Last night we published our Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 review. In it we made a decision to include a factory overclocked GeForce GTX 460 from EVGA (the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW). For those who aren't aware, NVIDIA has allowed a number of its partners to ship GTX 460s at higher than stock clock speeds. A practice that has been done in the past. The cards are available in retail with full warranties.

A number of you responded in the comments to the article very upset that we included the EVGA card. Even going as far to accuse us of caving to NVIDIA's pressure and demands. Ryan and I both felt it was necessary to address this front and center rather than keep the discussion in the comments.

Let's start with the obvious. NVIDIA is more aggressive than AMD with trying to get review sites to use certain games and even make certain GPU comparisons. When NVIDIA pushes, we push back. You don't ever see that here on AnandTech simply because I don't believe this is the place for it. Both sides (correction, all companies) have done nasty things in the past but you come here to read about products, not behind the scenes politics so we've mostly left it out of our reviews.

NVIDIA called asking for us to include overclocked GTX 460s in the 6800 series article. I responded by saying that our first priority is to get the standard clocked cards tested and that if NVIDIA wanted to change the specs of the GTX 460 and guarantee no lower clocked versions would be sold, we would gladly only test the factory overclocked parts. NVIDIA of course didn't change the 460's clocks and we ended the conversation at that. We gave NVIDIA no impression that we would include the card despite their insistence. The decision to include the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW was made on our own entirely.

We don't like including factory overclocked parts in our reviews for reasons we've already mentioned in the article itself. This wasn't a one off made for the purpose of reviewing only, it's available from online vendors and a valid option from a price comparison. Furthermore it presented us with an interesting circumstance where the overclock was large enough to make a significant impact - the 26% overclock pushed the card to a performance level that by all rights could have (and should have) been a new product entirely.

From my standpoint, having more information never hurts. This simply provides another data point for you to use. We put hefty disclaimers in the article when talking about the EVGA card, but I don't see not including a publicly available product in a review as a bad thing. It's not something we typically do, but in this case the race was close enough that we wanted to cover all of our bases. At the end of the day I believe our conclusion did just that:

At $179 buy the 6850. At $239 buy the 6870 for best performance/power. If you want the best overall performance, buy the GTX 470. However, as long as they are available the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW is a good alternative. You get the same warranty you would on a standard GTX 460, but you do sacrifice power consumption for the performance advantage over the 6870.

We were honestly afraid that if we didn't include at least a representative of the factory overclocked GTX 460s that we would get accused of being too favorable to AMD. As always, this is your site - you ultimately end up deciding how we do things around here. So I'm asking all of you to chime in with your thoughts - how would you like to handle these types of situations in the future? Do we never make exceptions even in the case of a great number of factory overclocked cards being available on the market? Do we keep the overclocked comparison to a single page in the review? Or does it not matter?

And if you're worried about this being tied to financial gain: I'll point out that we are one of the only sites to have a clear separation of advertising and editorial (AnandTech, Inc. doesn't employ a single ad sales person, and our 3rd party sales team has no stake in AT and vice versa). The one guarantee that I offer all of our writers here at AnandTech is you never have to worry about where your paycheck is coming from, just make sure you do the best job possible and that your conclusions are defensible.

If we've disappointed you in our decision to include the EVGA FTW in last night's review, I sincerely apologize. At the end of the day we have to maintain your trust and keep you all happy, no one else. We believed it was the right thing to do but if the overwhelming majority of you feel otherwise, please let us know. You have the ability to shape how we do things in the future so please let us know.

Whether you thought it was an issue or not, we'd love to hear from you. I do appreciate you reading the site and I want to make it better for you in the future.

GP

Take care,
Anand

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  • just4U - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link


    Anand,

    All in all the review you posting about put Amd's new cards in a very favorable light. I don't understand why people would have been complaining about the Evga cards inclusion in the comparison charts. It was a solid review.. and I think it's a bit of a shame that you had to clarify it with this secondary followup.

    I "DO" agree with some other posters here though. a small note on some of the politics surrounding a launch should be touched up on... Just little things like what Amd or Nvidia (or Intel, Microsoft, Apple etc.) are hoping to have included in a review. You know, off hand comments.. that give us a little insight.
    Reply
  • E.A. BURR - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 - link

    Fully appreciate the eagerness of the Anand staff to avoid any possible misunderstanding with the readers! Have just registered specifically to express this very attitude. As for the issue, I believe that, as it has been many times mentioned below, we deserve being fully informed about the choice we have, but AMD (or any other company in its position) also deserves a fair-play - its own overclocked part presented as a possible alternative.
    The factory overclocked parts surely have the right to be tested, especially when their performance gain happens to be so clear as in the case with the EVGA GeForce GTX 460 FTW, But I would have preferred, for example, the Palit Sonic Platinum to be tested, as it is really available.
    Single page or not is not at all critical.
    And, frankly, I don't believe that all the buyers of the EVGA card would run to check the power draw ...
    Reply
  • donjuancarlos - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    The EVGA 460 is a standard card available at retail. As long as you include a stock version of he 460, why not include the also-available OC'd card? It would be nice to see an OC'd and overvolted 4850/4870 in your review, though. Reply
  • futurepastnow - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I think the right thing to do would have been to give the GTX 460 FTW its own separate mini-article.

    Since these overclocked GTX 460s are apparently what Nvidia intends to use to compete with the 6870 at its $239 price, and the factory OC'd cards vary in clock speed and performance, test the 460 at various overclocks to analyze exactly how much it needs to be OC'd to be "worth it." I.E., at 820 MHz it doesn't beat a stock 6870, but at 830 MHz it does, or whatever.
    Reply
  • Tunnah - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    how do you explain this if the ftw's have been out weeks/months before the BARTs Reply
  • futurepastnow - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    The prices are going down to compete. Reply
  • jonup - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    Agree! While I did not mind the inclusion of the EVGA FTW card, I would have loved it to be compared to overclocked HD6870 and HD6850. I do understand that you did not have enough to test OCing and should do a follow up article, in which you should have included 460 FTW. If you did not have to test the EVGA card you might have time more time to concentrate on the main attraction of the review (HD68XX).
    Take Care,
    J
    Reply
  • Voldenuit - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Exactly. Looking at GTX 460s on the market, a large proportion don't even run at stock (675 MHz), instead opting for low overclocks (700, 715, 725 MHz).

    nvidia has been friendly to factory-overclocked cards since the TNT2 (if not longer) and they are pretty much a fact of life. In addition, that EVGA FTW has been around since way before the 6870 launch so is not a paper launch to show up the new Radeon.

    I think it's entirely justified to include the card, my only comment was that the technical details were omitted in the article so it was confusing to compare it to other OC'ed 460s.
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    If you're going to incude the OC card from manufacturer A you should include an OC card from manufacturer B.

    Heck going on Nvidias logic why dont we only test OC models, they are all freely available.

    Did Nvidia ask for an overlcocked 5870 to be included in the 480 review? I think not. I dont like the idea of any company influencing reviewers. IT STINKS.

    The whole thing stinks of DECEPTION.
    Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    Since the 6850/70's have just been launched there probably isnt alot out there in regards to factory overclocks. Plus (my guess) is AMD won't make those cards so good that they start to compete with the new 6X cards coming out next month that are in a different price bracket.

    Nvidia on the other hand did something right in the 460 (been awhile..) and those loyal (or neutral to both companies) are going to continue to look at it with great interest... which means ofcourse that Nvidia will run with it for all it's worth.. trying to make the 460 look as good as it possibly can. Not a hard thing to do really and since AMD currently has the upper hand that's about all they can do until the next launch of a new Geforce series.
    Reply

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