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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  • karlostomy - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    Completely agree with Cactusdog.

    Nividia had their hand in this review.

    1. They supplied a card for comparison that is not available to retail
    2. They supplied a oc card that was inappropriately compared to reference clocks
    3. They cherrypicked the best very best oc card they could and supplied it to anandtech
    4. They pressured AT into including it
    5. AT complied.
    6. Magically, AT did not include a price for the EVGA 460 oc card, so as to make value comparisons.

    As far as I am concerned, AT has lost a LOT of credibility.
    I guess it's going to be hardocp.com from now on.
    Reply
  • Spedez - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    You just don't get it don't you? You use overclocked designs from one company (worse, challenger company) but not the other. Fair? There are a million and one "standard retail" OC'd Radeons including 6800s out there too. OC'd cards need to be handled in separate cases, perhaps even separate articles, but this is the first-time launch review and should be kept apples-to-apples as yourself also said. Reply
  • zero2espect - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    i understand you wanting to be up front and honest with everybody. but you have nothing to apologise for. every single person that i turn to your website comes away refreshed, rejuvinated and "clean" knowing that someone, somewhere, does honest, thorough, not "cut and paste from the PR" and non-sponsored reviews.

    as always, great review.

    keep on rocking. respect.
    Reply
  • SandmanWN - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    Pff, whatever. The whole point of the article was to show the new 6800 series.

    They failed.

    1. Diverted time away from the product to review and include a competitors "hand picked" product and admittedly didn't finish the review the way it was intended to be done.

    2. Pitted an overclocked card against a stock card and made no attempts to give a fair comparison by overclocking the 6800 to show its potential. This leaves the readers here misinformed with the notion that a 460 FTW will be the better purchase when we have no idea how a 6800 will compare under similar circumstances.

    3. You receive free samples by vendors to shed a light on new products. This article has become more about manufacturers and review site ethics and the competitors card instead of the stated goal. You potentially upset your vendor and obviously a number of your readers and damage the only thing that keeps you above the rest of your competing sites... your reputation.

    If I were an investor in (product A) and AT was my project manager whose results stir up controversy and simultaneously give props to my competitors (product B)... Well I would think someone would be on the chopping block.
    Reply
  • just4U - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    I disagree, Did we read the same review???????? If you look you can clearly see that the review was very favorable towards AMD's new cards. Reply
  • SandmanWN - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    The review was about the 6800. It should have been focal point not a favorable side show.

    And clearly a lot of people saw it in a different light than you or there wouldn't be a rebuttal from the site, duh.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    1. It's a retail boxed product, not hand-picked.

    2. Ohh no, it's OVERCLOCKED versus STOCK!! Now if nvidia had called this the GTX 461, then it'd be fine?? It is a retail product. It makes graphics go fast. It costs $$. Sure it's possible to OC the 68xx, and that would be a great piece of additional info.
    Reply
  • SandmanWN - Monday, November 01, 2010 - link

    Again, missing two fundamental points.
    1) Hand picked product delivered by Nvidia.
    2) Diverted time and didn't give a complete review of the product at hand, most probably caused by taking time to review a competitors product...

    Lets not be a fanboy here. This is pretty common sense stuff.
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Tuesday, November 09, 2010 - link

    #1 only potentially affects power consumption. #2 is questionable. Reply
  • Imperceptible - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I didn't mind it because like you said it's available on the market with full warranty as any other videocard. It's not like you OC'd your own 460 in which case results would vary much more than using 2 of the same factory OC'd cards. Also in doing my own comparisons based on your results with local prices here, that particular OC'd 460 turns out to be an excellent choice. I think you'll find it's the fan boys making the most noise because they feel it doesn't make their "team" of GPU maker look as good. But possibly in future it might be best to include factory OC'd parts from both sides to try keep both parties happy. Anyway, thanks for the review and keep up the great work! Reply

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