I would definitely love to participate in the beta! I've used Carrara since version 2, and have both C8.1 (64bit) and C8.5 (64bit) installed and available for testing. I was on the Carrara beta team when Eovia owned it. I've also been a beta tester for Poser and DS content, so I do have beta testing and NDA experience.
I purchased Octane and the Daz Studio plugin last November after plugin development for Carrara was announced. I've been actively learning/using both since then (2-8 hours a day), preparing for the release of the Carrara beta. Since I've only been using Octane for 3 months, I'm obviously still learning it. However, I do feel that I've had enough experience with it to differentiate between a bug and "user logic error". I thought I had .NET Framwork 4.5 installed, but after checking, I don't, so I will complete the installation later today (I'll need it in the near future for the open beta, even if I'm not selected for the closed beta). I've also had a fair amount of experience using LuxRender via plugins. I have Luxus for Carrara and Daz Studio, Reality (1-2.5) for Daz Studio, and Reality 3 for Poser. (Edit to add - So I've had quite a bit of experience with using external render engines via plugins, and with unbiased renderers)
You can see some of my work in Carrara and Octane in my gallery at Renderosity (http://www.renderosity.com/mod/gallery/ ... =DustRider
). I primarily do stills.
My system specs:
Laptop(MSI GT70 with cooler boost) running Win7 64bit
Intel Core i7-3610QM (quadcore)
Nvidia GTX 670M (3Gb)