Reports of leaked CPUs no longer appearing in the popular
Geekbench benchmark are greatly exaggerated.
On Wednesday, an aptly named and saddened Twitter account called
Benchleaks reported that geekbench ded :( The tweet showed a new
error from Geekbench saying Pre-Release Hardware Blocked. Primate
Labs prevents pre-release hardware benchmark results from being
displayed on the Geekbench Browser. Pre-release hardware includes
engineering samples (ES), qualification samples (QS) and retail
hardware not yet available for sale.
Many assumed the message meant the Geekbench party was over, and
unreleased CPU performance results could no longer be leaked—but
John Poole, president of Primate Labs, told PCWorld it's actually
not a new policy at all.
We've had the policy where we don't want to include those parts
in our database, Poole told PCWorld. But that policy has been in
place for some time and the only thing that's new is the error page
which actually went up about three months ago when an intern had
time to handle it. The policy is old, the error message is new.
This summer, Primate Labs
started screening for different CPUID strings alongside the older
0000 being used. The rationale behind the policy, he said, is to
try to screen out results that are so early, they can make the
oft-cited database of less use to consumers. Poole said about five
a day get rejected from the results for being early engineering
samples, but that doesn't mean they're all new chips. Many could be
older engineering sample parts purchased used.
More importantly for gearheads, the policy won't really stop the
leaks because Primate Lab's engineering sample policy is like the
Pirate's Code—they're more
guidelines than actual rules.
Although early parts with an odd CPUID are automatically
screened out, if someone ran Geekbench 5 on an unreleased chip
weeks or months beforehand with a normal CPUID, it would likely go
through. That means if Tim Cook had one too many and decided to run
Geekbench 5 one night on an Apple M1X laptop, it would likely show
The news is likely to make the cottage industry of Geekbench
watchers happy. Like auto paparazzis camped around GM headquarters
waiting to snap photos of the 2025 Corvette being tested, people
legitimately sift through Geekbench results hoping to glimpse early
performance from an Apple M1X, Intel Core i9-12900K, or AMD Zen 4
chip once results are uploaded.
You definitely have people sitting outside the Geekbench
database, Poole told PCWorld. We have people refresh every minute
(looking for new chips).
Why do so
many people leak results on Geekbench?
Of course, the larger question is just why do so many leaks seem
to occur using Geekbench? Poole said he doesn't really know, but he
believes most are simply accidents.
I've had panicked calls from hardware companies, Poole said,
asking to have results scrubbed. He said Primate Labs will
sometimes comply and remove the entries from the database—but only
if the benchmark paparazzi hasn't noticed yet. If a screenshot of a
result is already trending on Reddit and Twitter, however, Poole
said the result will likely stand.
If the horse has left the barn, what's the point of closing of
the barn door? he said.
Poole said it's also not exactly a secret Geekbench 5 does it
either. When you install Geekbench 5 you get a warning dialog
explicitly stating Geekbench 5 requires an active Internet
connection when in tryout mode and automatically uploads benchmark
results to the Geekbench Browser. You can see that in the
screenshot below. It pops up every time you start the free
You are indeed warned when installing Geekbench 5 that the free
version will automatically upload results to the Geekbench Browser
database. Image: IDG
Poole really believes most are people caught off guard rather
than doing it on purpose.
Although Poole doesn't say it, we will: The leakers are probably
cheapskates too. While the free version of Geekbench automatically
uploads results, the paid versions don't. They cost a reasonable
$14.99 for a license to run the macOS, Windows, or Linux version.
If you want only the one for your operating system of choice it's
$9.99. Geekbench also comes in a Pro version for commercial users
which costs $99.99. So maybe if you get your mitts on a very
expensive engineering sample CPU, you might want to consider coughing up that $15 lest you end up breaking that
non-disclosure agreement you signed.
If this was a secret
CPU and you had signed an NDA you might get fired on your day off.