Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480M may hold the mobile performance crown, but GF100 is certainly not the most practical solution when it comes to power and heat. Today we see how its newer, smaller sibling stands up to the same tasks, aided by SLI support.
Power and heat have long been the biggest obstacles to achieving smoking-fast performance on a portable device, as the larger enclosures needed to support high-performance hardware often leaves them less than mobile. It’s no small wonder that we had big concerns when Nvidia re-purposed its power-hungry GF100 GPU as a notebook component.
The fastest “portable” GPU ever produced, the GeForce GTX 480M was already beaten by a CrossFire'd pair of Mobility Radeon HD 5870 modules when it was launched. Most extra-large notebooks couldn’t support an SLI'd pair of GeForce GTX 480M modules, and the one notebook that does support these still has some power problems in such a demanding configuration. Price was another barrier for many customers, since big pieces of silicon cost big money.
A bit of additional refinement on its desktop 400-series allowed Nvidia to re-evaluate its portfolio in an effort to find a new, more energy-efficient Radeon HD 5870-killer.
That new product, the GeForce GTX 460M, should fit into the majority of chassis that formerly hosted such big-ticket parts as its competitor’s flagship, as well as its previous mobile performance star, the GTX 285M, in dual-GPU configurations.
Before we go into the new GPU’s specifics, let’s take a quick look at the system we received to host Nvidia’s latest SLI-capable modules.
|AVADirect X7200 Component List|
|Platform||Intel LGA 1366, X58 Express/ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield), Four Cores, 3.06-3.33 GHz, 4.8 GT/s QPI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 45 nm, 130 W|
|RAM||Kingston 6 GB (3x 2GB) DDR3-1066 SODIMM, CL7, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M, 675 MHz, 1.5 GB GDDR5-2500, in SLI|
|Display||17.3" Glossy LED Back-lit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive 1||Crucial C300 CTFDDAC256MAG 256 GB SSD, MLC, SATA 3Gb/s|
|Hard Drive 2||Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500 GB, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM|
|Optical Drive||Lite-On DS-4E1S 4x Blu-ray Reader/8x DVD Writer Combo Drive|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s|
|Wireless PAN||Optional (not installed)|
|Gigabit Network||JMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Texas Instruments PCIe IEEE-1394 (400 Mb/s)|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Not Available|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V, 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs, Total 17.0 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||1-Year Full (Add $140 for 2-years, $274.40 for 3-years)|
While the desktop-based CPU in AVADirect’s X7200 build left us with a few questions about which of our previously-tested notebooks might make this a fair comparison, its $3142 price will at least allow a performance-per-dollar analysis.
- A Little More “Less Is More”
- Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460M
- AVADirect’s M7200
- Test Systems Configuration And Driver Issues
- Benchmark Results: Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 And Crysis
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 2 And S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat
- Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Synthetic Benchmarks
- Energy, Efficiency, And Battery Life