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Graphics Processor Details

GeForce GTX 480M: AVADirect’s W880CU Is Packing The Heat
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Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480M is based on the same Fermi architecture as its high-flying GeForce GTX 480 desktop card, so that our previous analysis allows us to focus on the things that make this mobile version different from its desktop counterpart.

Desktop vs. Mobile GeForce Graphics
 Desktop GeForce GTX 480Desktop GeForce
GTX 465
GeForce GTX 480M
Transistors3 billion3 billion3 billion
Engine Clock700 MHz607 MHz425 MHz
Stream
Processors
480352352
Texture Units604444
ROP Units403232
Compute Performance1345 GFLOPS855 GFLOPS598 GFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-3696GDDR5-3206GDDR5-2400
DRAM Interface384-bits256-bits256-bits
Memory Bandwidth177.4 GB/s102.6 GB/s76.8 GB/s
TDP250 W200 W100 W


Whoops! It appears that the GeForce GTX 480M is equivalent to a power-optimized, underclocked GeForce GTX 465 with 2 GB of slower RAM! And yet, Nvidia isn’t the only company doing this with its notebook parts, as the chart from our previous Mobility Radeon HD 5870 test clearly proves.

Desktop vs. Mobility Radeon Graphics
 Desktop Radeon
HD 5870
Desktop Radeon
HD 5770
Mobility Radeon
HD 5870
Transistors2.15 billion1.04 billion1.04 billion
Engine Clock850 MHz850 MHz700 MHz
Shader (ALUs)1600800800
Texture Units804040
Z/Stencil Units1286464
Compute Performance2.72 TFLOPS1.36 TFLOPS1.12 TFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-4800GDDR5-4800GDDR5-4000
DRAM Interface256-bits128-bits128-bits
Memory Bandwidth153.6 GB/s76.8 GB/s64.0 GB/s
TDP188 W108 W50 W


The GeForce GTX 480M is a low-power version of the GeForce GTX 465, just as the Mobility HD 5870 is a low-power version of the Radeon HD 5770. Nvidia’s relabeling of a mid-priced desktop component as a high-end mobile part is thus a perfect match to what its competitor is doing, and light-years ahead of its previous naming scheme.

If you're here reading this story, you'll know exactly what to expect from the mobile flagships from AMD and Nvidia. It's the folks who don't do their homework before buying we're most worried about. Calling these modules GeForce GTX 480 and Radeon HD 5870 simply sends the wrong message. With that said, we've agreed to disagree with both companies' marketing departments. They think they're simply suggesting each card is best-in-class, as on the desktop. We think they're establishing certain performance expectations that'll fall far short of the desktop.

Moving forward, we'll put aside AMD's higher computational performance numbers and power savings from the above charts, since these two completely-different architectures are rated using dissimilar methodology by their manufacturers. Instead, we'll rely on benchmark data and power measurements. The proof in the pudding is, after all, in the eating.

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  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 6 July 2010 16:15
    bit of a surprise that one! especially on the idle-power front. question is, how do the prices compare between the mGPUs rather than mGPUs vs desktop.
  • 0 Hide
    klarko , 7 July 2010 07:43
    I see nothing about the amount of heat it throws off?
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 8 July 2010 01:34
    reported
  • 0 Hide
    Gonemad , 12 July 2010 19:33
    All these benches come to prove, once again, that top performance at lower price belong to desktop machines. If you want to go mobile, some compromises must be made. So, that little "M" before each chip name means exactly that: take your best desktop part, clock it down, perhaps chops half of some parts of it off, thus trimming power requirements, and cram it on a notebook chassis. You get yourself a handicapped machine, but still faster than anything on the block. When mobile pieces tend to fare better than desktops, usually the desktop version gets scraped and replaced by the mobile part, instead of a badge renaming. Didn´t that happen during the creation of the "Core" chip?
    ======
    The heat it throws off is not mentioned, but it eats 100W, unlike its desktop counterpart that eats 250W.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , 14 July 2010 14:54
    YES. THEY DO PRODUCE A LOT OF HEAT. THATS PROBABLY WHY MINE FRIED. I THREW IT IN THE TRASH AND PURCHASED AN ATI RADEON X1300 PRO AGP 256MB.
    ILL PUT IT UP TO THE STRONGEST NVIDIA CARD MADE. THE NVIDIA CARD HAS TOO MANY INCOMPATABILATIES WITH EVERYTHING ON ANY TYPE OF COMPUTER BECAUSE THEYRE CHEAPLY MADE PIECES OF CRAP. YOURE SCREWING YOURSELF IF YOU BUY AN NVIDIA... THEY SUCK. ATI ALL THE WAY DOWN WITH NVIDIA
  • 0 Hide
    prightiam , 19 July 2010 08:01
    Nice fanboy comment.
  • 0 Hide
    mi1ez , 19 July 2010 22:43
    Doesn't even sound like a fanboy comment, just the rantings of a nutter