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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  • skywalker9952 - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    And another Reply
  • Crazymech - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    Yea, well said. Reply
  • bubolini009 - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    Yea, well said. Reply
  • maree - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    yes, this comment makes lot of sense. Anand and Ryan please take note. Reply
  • karlostomy - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    hear hear! Reply
  • formulav8 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    Plain and simple Anand, you lowered your own standards and caved in to nvidia. You can SAY otherwise but you DID give in to nvidia. There are PLENTY of other OC cards like 5850's, ect.. that are factory oced that i'm sure would have been pretty easy for you to find (To try and at least balance your compromising) and yet you had no desire to include any of them for 'reference' as you claimed. It would have been very simple (and even lesser stress) to wait till you did your review of the new ATI cards since that was obviously the title and overtone of your article and do a video card round up later on.

    Your simply downplaying the whole ordeal trying to make it look like you did it for your "readers."

    I've been on this site near to since you started and this is one of the most dissapointing things you have done. And it has NOTHING to do with nvidia/amd per say. It has much more to do with why/what you did.

    And yes its only a stupid video card review but I highly value integrity.

    It looks like most of the people commenting here are doing it for stupid fanboy reasons or to make you feel better. To me personally it has to do with you/your reviewers ethics.

    The least you could do is remove all oced results and references in the article. All I can say is dissapointing.... And of course I expect you to just ignore my comment and move on like nothing happened.

    Of course this is nothing more than my 1 penny opinion. It may not even be worth that to you or anyone else. :(

    Jason
    Reply
  • spigzone - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    Totally agree.

    I would add it's inherently DISHONEST as Nvidia AND Anand knows there is a segment of buyers who just skim the performance graphs of the few top of page googled review sites to make their choice and those buyers see '460' graphing better than '6870' ...

    It's allowing your integrity to be COMPROMISED into being a TOOL for Nvidia's marketing department.

    When even Tom's Hardware puts Anandtech to shame on the use of the FTW 460 in their review, Anandtech FAILED.
    Reply
  • Jodiuh - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    You made the right choice and gave us more information as opposed to artificially limiting the competition. Anyone upset with the choice to include that card's being a silly little fanboy.

    These 460's clock significantly higher. Running stock? Return the card and go buy a Dell.

    That said, I think its time to start listing cards twice. Stock and overclocked. Note it with an "OC" and put the clocks in the test setup. While ur at it how bout kicking singleplayer benchmarking to the curb and doing proper multiplayer craps runs in games like BC2. I've never played a time demo or spent the majority of my time with an MP centric game by myself. Your video card reviews do not reflect what I see when gaming and that needs to change.
    Reply
  • Creig - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    why not simply overclock a reference card? Why include a factory overclocked card that was most likely assembled using a binned GPU and costs more than the stock card? Or is possibly even a handpicked card? Overclock a reference model instead. That way we can get an idea of what the standard models are capable of, both at stock clocks and highest stable OC. Most likely, the clocks will end up nearly as high as the factory models anyhow and we'll know what the factory overclocked models are capable of. I would say leave the factory OC'ed models for their own shootout.

    So Nvidia sent you (AFAIK) the most highly overclocked 460 available on the market and attempted to pressure you into including it in a review dedicated to their competitors latest lineup? Seems like a rather sleazy thing to do. I realize that business is business, but does AMD try to pull things like this?

    You mentioned that, "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." I disagree. I WANT to know when companies try to pull stunts like this. One of the reasons that I've stopped purchasing Nvidia cards is because of their corporate tactics. It seems that their motto has become, "If it will make us money, DO IT!". I like Nvidia hardware. However, I simply cannot bring myself to support a company that will pull stunt after stunt like this. PhysX lockout, Batman:AA, bumpgate, AEG, etc...

    So please, DO inform us when companies attempt things that you consider questionable. The more their dirty laundry is aired in public, the less likely they will be to try similar things in the future. There are those of us who care about such things and we tend to vote with our wallets.
    Reply
  • mapesdhs - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link


    "why not simply overclock a reference card? Why include a factory overclocked card
    that was most likely assembled using a binned GPU and costs more than the stock card?"

    Get your facts straight. From most sellers, the cheapest GTX 460 1GB _is_ an
    overclocked card. Focusing now on stock cards is a complete waste of time. Nobody
    in their right mind, knowing all the facts, would buy one. For example, the Palit
    Sonic is cheaper than a couple of the 768MB versions, and also cheaper than
    some 1GB cards with lower clocked GPUs.

    This obsession with reference clocked cards is ridiculous. It doesn't match the
    reality of what is available to buy. And of course factory-oc'd cards are selected
    parts, that's the whole point of such products, ie. they're guaranteed and warrantied
    to work at the higher speed.

    As for overclocking a reference card, by definition that won't convey what is
    genuinely available to buyers. How is one supposed to make a sensible decision
    based on performance data that inherantly underestimates what one can obtain?
    NVIDIA boasted when the 460 launched that it could often be oc'd to 900 or so,
    but back then there were no such products one could buy so any possible oc at
    that level was entirely up to the buyer to risk. Now we see cards running at close
    to 900, so surely we have a right to know how well they perform, especially since
    such cards also have the memory & shaders running at faster speeds.

    Having said that, it does make perfect sense to list both normal and oc versions,
    but toms' review showed the oc'd 6870s weren't that much better anyway.

    The real point about 460s now is that buying a stock clocked 460 is just plain
    dumb because oc'd editions are so widely available and cheaper.

    Ian.
    Reply

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