It’s a funny old business, the PC hardware game. Amongst the near constant stream of product announcements, releases and reviews, we happy few in the PC Gamer hardware team keep our noses to the ground all year long sniffing out the latest and greatest tech of all, and goodness there’s a lot of it.
In amongst this constant torrent of silicon, plastic, and rare-earth minerals it can be difficult for manufacturers to make their products stand out from the crowd. And many companies seem to find it necessary to cram as many specs, nouns and adjectives into their naming schemes in order to hit as many potential search terms as possible.
The results are often horrific. Mangled run-on sentences, words seemingly conjured from thin air, a blazing stream of grammatical nonsense that often seems thought up in late-night meetings where, after a long evening of throwing darts at a corkboard, an eventual abomination of strung-together terms is decided. Everyone’s tired. They all want to go home.
That’ll do, they think. That’ll do.
We’ve decided to each pick our favourite awful product names we’ve seen, and then have a big ol’ fight about which wins the prize. A champion of naming awfulness, if you will. A product name that will live on through the ages in infamy.
I’ll start. While you’re about to see some names of dubious usefulness and grammatical sense, I’d like to keep things simple with my contribution. May I introduce you, one and all, to:
Palit RTX 4090 GameRock OmniBlack
Nominated by: Andy Edser, hardware writer
(Image credit: Palit)
As awful names go, it’s beautiful, isn’t it? Some product listings have these words in full block capitals, and I think this only adds to the experience. This is a product name that I can only imagine is being shouted at me from mere inches away, through a megaphone, while I’m tied to a chair. It makes my hair stand on end, and my teeth rattle. It’s so…unnecessary.
The GameRock Omniblack strikes me as the sort of name a teenage boy would come up with for his GPU to impress his friends, only for them to give him an overly-enthusiastic thumbs-up before laughing about it behind his back. There’s something in the simplicity, the confidence, the idea that calling something the GAMEROCK OMNIBLACK (see, it does look better in capitals) would somehow give your otherwise perfectly decent RTX 4090 a feeling of power, presence, and above all else, cool.
And as we all know, there’s nothing more un-cool than trying, and here Palit’s marketing team has tried really, really hard. As hard as a rock, in fact. An omniblack one, whatever that’s supposed to mean.
Oh, it’s Spinal Tap isn’t it. None. None more black. Forget it, I’ve changed my mind. It’s brilliant. Move on.
Nominated by: Dave James, managing editor, hardware
(Image credit: Woojer)
Somewhat understandably, everyone here has gone for some elongated jumble of real words, pseudo words, acronyms, and meaningless initialisms meant to give some notional idea of speed or performance. My winner, however, is just a single word. A single, awful, meaningless word in the vein of the worst kind of tech startup.
Woojer? No. You wouldn’t.
Initially the Woojer was just some indie Kickstarter project, a single wearable haptic feedback, er, block that you either clipped to a T-shirt or onto your belt. But Woojer has since moved into creating a selection of haptic feedback vests and straps, though it has retained the name as a company title.
I’m not going to get into what a ridiculous thing a haptic wearable is—I absolutely do not want to feel what it’s like to spend many hours in Dog Town—just that the name itself is awful. And meaningless. I mean, at least the Buttkicker made some sense.
Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless
Nominated by: Jacob Ridley, senior hardware editor
(Image credit: Future)
I must nominate the Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless for this award as I’ve made light of its long-winded name for months. This is nothing against the keyboard itself. If you’ve read my Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless review you know I think this board is rather wonderful and it’s now our pick for the best gaming keyboard. No, it’s simply that it sounds absurd once you pair it alongside the tightly-named Asus ROG Azoth.
How much do we need to know about a product from its title? The Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless (I’m going to say it in full every time) tells you that it’s a wireless 96% size keyboard from the get-go. The Azoth tells you nothing. I doubt the extra information in the product title really goes that far in drawing in potential customers, but then why do graphics card manufacturers insist on stuffing words into their product names without a care in the world, as evidenced by Nick’s nomination below?
I’m no marketer and there’s probably a reason for it. I just couldn’t tell you what it is. All I know is that I take great pride in reciting the full name of this keyboard: Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless. Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless. Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless. Asus ROG Strix Scope II 96 Wireless.
Sorry, I briefly turned into Alan Partridge there.
GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GDDR6X EX White 1-Click OC Plus
Nominated by: Nick Evanson, hardware writer
(Image credit: Galax)
The RTX 3060 Ti was a fantastic graphics card when it launched in December 2020. For $399/£369, you got a GPU that was not only vastly better than the standard RTX 3060, but it could easily go head-to-head with the previous generation RTX 2080 and 2080 Super. So you’d expect third-party vendors to dream up some awe-inspiring or utterly ludicrous names for their RTX 3060 Ti variants.
Not so Galax. I mean, just look at it. It’s the EX model–not ex, as in previous, just EX! Does that mean it’s EXtra powerful? Who knows because all of the other models either don’t boast any additional tag or they’re labelled with SG. What the hell does SG mean? But look, with one click, you can overclock it! Plus!
But isn’t overclocking, plus a bit more overclocking, just…well…overclocking?
The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GDDR6X EX White 1-Click OC Plus heads the list of 11 RTX 3060 Ti models that Galax makes and they all sport the same dearth of creativity when it comes to their names. I suppose GeForce RTX 3060 Ti GDDR6X EX White 1-Click OC Plus isn’t a truly bad name (why did I just type that out all over again?) but it’s most certainly teeth-grindingly uninspiring.
Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Nominated by: Jeremy Laird, hardware writer
(Image credit: Intel)
A new CPU and mostly new branding to go with it was an opportunity for Intel to get its marketing house in order. Instead, we got another silly word salad in the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H.
Because Core Ultra 7 155H not only slides off the tongue. It also instantly communicates both the myriad benefits of Intel’s chiplet-based CPU with its new “Intel 4” silicon technology and AI cores, and places it instantly in the buyer’s mind in terms of how it slips into Intel’s super-transparent CPU hierarchy. Brilliant.
If only that were true. Alas, it’s another totally baffling alpha numeric mess that seems expressly designed to convince consumers into buy things they don’t need and generally confuse them into submission. Awful.
And the winner is: The Palit GameRock OmniBlack
(Image credit: Palit)
Deliberations were had. Cases were made. However, once the dust had settled there was a clear winner, a hardware name that none of us could justify as anything other than awful, and it was the majesty that is the Palit GameRock OmniBlack.
Nick’s Galax RTX 3060 Ti made a strong showing, but we decided that at least it was somewhat descriptive, whereas the GAMEROCK OMNIBLACK (in capitals one last time, with feeling) literally tells you nothing at all about the product it represents. It exists purely as a sequence of words designed to deliver gamer cool, and as we previously mentioned, cool should never be something to strive for. It’s cringe inducing, meaningless, redundant and just plain bad.
Congratulations, I guess, to Palit. Your award is in the post, by which we mean, there is no award at all. Soz. At least tonight we can all rest easy in our beds, knowing that this crucial honour has finally been awarded to the correct candidate. Next year there will be others, and we’ll be collecting them all year long for yet another deliberation.
GAMEROCK OMNIBLACK. Sorry, I just had to.