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GeForce GTX 480M: AVADirect’s W880CU Is Packing The Heat

GeForce GTX 480M: AVADirect’s W880CU Is Packing The Heat
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With the launch of its GeForce GTX 480M, Nvidia’s Fermi architecture takes center stage in high-end gaming notebooks. But is the notoriously-hot GPU able to compete against AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5870? AVADirect gives us the answer with its new W880CU.

Every so often, a new technology reaches the mobile market that brings shock and awe to high-end buyers. Recent advances, such as Intel’s Clarksfield-based Core i7 processors (last fall) and AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (in the spring) have finally introduced mainstream performance computing power back to the world of notebooks. But weren’t those advances immediately preceded by a new Nvidia product?

As it turns out, the refresh cycle for notebook tech is far longer than that of desktops, and graphics have become one of the best examples of this disparity. While desktop gamers expect biannual updates and major architecture improvements every 18 months, notebook enthusiasts watched with chagrin as NVidia’s three-year old G92 architecture was continuously rehashed, relabeled, and revamped from the 8800-series all the way up to the so-called GeForce GTX 285M, last winter.

Widely panned for applying the model numbers of revolutionary desktop parts to evolutionary notebook products, Nvidia finally saw the writing on the wall: it was time to try something different. Welcome the truly new, DX11-compatible GeForce GTX 480M!

Based on its now well-known Fermi architecture, the GeForce GTX 480M eschews the furnace-like power consumption and heat production of its namesake part through several carefully-devised optimizations, one of which must surely be a reduction in voltage.

Yet, while a voltage cut would certainly require a corresponding reduction in clock rate compared to the desktop part, the place where Nvidia really needs its new GPU to shine is a market dominated by the formerly-mentioned GeForce GTX 285M and AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5870. AVADirect made that comparison possible by configuring its Clevo W880CU based notebook with internal components identical to those of its previously-reviewed W860CU.

AVADirect W880CU Component List
PlatformClevo W880CU Core i7 17.3" Barebone, Intel PM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics
CPUIntel Core i7-820QM Quad-Core 1.733 GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 Cache, 45 nm, 45 W, OEM
RAMKingston 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 MHz SDRAM SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 480M 2 GB GDDR5 Mobile Graphics Card
Display17.3" "Full HD" Glossy TFT, 1920x1080
Webcam2.0 Megapixel
AudioIntegrated HD Audio
SecurityBuilt-in Fingerprint Reader
Storage
Hard DriveCorsair 128GB Nova Series SSD, MLC, 270/195 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, SATA 3 Gb/s, Retail
Optical DriveMatshita UJ-240A Blu-ray Re-Writer
Media DriveMulti-Format Flash Media Interface
Networking
Wireless LANIntel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s, Internal Mini PCIe Card
Wireless PANCastleNet BTC04R Bluetooth Module
Gigabit NetworkBuilt-in 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet
IEEE-1394Integrated IEEE-1394 FireWire 400 controller
TelephonyIntegrated 56K V90/92 Fax/Modem
Peripheral Interfaces
USB3 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0
Expansion Card1 x ExpressCard 54
HDD1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
AudioHeadphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks
Video1x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1x HDMI
Power & Weight
AC Adapter180W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19V DC
Battery11.1V 3800mAh (42.18Wh) Single
WeightNotebook 8.6lbs, AC Adapter 2.2lbs, Total 10.8 pounds
Software
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM
Accessories
 RJ11 Telephone Cord
 DVI-I to VGA Adapter Block
 Software/Documentation Binder
 Deluxe Nylon Notebook Bag
Service
BackupOEM System Recovery (secure HDD partition only)
WarrantyStandard 1-Year Warranty
Price3192.18
Display 7 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 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