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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  • GeorgeH - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    When an OCd card is significantly faster than the standard card, has widespread availability at retail, and is highly relevant in terms of a price/performance to whatever is being reviewed, it'd by irresponsible not to include it in the review.

    In this case just because Nvidia hasn't officially made a "461" or "460+", that doesn't mean that for all intents and purposes one doesn't exist - and that card should be included in the review.

    I read AT because you print what's best for me. I really don't give a damn if that means AMD and Nvidia occasionally get screwed be "unfair" comparisons - they're chip companies, not my grandma.
  • mmatis - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    review Intel graphics and didn't bother with either AMD or NVidia, I'm sure their fanboies would be equally happy! Just a thought, of course, but it might be worth seriously considering,,,
  • hackztor - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I see no point in not including it. Reviews purpose are to compare cards, overclocked is a card too. If AMD has an overclocked one add it if not tough luck for them. I like to see the max performance from the cards and it gives the readers the ability to know the max performance they can expect from overclocking cards themselves. I think the people upset are the ones who want to purchase the AMD cards and might be seeing lower performance compared to an overclocked competitor card.
  • sparkuss - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I honestly only cared about the results in relation to my current card, a 5870 ref card. But I have seen other sites where they do a followup on all the overclock cards once they are out. If you expect to have to do that in the future of most releases, why not just keep them for a separate shootout and final price/perf data point.

    You didn't include any other token OC cards of the other models so why inject the separate data point now?

    Yes it's one data point, but if you open that avenue of comparison, you open a need to add all the rest which you surely didn't have time for in this review yet.

    You are still the only site that I come to for the final most honest reviews.
  • AstroGuardian - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    When you buy OCed card why do you buy it and not the ref card? Um?
    Because you want something more than a ref card. So what is that "more"?
    Reviews like this. What is the point in having a separate shootouts other than comparing manufacturers? Simple as that
  • GX93117 - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I don't understand the complaints unless its coming from people with obvious bias. I applaud you Anand and staff for going the route of being comprehensive with your information. I see no reason for people to be upset when the comparison is made between retail production cards. It's not like it was a custom tweaked card.

    At the end of the day, people come here for research and if they find a card they hadn't considered (be it an overclocked Nvidia or Amd) in their price/performance range then you have accomplished your goal.
  • eanazag - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I welcome the extra information as a consumer. It would be nice if there was a way to filter the OCed cards out in the Bench section if we'd like. First and foremost the stock cards should be reviewed, but after that if you want review OCed also, great.

    I know I have sat comparing cards and the OCed one's just confused me because I don't know where they stand in line in performance, power, and heat. I typically buy stock video cards because I know exactly where it stands.
  • Lunyone - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    * I think in the future you should always state the condition/requirements that any company requires for their particular product review.
    * If you are ever requested to use an OC'd part, than OC all parts and compare. Also compare all parts at the STOCK settings. Between the 2 tests, one can make their own informed decision with the data. This will totally remove any doubts (or at least minimize) and the fanboys will see the differences and make their own decisions too.

    Concerning the review: Another website noted what nVidia was asking for, but instead took a higher road and adjusted the GPU settings close to stock settings (actually they averaged the ones that were available). I think this was a better way to address using an OC'd GPU against a stock GPU for comparison reasons.
  • gonks - Friday, October 22, 2010 - link

    I think that if you put an OCed card in the charts, you should compare it with other OCed cards, not just reference cards, and in a separate page, otherwise is just bias...

    Also i'm still wondering why you didn't overclock the 6800 cards. I hope we'll see the results in the roundup next week.
  • B3an - Saturday, October 23, 2010 - link

    It's not bias at all. The EVGA costs the same price as the 6870 but offers atleast as good performance. This is what matters. This is what people look for when buying a card... you know... other cards that cost the same.
    There are also no OC'ed 68xx available yet to buy, i'm sure they would have been included otherwise.

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