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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  • bhougha10 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    I apprectiate this response, but in this case it's pure AMD fanboy pandering. These AMD/ATI fanboys are just bandwangin jumpers and don't like the fact that what you showed is the exact information everyone wants to see and needs to see . Very interesting artical it was and very informative.
    In this case, the ftw was a perfect comparison since the overclock is so much higher then standard overclocks on other GPUs.

    I wish the fanboys would all just go away, so we could get the real story so we all know what to buy for the money we have.
  • bhougha10 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    BTW, if you were to cave to the fanboys and not do the logical test like you did here. Then I would consider that being unobjective from a different point of view.
  • lakrids - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Fanboys should go away? You want Anand to disappear from his own site?

    If you don't think Anand is a fanboy, perhaps you can be the one to finally solve our little funny statistic:
    Articles spanning to 3 months ago :
    460 reference card review
    450 reference card review
    6800 reference card review
    Percentage of factory overclocked nshit cards: 100% (7 cards)
    Percentage of factory overclocked ATI cards: 0%

    6800 review: nshit was allowed factory overclock, but ATI wasn't.
    450 review: nshit was allowed factory overclock, but ATI wasn't.
    460 review: nshit was allowed factory overclock, but ATI wasn't.

    Can't you see that this is suspicious and fishy as hell?
  • mars777 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Spending 1 second of time by measuring a card that is not the main subject of reviewing without having first truly reviewed the main subject (and that includes overcloking data) is a definition of bias.

    PS. I prefer nVidia. But doing this, you shed a bad light on them too..
  • kc77 - Thursday, October 28, 2010 - link

    Exactly. I actually have a 460 in my main comp now. However, I really would have liked to know that the reviewers spent most of their time on the new product because I buy new cards quite often. By allowing Nvidia to directly affect the test matrix I don't know if the whole review can be believed and this is the point. It's not fanboyism. Including the cards in and of itself isn't the problem. The problem is that they normally either wouldn't have been or would have been included in another review. By them placing focus on the 460 cards which have been reviewed already it places doubt on the validity of the test/review.
  • jscottyh - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    I have come to this site a lot for reviews. That's how I base most of my purchases. I read the review and I see nothing wrong with the review. I felt that it was unbiased. So really don't change a thing with what your doing Anand.

    The only problem I'm seeing is that the manufactures (AMD/Nvida) are going off half-cocked and leaving reviewers, like Anand, struggling to keep some kind balance in comparison of the products across the board (Price/performance/ value, etc).

    If you took the OC card out of the data in the review, it would not be even and it would have more wayside to ATI. A direct competitor to the stock 6870 is a heavily OC'ed GTX 460 that EVGA has offered retail. That's it and that's what the review is all about.... Whats awesome about the latest from ATI and where does the 6870 & 6850 stand in today's market right now. I don't think that its fair to ask Anand to start pulling OC'ed ATI/Nvidia cards to show the 0.1~2.5 FPS difference on data. That's just not possible as a reviewer and you, the customer, can OC these cards yourself to get in-between the lines on your own time.

    Again, Don't change a thing Anand! You write the best reviews and by far the most unbiased reviewer on the net! KEEP THE BALANCE! :)
  • lakrids - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    Only a nvidia fanboy would look at these reviews and call them balanced.

    Ask yourself this:
    Why was nshit allowed to have factory overclocked cards in the 6800 review, when ATI wasn't allowed to have factory overclocked cards in the gts 450 review?

    Even back then, we had lots of factory overclocked 5770 cards, as well as factory overclocked 5750 cards in the same price range as the 450.

    Even the irrational nvidia fanboys haven't been able to answer.
  • jscottyh - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    It's really easy actually. It's called politics. Which Anand left out or each review would be 50+ pages. I guess that's something that you don't understand. So let me explain it to you...

    I like both company's a lot. They both have something awesome and unique to bring to the table when it comes to graphics handling. Between both company's it's a healthy competition for the most part. But from what I have seen over the years is that ATI is relaxed. They don't push like Nvidia does about new products. ATI has their loyal customer base and they are cocky about it. Whereas Nvidia would like to have their cards in everyone's PC/MAC. Nvidia is consistently trying to prove across the board that their product rocks from the entry level user to the enthusiast. What you see with ATI? "Meh, Let Nvidia do their thing. We are not worried about it. Oh and we just made Eyefinity. Its support for more than one monitor setup. Cool huh?"

    ATI does not push the envelope when it comes to the reviews. They only ask to review the stock reference cards and that's where they stop. Running OC'ed cards is your business, not ATI's or the reviewers. Plain and simple. But you may still not get the picture lakrids, so I'll stop here.
  • lakrids - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    I think you lack reading comprehension.

    I'll ask you again:
    Why was nvidia allowed to have factory overclocked cards in the 6800 review, when ATI wasn't allowed to have factory overclocked cards in the gts 450 review?

    "ATI wasn't allowed to have factory overclocked cards in the gts 450 review."
    Do you understand this?
    Do you understand what that sentence says?
    Look at the 4gts 450 review and see for yourself.
  • lakrids - Friday, October 29, 2010 - link

    "Running OC'ed cards is your business"
    And this is where you go completely off track. I wasn't even talking about user overclock, I was talk about Factory Overclock.

    It's Anand's job to have factory overclocked cards from both sides. You can't argue your way around this. It's Anand's job to stay fair, balanced and objective.

    It was HIS job to make sure those factory overclocked gts 450 cards are compared to factory overclocked HD5750 and HD5770 cards.
    He failed at this.

    It was HIS job to make sure that XFX or someone else would send him a sample of a factory overclocked HD6870, if he intended to use a factory overclocked 460.
    He failed this as well.

    He has failed his users by becoming biased.

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