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.


Take care,

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  • krumme - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    Thank you.
    Theese fact must make this discussion end.

    But how difficult was it to foresee that situation Anand?
  • GeorgeH - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    In fairness, the external exhaust model is still in stock at Newegg (240, 230AR) and the internal exhaust model is still available (230, 220AR) direct from EVGA as of Sunday 10/24 1pm PST.

    Time will tell how long supply remains available (as acknowledged in the article) but for now an 850MHz 460 1GB with a warranty is still a viable option.
  • Quizzical - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    Today there is still limited availability. But what about in the near future when there likely isn't, or when there are factory overclocked Radeon HD 6870s? What then?

    Will the article still leave the EVGA GTX 460 FTW in all of the charts but no factory overclocked 6870? Will the article conclusion still say, "Meanwhile if you care about a balance of performance and power/heat/noise, then it’s the 6870 versus the EVGA GTX 460; and the EVGA card wins in an unfair fight."?

    And more to the point, what will happen a casual reader who comes along months down the line wanting a good video card but only glancing through reviews? Will he be given the impression that a typical factory overclocked GTX 460 outperforms a typical 6870, even though we both know that on average, the 6870 wins handily? That was Nvidia's goal with this whole stunt. And this site helped them with it.

    There's a time and a place for "this part is an awesome deal today even if it will soon be gone". But a review of a major new card launch isn't it.
  • GeorgeH - Sunday, October 24, 2010 - link

    How about including the rest of the quote?

    "Meanwhile if you care about a balance of performance and power/heat/noise, then it’s the 6870 versus the EVGA GTX 460; and the EVGA card wins in an unfair fight. As an overclocked card in a launch card article we’re not going to give it a nod, but we’re not going to ignore it; it’s 5% faster than the reference 6870 while at the same time it’s cooler and quieter (thanks in large part to the fact that it’s an open-air design). At least as long as it’s on the market (we have our doubts about how many suitable GPUs NVIDIA can produce), it’s hard to pass up even when faced with the 6870."

    It's clearly stated that it's an EVGA card, not any overclocked card, and that it probably will have limited availability. The article even goes on to state:

    "Without the EVGA card in the picture though, the 6870 is clearly sitting at a sweet spot in terms of price, performance, and noise."

    If a casual reader can't actually read, then admittedly they might end up in the difficulties you describe. Anyone else who reads the article will get very relevant advice. That advice might change with Cayman, if Nvidia's price cuts aren't permanent, if Nvidia has anything other than a paper tiger 580 to respond with, and if AMD can put out 6870s with a significant stock overclock at about the same price. That's no different from any other article, though - which is why the date is always on the top of every page.
  • ssj4Gogeta - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    I believe OC'd cards are too much of a variable for an article which people will be referring to for the next year or so.
    OC'd cards with any significant OC have very limited quantities (otherwise the company will just release a stock card with those specifications). So my opinion is that OC'd cards should be included only in exceptional cases and they should be given only a single page in the article in those cases.
  • DanielRwz - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    As a standard rule, OC'd products should not be used in reviews of new non-overclocked products.

    Unless of course the over-clocked product represents the majority of products that an average consumer would find readily available in the market at the same or lower price point of the new part being reviewed. If the over-clocked product represents an anomaly available from only one vendor at a similar price point, then it should not be included in a review comparing to a reference non-overclocked product.
  • xprojected - Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - link

    "Out of stock at New Egg."

    Back in stock, still at $229, and $239 for the EE version.

    PR stunt, possibly. Fake card, no.
  • ProDigit - Monday, October 25, 2010 - link

    because less people are aware it's an overclocked version.
    The majority of computer users see a good review of the 460, see one sold for a good price in the store, buy it, and don't get the same results, because they have purchased a normal non OC'ed card.
  • bhougha10 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    It's ironic that this cherry picked card is the exact one that everyone wants to see (I very much wanted to see this one). And so logically, it was the one that they did in the review here.
  • Omophorus - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    The idea is nice in theory, but so much of what they review is new product being tested under NDA that they CAN'T tell us what they're getting, and let us decide before they publish what the content will be.

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