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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  • Spazweasel - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Were it some other video card, including a factory-overclock might be an issue.

    However, with the 460 GTX, factory overclocks are extremely common, and extreme overclockability is an explicit selling point of the card. IN THIS CASE, including a good factory-overclocker was entirely appropriate.

    It was pointed out in the article in question. I don't see a problem.

    Continue to use your good judgment. Philosophical purity (and judgments thereof) isn't what we're here for.
    Reply
  • AnandThenMan - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Who determines if a factory overclock is "extremely common"? Reply
  • rennya - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    The AIBs of course. Even at the date of release, the GTX460 OC versions outnumbers the versions that is on stock clock. Nowadays, finding a stock GTX460 is harder than finding an overclocked one. Reply
  • Touche - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    And among those, EVGA FTW's 850 MHz clock is extremely common? It is a true representative of factory OC'd 460s?

    Not that it should have been included in any case.
    Reply
  • rennya - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    It is rare to see a 850Mhz of course, but the point is clear, even at launch, the OCed card SKUs outnumbers stock version SKUs easily. GTX460 release is the rare situation where overclocking is touted as a major feature for it (kinda like GT430 with its new role as HTPC card).

    If the price is similar, why OCed GPUs cannot be included. In the GTX460 official review, numbers from OCed GTX460 GPU also appeared in it, whihc may cause nVidia GPUs looks good and ATI GPUs looks bad. Why is that no controversy arisen from that then?
    Reply
  • Touche - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    There are multiple reasons, all stated in other comments. Reply
  • tonyblair - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    There are so few sites that can be trusted to give unbiased reviews these days. So many are on the take to favour one competitor over another. The $ talks and the consumer gets shafted. This is not how it should be. Of course, this ain't a perfect world.

    Factory overclocked cards should never be used in reviews of standard cards in my opinion. It's sets a dangerous precendent that's open to abuse.

    If you think the EVGA card deserves a mention, then by all means, give it it's own review and pit it against a 6870 there. Simple. Would've been far better than releasing the 6800 series reviews with NV's stench all over them.
    Reply
  • cplusplus - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I just don't understand why people are so upset about including this card. It would be one thing if a stock 460 wasn't included in the review, but it is, so you can easily compare both cards to a stock 460 if that's what you want. But the OC 460 is a card that is available on shelves right now, with a warranty. If you were looking to buy a card right now, the EVGA 460 would be one of your options, so why wouldn't anyone want to see how it stacks up against the competition (or more to the point, how the competition stacks up against it). It's not like the card isn't clearly labeled in every graph, and it's not like the review doesn't take other things like its power draw and price into consideration. Basically, it seems like people are getting upset for including another valid data point in the graphs, which doesn't make any sense at all. Reply
  • mikeepu - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Exactly what I was thinking. Reading through the comments and seeing people say what they said of the EVGA 460 FTW being in the article, I couldn't help but keep thinking "Goodness! As long as a reference/stock clocked 460 card was in the graphs and visibly labeled to allow for easy comparisons, then whats the big deal?"

    Anyone who can read can easily look at the graphs and see where the chips fall. For example, I have a GTX 260 core 216, Its not in the graphs or any of the test for this particular review but by reading other card reviews (and using Anandtech's GPU Bench) i can see that it generally performs a bit better than a 5770. And since the 5770 is included in this review i can draw a very rough comparison between my old gtx260 core 216 and any other card that is in this review. Well, now that i think about it, i can just use anandtechs GPU bench to make the comparisons that matter to me. So long story short, having the extra data set that is the EVGA 460 FTW, is a non issue to me because at the end of the day, what matters is that i've been given relevant data for products that are available in the market with manufacturer warranty (none of that DIY-void-ur-warranty overclocking stuff)

    On a somewhat related note, I reallly want a 6850... but i can't justify a new card because i'm still able to push decent frame rates with maxed out quailty in the games im currently playing @1920x1080 (TF2, MoH 2010, Bad Company 2, Mass Effect 2, L4D 1&2)

    Man i went on a tangent...
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I wasn't put off or anything by the inclusion, and it was an excellent, excellent article. I can't believe you did all this in one week.

    However, I think you should have left the mention as an aside, especially in a launch article.

    I place the real blame on nVidia.

    If the performance difference between stock and potential OC is so huge that it can cross major price points (20% price difference!), then nVidia should have given an official designation and speed requirement for 460 cards clocked at the 800MHz/1600MHz level.

    Without official direction from nVidia, you get this messy list below, and it takes forever to calculate exactly which 460 has the best price/performance:

    EVGA: 850 / 1700 , 763 / 1526 , 720 / 1440
    ASUS: 775 / 1550 , 675 / 1350
    MSI: 810 / 1620 , 780 / 1560 , 725 / 1450
    Gigabyte: 815 / 1630 , 715 / 1430
    Galaxy: 810 / 1620 , 700 / 1400
    Palit: 800 / 1600 , 700 / 1400

    Which is more worth it? The EVGA 763 for $207.55, or the ASUS 775 for $212? Maybe the MSI 780 at $205 is the best deal, but perhaps does it run hotter/noisier? Who knows.

    p.s. I bought a 6850 this morning :) First new card since my $215 8800 GT from March 2008!
    Reply

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