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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  • mapesdhs - Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - link

    A 988 core?? Wow! 8)

  • Antah Berantah - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    I already push the memory to 1050 without voltage tweaking.

    Wonder if I can get that high too or even higher as 1000 mhz core and 1150 mhz memory. :D
  • Touche - Tuesday, November 2, 2010 - link

    It's still one vendor specific.

    "while on the other hand you kind of have to wonder, why buy an MSI card when you can buy a cheaper one and overclock it yourself?
    So what do MSI do to combat this? They release stuff like the Lightning and HAWK series which lets even more abilities open up with in MSI."

    Not only that, that particular sample was even a special edition of a special edition:

    "MSI actually told us that each GTX 460 has a bit of fluctuation when it comes to the default core clock. The particular one we had came at 1.062v which was on the higher side of things, so +200mv gave us 1.262v; much higher than the standard 1.087v limit that we're used to seeing."

    So, it's even more limited than EVGA FTW. And power consumption is abnormal: more than a 480 and almost the same as 460 SLI!
  • Antah Berantah - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    You don't get the point.

    The point is, all GTX 460 out there have extra ordinary overclocking capability, so the used of EVGA FTW in Ryan's review is fair as a representation of what a GTX 460 can do.

    I point out this MSI specific to describe that EVGA FTW is not a limited edition because any other vendor has their own overclocked GTX 460. So when you can't find an evga card, just pick up any other available gtx 460 and you can overclocking it by yourself higher than the evga card.
  • Touche - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    I don't think you get the point. There is a big difference between manual overclocking and low stock, worldwide unavailable special edition factory OC'd card.

    If you say that "use of EVGA FTW in Ryan's review is fair as a representation of what a GTX 460 can do" because one can overclock any 460, then he sould have overclocked 6850/6870 too. Both of them can be overclocked, you see, and then it would be a fair representation of what they can do. And they can do a lot, e.g. both be faster than OC'd 460 (according to Overclockersclub review).
  • Antah Berantah - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    "... worldwide unavailable special edition factory OC'd card"

    I live here in Papua, a place maybe you'll never find on the map, but I already buy two special edition overclocked GTX 460 (platinum and hawk), so these cards worldwide available.

    GTX 460 is made for overclocking because it can be overclocked more than 300 mhz higher than its reference clock (988 mhz is the highest clock this far). So, any comparation with gtx 460 without point out its overclocking capability is unfair.

    6850/6870 can be overclocked too, but not as much as gtx 460, the highest clock for 6850 is 975 (200 mhz higher) and 1055 mhz for 6870 ( just 155 mhz higher)

    Please visit these links to see how a gtx 460 at its highest clock compared to 6850 and 6870 at their highest clock too
  • Touche - Wednesday, November 3, 2010 - link

    Just because it's available in your country doesn't mean it's available everywhere, or even in most countries. HAWK and FTW are special edition cards with limited distribution.

    What does it matter by how much MHz a card can be overclocked? What matters is the resulting performance.


    That article is useless. Only one game is shown.

    Your tweaktown links show that even the ultraoverclocked HAWK card is slower than overclocked 6870.

    OC'd 6850 is usually faster than OC'd 460, even the HAWK edition. 6850!

    So, OC'd 460 is still slower, but power consumption is enormous.
  • Antah Berantah - Thursday, November 4, 2010 - link

    What part of these two articles shows that Hawk at 988, yield to HD 6870 at 1035?

    Hawk edition at 988 core reach X9404 while HD 6870 at 1035 core reach X8540 at 3DMark Vantage, who's faster?

    Uniqine Heaven V2 at 1920 X 1080:
    Hawk; 1101, 6870 ;977 the faster is?

    please compare the rest by yourself.

    This link shows that evga ftw at 850 (its default clock) is little slower than HD 6870, but does not show what will it does when overclocked to the highest clock.
    At the same time time, this link shows that 6870 overclocking capability is not good

    "What I found was that each one of the HD 6870 cards reached a limit at 1000Mhz or below. So really all I was able to realize was a maximum of about 100Mhz on the core and just over that on the memory on each of the HD 6870 cards"
  • Touche - Thursday, November 4, 2010 - link

    I tend to compare gaming performance when talking about gaming cards, not synthetic benchmarks. Strange, I know.

    Those Tweaktown articles don't have many common games to compare. Most of those few are games that are known to favor Nvidia's cards and even in them the lead of ultraoc'd HAWK is minimal, a few FPS at best.

    Power consumption results are funny, though. Check them.

    921/1022 is pretty high overclock for a 460 and it still doesn't help it beat those 6870 cards whose "overclocking capability is not good" as you put it. Oh, btw, that same site wasn't able to reach those ultra high oc clock for HAWK, in case you missed that link.

    Overclockersclub has two articles comparing overclocked 460 (HAWK and FTW) and overclocked 6850/6870, and a much bigger selection of games to choose from. Their results are clear.

    I have no interest in repeating this yet another time, we're running in circles. EOD for me.
  • Touche - Thursday, November 4, 2010 - link

    68xx overclocking results:

    >=1000 MHz overclocks with stock voltage, higher with adder voltage

    Those are stock reference cards.

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