s why I’m happy that there’s now competition again, and also that there’s SOME LEVEL of “fanboyism” because that in itself can help drive competition and innovation.

Fanboyism Good And Bad Points

Now I’ll come back to the Bulldozer failure and successful Ryzen launch later, but I’m NOT saying in this video that “fanboyism” is ALWAYS a good thing. Clearly if someone is a huge NVIDIA fan (for example) and they released a terrible GPU, then people shouldn’t buy it purely because they’re a fan. The same goes for AMD and Intel products of course. Equally if somebody’s being blinded to a product’s faults and really insulting people in “rival camps” then that’s CLEARLY not a good thing either.

But one obvious benefit to me of the Ryzen launch in 2017 is that there seems to be more energy and excitement in the tech industry nowadays, compared to the post-Bulldozer lull.

An AMD press release announcing Ryzen back in 2017
An AMD press release announcing Ryzen back in 2017

And THAT can actually be a good thing, especially if it generates more dedicated and vocal fans because THIS can then help keep company’s on their toes. Having an army of “AMD fanboys” – for example – means that there’s always going to be a very vocal group of people that actually criticize any bad aspects of AMD CPUs and GPUs (because they are such big fans), and this pressure can help deliver better product launches in theory. This might seem like a counter-intuitive point because most people would point to “toxic AMD fanboys” who constantly seem to criticize Intel and NVIDIA and always buy AMD, no matter what.

Someone on Reddit saying that the Intel subreddit is much less toxic than the AMD one
Someone on Reddit saying that the Intel subreddit is much less toxic than the AMD one

And this unhelpful culture DOES exist within a small minority, I agree. But ignoring them, the majority of “AMD fanboys” (in this particular example) ARE fairly balanced and in my opinion do help to drive products forward by keeping AMD on their toes – like I mentioned earlier.

AMD Software Improvements

I also feel like this has helped improve AMD’s software which at one point wasn’t great. Yes there’s still some annoying driver bugs in the GPU range, but a lot of AMD’s software has improved LOADS in recent years – something which many AMD fans have been very vocal about, and quick to provide feedback for over the years. Would this improvement have happened if we were still in the post-Bulldozer doldrums when there was a bit more of a blase feeling to everything? Maybe it would have, but I personally like to think that the fans out there have actually helped to drive positive change here.

Fanboyism = More Information And Help?

Another benefit of “fanboys” is that it can result in a greater culture of discussions, troubleshooting and information sharing. You see this with ANY industry, of course, but I think that having really dedicated Intel, NVIDIA or AMD fans means that there’s always lots of YouTube videos, podcasts and websites to refer to, and always someone on Reddit (or some forums) to help you out.

The AMD subreddit always has lots of people online and is more active than the Intel one
The AMD subreddit always has lots of people online and is more active than the Intel one

It’s similar with Tesla for example: there’s LOTS of help and information out there for new Tesla owners – probably more so than if you just purchased a new Mercedes Benz (for example).

So I do really think that a “fanboy culture” can genuinely help effect change.

Reflecting On… A TV Show?!

In fact, just over a decade ago there was a TV show that I loved called Chuck. This was a comedy spy-drama that aired on NBC and its ratings were always “meh”. Every year, NBC execs ‘ummed and ahhed’ about whether to cancel the show.

TV Series Finale website screenshot discussing that NBC execs ordered a few more Chuck episodes
TV Series Finale website screenshot discussing that NBC execs ordered a few more Chuck episodes

And certainly, shows with Chuck’s ratings did frequently get canned. But Chuck had a small group of VERY passionate fans and they ran various “save Chuck” campaigns every year, and this led to Chuck being renewed for five seasons in total, which was pretty impressive considering that there were shows with much better ratings that never got anywhere near a fifth season. NBC execs and show producers regularly credited fans with driving the show forward so much.

So I do think that a “fanboy culture” and brand rivalries CAN be positive because it can spur innovation as companies try to one-up each other.

Market Forces And Stock Markets

But of course, the situation in tech isn’t quite the same as TV shows owned by a private network in many cases. AMD, Intel and NVIDIA ARE stock market listed companies and so they’re naturally driven BIG TIME by competition and market forces.

AMD share price listing on Google
AMD share price listing on Google

I’m not blind to this, and I’m certainly not saying that “toxic fanboys” are the reason why AMD’s Ryzen launch was a success. Clearly that would be stupid to think and clearly it’s not the case. AMD are a for-profit company who have a legal duty to maximise profits for their shareholders.

Final Thoughts

So I don’t think that AMD has succeeded since 2017 PURELY due to the fans, but I DO think that non-toxic “fanboys” are generally a force for good in this industry.

Lisa Su of AMD thanking AMD customers fans and partners
Lisa Su of AMD thanking AMD customers fans and partners

Please let me know down in the comments if you disagree though, I’d love to hear your thoughts either way. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please click the thumbs up button – this tells the YouTube algorithm that more people should see this video. Please also subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already and thanks for watching!

cropped A picture of me Tristan
About Tristan Perry

Tristan has been interested in computer hardware and software since he was 10 years old. He has built loads of computers over the years, along with installing, modifying and writing software (he's a backend software developer 'by trade').

Tristan also has an academic background in technology (in Math and Computer Science), so he enjoys drilling into the deeper aspects of technology.

Tristan is also an avid PC gamer, with FFX and Rocket League being his favorite games.

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