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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  • vedye - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    Thanks mate!

    First of all the_elvino said exactly what I feel about Anandtech. I was firstly attracted to this site because it's professional and always gives deeper explanation for the new technology and deeper inside news from the industry point of view. Now what, Anand bent to nVidia's pressure. The independent point of view is gone. He might still have the great knowledge base, but that might help him better at hiding things for certain party's interests.

    Second of all thanks Bates777 for recommending the [HARD]OCP. Sounds like a good place to go from now on. I guess the reality is you can never trust anyone that is *in* the industry. Independent reviews from normal gamers might be the better solution (have to filter out the fanboys though).

  • Nate007 - Sunday, October 31, 2010 - link

    Um where is the review comparing the New 6870 and 6850 OC cards from XFX to the Nvidia OC cards ?
    I'm thinking this is going to change Anands initial review he did when he compared 460 FTW to Stock AMD cards. The right thing for ANADTECH to do is put out a NEW review now on a level playing field and see where things stand now.

    Wonder if that will ever happen ?
  • vedye - Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - link

    Apparently it will never happen. nVidia PR will be pissed. So Anand just can't do that.
  • Trisped - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    It is perfectly legitimate to include a sample of all commonly available hardware with which the subject competes.
    The EVGA card is a good example of competing hardware and should be included.
    I always thought the overclocked cards were included to give a complete picture, not to further any one marketing strategy.

    While I am a big fan of AMD video cards and love to see them win, I also know that it is only a matter of time before over clocked 6000 cards hit the market.

    I think AnandTech does a great job of indicating which cards are overclocked and listing the advantages/disadvantages of the cards when including them in comparisons.
  • kc77 - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    That's just it though there were and are 6850's / 6870's that are Fact OCd. They just weren't included which is why it typically isn't done. You would have to go back a ways to find Fact Oc'd cards appearing in a GPU launch review. Usually that's a separate review.
  • mapesdhs - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    So do any of you have the 6850 or 6870 now in use? Or oc'd versions? What results do you get?
    3DMark06, Vantage, Stalker COP, Unigine, X3TC, Cinebench 10/11.5, etc.

  • Nate0007 - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    I purchased a 6870. I did manage to OC it using ATI's OC tool but it is not as good as Saphhires Trixx tool of which I have not been able to get it to work so for now I am just experimenting.
    Right now It is back running at STOCK and every game I run on it seems great.
    I had a chance to slip in a second card for an hour ( My friend got one too) and I was blown away at how great this cards scales in crossfire. I'm definitely getting a 2nd card , even though 1 was more then cutting it for me , guess I'm just never happy. :)
    Blue Ray playback was also amazing!
    All in all I'm happy with it and the price , and honestly I don't see a need to OC this CARD if you Crossfire them as the Performance is mind blowing. I'd rather have stock cards then OC ones just because the longevity is more stable on components.
    That said if I could just that Trixx OC program figured out I'm still curious to see what this 6870 can do.
  • mapesdhs - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    Sounds good! If you can post some benchmarks somewhere, eg. in a new
    thread, that would be good.

    I've just received my two FTws, will build the system during this week.

  • Touche - Monday, November 1, 2010 - link

    6870 overclocking:

    1045 / 1200
    1055 / 1235
    1025 / 1240

    17% overclock resulted in 17% performance increase in 3DMark and AvP.
  • Antah Berantah - Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - link

    GTX 460 Hawk Overclocking

    988 / 1976 / 4480 with X9404 3DMark Vantage result.

    and this one is not an evga card.

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