Nvidia intros mobile GeForce GTX 200 GPUs… sort of

If you’re excited about the prospect of newer, faster GeForce GPUs for notebooks, then you’re in for a treat. But don’t be fooled: the new GeForce GTX 280M and 260M aren’t mobile flavors of Nvidia’s desktop GeForce 200-series graphics cards. Rather than tweaking the elephantine GT200 chip for notebook use, Nvidia has simply based these new high-end mobile parts on the 55nm G92b—you know, the same chip that’s been powering GeForce 9800 GTX+ cards since last summer.

Be that as it may, the GeForce GTX 200M series does bring some notable improvements. The top-of-the-line GeForce GTX 280M has a full 128 stream processors and 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 950MHz. With peak 585MHz core and 1463MHz shader speeds, this GPU theoretically could achieve 562 gigaFLOPS of floating-point number-crunching power. In real-world testing, Nvidia says those improvements afford frame rate gains of up to 50% over its previous flagship—the GeForce 9800M GTX—which has a 65nm G92 GPU with 112 SPs, slower memory, and a tamer 420 gigaFLOPS rating.

Quite interestingly, Nvidia also claims the GeForce 280M GTX is up to 30% faster than AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 4870—even though the Radeon has a full-blown RV770 GPU with more gigaFLOPS and faster memory. After some probing on our part, Nvidia told us that the mobile 4870 just isn’t that fast because AMD had to reduce clock speeds substantially to fit within mobile power envelopes. AMD confirmed that the Mobility Radeon HD 4870 only runs at up to 550MHz, which is 200MHz slower than the desktop version. Nvidia’s claim might not be as outlandish as it seems, then, although considering the track record for these companies’ in-house competitive benchmarks, we’d rather wait for independent tests before drawing any conclusions.

Back to the new Nvidia products, the GeForce GTX 260M is a slightly stripped-down version of the 280M: it has 112 SPs, a 550MHz core clock speed, a 1375MHz shader speed, and a 462 gigaFLOPS rating. Nvidia pairs it with the same 1GB of 950MHz GDDR3 RAM as the 280M, though, so it should still be rather peppy. According to the firm, the GeForce 260M can outperforms the Mobility Radeon HD 4850 by up to 20%—a comparison that doesn’t account for the freshly launched Mobility Radeon HD 4860.

As a side note, Nvidia says the 280M and 260M both have quicker HybridPower switching times than the older GeForce 9800M GTX (less than a second instead of seven seconds). That means you should be able to switch between integrated Nvidia graphics (from a chipset like the GeForce 9400M) and a discrete GeForce 200M GPU in software almost seamlessly.

So, when are these new puppies coming out? Nvidia was a lot less secretive than AMD about its launch schedule, telling us plainly that GeForce GTX 200M-based laptops will come out next month. You can look forward to offerings from all the usual suspects, like Asus, Clevo, MSI, and Sager.

Comments closed
    • StuG
    • 11 years ago

    ZOMG EPIC….fail

      • Skyline57GTR
      • 11 years ago

      Agreed. GTX280M is base on the G92 chip. Just wow…

    • TaBoVilla
    • 11 years ago

    there must be a way to push the word about this out to the public, past the nVidia marketing department, this kind of practice is really shameful.

    But if you really think about it, they must be having problems with new designs for the mid market segment. Maybe the crippled GT200 chip design (128 bit bus, less ROPs, texture units, shaders etc) ended up actually slower than the old G92, bigger and more expensive to manufacture.

    I don’t think nVidia deliberately planned years ago to be reusing the same chip architecture over and over again for different products. I think they are desperate.

      • potatochobit
      • 11 years ago

      I think they have a surplus *cough* j/k

    • Xenolith
    • 11 years ago

    Same question that I posted in the Radeon Mobility story… will these be made into a nice MXM-II package so I can use it in my ASUS C90s?

    • dustyjamessutton
    • 11 years ago

    Even if the Mobile Radeon 4870 is slower, I prefer it because of DirectX 10.1 support. Even if no games support it right now, I still want that warm fuzzy feeling of having a 10.1 card in my system. I may be a little biased though, as I love to cheer for the little guy in a competition. And right now, AMD/ATI needs all the support they can get…

    • SomeOtherGeek
    • 11 years ago

    Ok, that is it! This is how I’m buying my next video card… If I feel green, I’ll buy nVidia and if I feel red I’ll get a ATI. Great plan or what??! Maybe I can be the next CEO of nVidia! Make 20 zillion bucks to come up with stupid names… Ummm. Nah, I’m too lazy and will hire “The Onion” writing staff to come up with the names! Awesome idea, huh?

    • blubje
    • 11 years ago

    anyone know what compute version it is? if it’s < 1.2 that’s too bad, atomic ops to shared mem is so useful.

    • jackaroon
    • 11 years ago

    It would be more fun if you wrote the headline as “Where is the G92 going now, and what is it called?”, and had a poll for us to guess the name, and didn’t reveal until the end.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Better yet the poll result could determine the article content, a sort of fill in the blank or mad libs. Chances are it would end up correct anyway.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    G92b = GTX 280M eh.
    Someone pass the bubbly.

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Scott, Cyril, Geoff, et al,

    Would TR be willing to host an open petition to Nvidia, titled “Honesty in Branding”?

    If not, I need to figure out how to start an internet petition.

    Anyone interested in this? Is it worth the effort? Anyone done an internet petition before (started or participated)?

      • PRIME1
      • 11 years ago

      Flip-mode on the rag.

        • flip-mode
        • 11 years ago

        If no one is interested then I’ll consider myself overly concerned and drop the issue.

          • ludi
          • 11 years ago

          See, this is why the professionals generally stick with mailbombs and snipped brake lines.

          • willyolio
          • 11 years ago

          i’d be interested in signing it.

            • kuraegomon
            • 11 years ago

            Me too, actually

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 11 years ago

            Me too, just to show them how stupid their PR department is… They need to fire all the executives and replace them with the sane engineers that are actually doing the work and know what they are talking about! Go for it and I’ll help you out with it.

            • khands
            • 11 years ago

            No, they just need to rebuild from the ground up their marketing department, with none of the prior employee’s around.

            • SomeOtherGeek
            • 11 years ago

            And that includes the executive cuz they are forever around and still paying the people in marketing!

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 11 years ago

            Wouldn’t you feel bad putting the filthy-rich evil marketing geniuses out of work after they have already gotten their NVidia tattoos?

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic.

    We’re being sold the 8800GT *AGAIN* and this time Nvidia has the COJONES to call it a GTX 280, clearly hoping we won’t pay attention to the sad little fact that the desktop GTX280 has NOTHING in common with the laptop GTX 280M. One is a full chip generation older!

    The only way AMD could match this would be to release a Radeon HD4650 as a ‘Radeon HD 4890 Mobile’.

    This has finally crossed the line from marketing to full-on deceptive.

      • End User
      • 11 years ago

      I would love an 8800GT in my laptop! 🙂

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      This isn’t the first time they’ve done this though, right? IIRC, in the GeForce 6 era the mobile GPUs were a generation behind but labeled like they were current desktop GPUs.

      • Envy007
      • 11 years ago

      “There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.” 😉

      Bye Bye Nvidia

    • Anomymous Gerbil
    • 11 years ago

    l[

      • homerdog
      • 11 years ago

      “Full” meaning all the SPs are enabled on the G92 chip.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      It doesn’t make any sense in hard drive reviews, but it makes sense here.

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 11 years ago

        Hmm, OK. But why not just say “all of the G92’s 128 stream processors are active”?

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Nvidia is disgusting me with this renaming spree. ATI does it here and there, mostly with low end parts (x300 to x1300, hd2600 to hd3400), but Nvidia is taking this far far far beyond anything that can be considered reasonable.

    First of all, the 9xxx nomenclature should never have been used for 8xxx series products, or perhaps even more wisely, the G92 should never have been labeled as an 8xxx product. But to take the G92 from 8xxx to 9xxx to 2xxGxx is frankly a little outrageous, and a little dishonest / disingenuous.

    • Farting Bob
    • 11 years ago

    Jesus titty f**king christ Nvidias marketing department deserves a good beating with a sledgehammer. After rebranding the rebranded G92’s, they then take an old G92 chip and give it the name of a new 200 chip.
    How long can they survive doing this before they find they run out of chips and have to actually design a chip again?

      • trinibwoy
      • 11 years ago

      Well all of their engineers and software developers presumably havent been twiddling their thumbs for the last 2 years while their marketing department futzes around.

      • JustAnEngineer
      • 11 years ago

      The evil marketing geniuses at NVidia continue to innovate in obfuscation and sleight-of-hand.

      §[<http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-02-28/<]§ §[<http://www.dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-03-02/<]§

        • Anomymous Gerbil
        • 11 years ago

        Sll[e]light of hand 🙂

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      How many chips could a Jen-Hsun rename if a Jen-hsun could rename chips?*

      *not really a question of ‘could’ any more.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 11 years ago

        Is this a trick question?

      • 5150
      • 11 years ago

      I wouldn’t tempt them if I were you.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      What, you missed the announcement for a Type R edition? It has nifty bright badges and the second-bay slot cooler emits a noise like a lion after burrito night.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 11 years ago

        I’ve seen graphics card coolers that were no more absurd than a surfboard-sized wing on a Civic.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Anyone else wish that NV didn’t screw around the numbers for their mobile parts? It would be great if the part numbers between desktop and mobile were the same for parts that are roughly the same. So the 280M would be a GTS 250M. I don’t pay close attention to mobile GPUs but I do know that NVs mobile scheme has been even more of a confusing clusterf* than their desktop parts.

    Of course that kind of naming wouldn’t make it past marketing.

    • THEODOROS
    • 11 years ago

    r[

      • MadManOriginal
      • 11 years ago

      Because FLOPS is not directly proportional to graphics performance.

      • Chrispy_
      • 11 years ago

      I heard that the Pentium 4 is faster than a core2 duo becuse its MHz number is bigger.

      Wai my gaems run so sloh? some1 lyed me :'(

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      Who the hell are you.

      • maxxcool
      • 11 years ago

      I like the green mhz better, they’re better for the environment at he same speed.

        • Buzzard44
        • 11 years ago

        You made my day.

        That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all month. (Possibly with the exception of the get snuggie commercial.)

      • shiznit
      • 11 years ago

      *red text crits your eyes for 4500*

        • khands
        • 11 years ago

        x2.000001 for over 9000 effect.

          • eitje
          • 11 years ago

          good reference!

      • Dr_b_
      • 11 years ago

      “STOP please bullshit to us”, well if you insist.

      Not only will the new nvidia mobile GPU outperform anything on the market in the mobile space, it will outperform anything in the desktop space for the next ten years, and it pumps power BACK into the grid its so energy efficient. Did I mention that it is free and you get money to “buy” in the form of a rebate coupon from nvidia?

    • ub3r
    • 11 years ago

    l[

      • grantmeaname
      • 11 years ago

      PRIME1’s special GPU benchmarking suite…

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