Poll: Your take on Nvidia’s mobile GPU branding

If you didn’t know any better, you might think Nvidia’s new GeForce GTX 280M and 260M graphics processors were mobile versions of the similarly named desktop parts. As we explained early this morning, though, that’s just not the case: both mobile offerings are based on the same 55nm G92b GPU that powers the GeForce 9800 GTX+ and the new GeForce GTS 250 1GB. By contrast, the desktop GeForce GTX 280 and 260 use a significantly more powerful (but bigger and more power-hungry) GT200 GPU.

That leads us to our latest poll question: what do you think of Nvidia’s branding choice here? Is it fair to associate the new mobile GPUs with considerably faster desktop offerings? Admittedly, Nvidia doesn’t make any higher-end mobile GPUs, and the GT200 seems like a poor fit for mobile use. However, one could also say Nvidia is purposefully misleading customers into buying older technology with a new brand name. After all, the original, 65nm G92 launched almost a year and a half ago. Cast your vote either below or on our front page.

In our previous poll, we asked what role your netbook was filling. 3% of respondents said they use their netbook as a primary system, while 8% use it as a laptop replacement, 11% see their netbook as a second laptop, and 3% use it for another purpose entirely. The remaining 75% said they don’t own a netbook.

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    • StuG
    • 11 years ago

    I don’t see why it would be so hard for Nvidia to take the chip, add/subtract a few of its features, just a little bit, call it a G95 and than release it. That would make everybody happy. Atleast it woudln’t be the same chip. ATI looked at Nvidia’s mess and made the r790. Nobody is complaining, becuase it has a little different features, and thus is a new chip. Nvidia just can’t seem to catch onto that.

    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
    • CheetoPet
    • 11 years ago

    Do your product research before you buy anything. Its definitely misleading, but its not like theres any shortage of people on the internet who will tell you what you’re really getting. Its all just marketing BS, we sift through this crap every day. If you don’t like it, don’t buy their products.

    • Ikeoth
    • 11 years ago

    My Main complaint with the *[

      • trinibwoy
      • 11 years ago

      You can SLI a 512MB GTS 250 with a 512MB 9800GTX+

      And #43, we have absolutely no basis for guessing that a cutdown GT2xx chip would be tangibly faster than G92. People seem to be focusing too much on chip names and not on the performance and price. You know, the things that consumers actually care about.

        • barleyguy
        • 11 years ago

        The naming isn’t just about whether it’s faster. It’s about how modern of a design it is, and whether the architecture is optimized for current games. It something was designed and released as an 8800, it shouldn’t be released again as a 9800 and then a 250.

        That said, NVidia’s model numbers are completely up to them. I voted “borderline unethical”, because I think it’s deceiving to people when they are shopping for a video card. But if NVidia wants to call it a “4324.75” card, that’s their prerogative.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      I must have unique powers of resisting coercion, because my 8800GT is still flying solo. And unless someone hands me a free matching card, I will continue to resist the Big Men From Nvidia’s efforts to promote SLI, and replace the 8800GT with an ATi 4870 if the upgrade itch becomes strong.

    • DeadCatBounce
    • 11 years ago

    Confusing perhaps, but how does this differ from running a mobile RV770 at lower clocks than the desktop variety? I don’t find either practice objectionable.

    Enthusiasts should only be concerned with price/performance. What does it matter what the underlying architecture is? Find a review with the benchmarks you care about and quit whining.

      • dhmhtries22
      • 11 years ago

      ***But the point that made me ungry is not the difference in power from the same name desktop card.e.g gtx 280 and gtx 280m as nvidia says.Its that is based in older chipset design that perfoms as an older chipset design and they sell it as new one .And as *many* people just knows the gtx 280 is the best high-end card from nvidia ,so they’ll think the same for mobile part.
      Yes its true the gtx 280m IS the nvidia’s high-end mobile part ,but please name it to something like 9800 gtx m plus or ultra or ….. Yes its more powerful than 9800gtx m but this dont justify anything.And i am certainly sure that if nvidia had a mobile part based in gt 200 it would be less powerful than desktop gtx 280 but MORE THAN THE TODAY’S GTX280M.***

      I hope i answered your query

      • Goty
      • 11 years ago

      ATI doesn’t take a 3870, slap it into a mobile package and call it a 4870. The Mobility 4870 IS a 4870, with an identical feature set and performance (taking clockspeed into account, of course).

      NVIDIA, on the other hand, pulls out its two yeard old technology and puts a new name on it to try and sell it to people who don’t know any better. The difference is that people who go out and buy these GPUs expecting the GT200 feature set are being deliberately mislead.

        • DeadCatBounce
        • 11 years ago

        q[

    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Perhaps NV hired Pete Townshend as a marketing advisor

    ‘Meet the new boss,
    Same as the old boss’

    • StuG
    • 11 years ago

    Either way, I’d like to point out that the HD4870 is still called the HD4870, even after its first launch and the bit of time that has passed. And what do you know….if its an HD4870, its actually something different than the HD3870, and won’t be the same as an HD5870. I think ATI/AMD has really hit upon something here. Stable un-changing names? Who would of thunk it! This will surely revolutionize the GPU market as we know it!

    *I think Nvidia is just having a very very drawn out I.D.10T. error in their naming dept.*

    • dhmhtries22
    • 11 years ago

    Hi all. I am dhmhtrhs from greece and this is the first time i write in this forum.I read almost every day the news for a year now and this is the first time that something galvanizes me into action.Even if i dont like nvidia vga’s too much(for their 3d quality most) ,i have to admit they have brought some excellent products and technology in market.

    For todays poll my opinion is that is all for marketing * i chose absolutely misleading though. These are tough days and you must find ways to survive.But the point that made me ungry is not the difference in power from the same name desktop card.e.g gtx 280 and gtx 280m as nvidia says.Its that is based in older chipset design that r[

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      Welcome to the Tech Report. 🙂

      I hope you post more! You make some good points.

        • Fighterpilot
        • 11 years ago

        I agree,nice first post …the Greeks are known for wisdom…er…amongst other things…welcome to -[

      • torquer
      • 11 years ago

      man, this is all Greek to me…

    • pogsnet
    • 11 years ago
      • no51
      • 11 years ago

      I as well.

    • FireGryphon
    • 11 years ago

    If all consumers had the knowledge of gerbils like us, then nVidia could assume they’d say, “Oh, it’s a laptop chip, so it can’t possibly be as powerful as the desktop version. Clearly, this is just branding.” Of course, most consumers don’t know to say that, so it is unethical for nVidia to name its chips as it does.

    At best, we can say that the top desktop chips and the top laptop chips get the same names to identify them as the top chips alone, not to identify their core architecture. That’s stretching reality extremely far, and it is not what the average consumer assumes a model number signifies.

    • ludi
    • 11 years ago

    It’s garbage, and it’s misleading garbage, but I can’t think of a way in which it constitutes illegal garbage.

    Although, much as I generally dislike the popular abuse of the class action suit, it would be quite ticklish to see Nvidia get smacked around in court over the 8xxx/9xxx and 9xxx/GTX Mobile branding.

    • swish
    • 11 years ago

    There’s a model-numbering mess. It’s too confusing for the average person to figure out what they all mean. It’s too time consuming for the average geek to figure it all out.

    Yes, nVIDIA’s laptop model numbers are misleading and wrong.

    So how to fix all this? It took Intel years of experience to get better at part numbers and marketing. During that time, the CPU market evolved to the point where Intel had a good idea of user needs and how to label.

    GPUs don’t seem to be done yet. There are SLI/multi-GPU, core clock speeds, RAM clock speeds, RAM bus bit-width, memory bandwidth numbers, stream processor counts, “how fast does this card run my favorite game” metrics…. let’s not forget the process technology (is it 55nm, 40nm? How loud/hot will it run? Cool enough for my HTPC?) and what about linux support or levels-of-HD-Video acceleration?

    Dude. Enough. I’m through wasting my time with all that. As a consumer, I’m out cold comatose by now.

    At this rate my next video card will be a fanless, 11watt Matrox P690 Plus.

    (no, I don’t work for Matrox, but I fondly remember my G400 and Millenium)

      • SPOOFE
      • 11 years ago

      /[

        • BoBzeBuilder
        • 11 years ago

        What do you mean /[

          • Scrotos
          • 11 years ago

          What do you mean, you mean, you people?!?

        • Buzzard44
        • 11 years ago

        Indeed, what doth thou mean?

        Form Gerbil Battle square!

        GGGGG key: G – gerbil warrior
        G TR G
        GGGGG

        Get ready gerbils. Ready, halt background processes, fold!

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          My background processes are all necessary, thank you.

        • twizttid13
        • 11 years ago

        To me it’s not really confusing it’s just unnecessary and they shouldn’t have to do it in the first place.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 11 years ago

    As long as they don’t miss the performance/$$$ mark, I don’t see what’s the big deal. What difference would it make if Nvidia actually created a GT200 based chip that performed exactly the same as the current GeForce GTS 250? Would I see better image quality or am I missing any features not available on G92?

      • Rurouni
      • 11 years ago

      Probably if you do GPGPU stuff you’ll miss the real GTX 200 series feature. It got local memory (not to be confused with cache and video memory) and can do double precision floating point.
      Other than that, it’s basically the same core as the GeForce 8 series.

      Although I don’t like Nvidia pulling this kind of stunt, the only people that should worry is the one that want to do some serious GPGPU stuff… they wouldn’t be happy to know that the GTX 200 series that Nvidia promised to have dp fp turn out to be the same core as the 8 series GPU.

      Nvidia should at least named it GTS 200 series and not GTX so that people can relate it to their desktop counterpart.

    • [SDG]Mantis
    • 11 years ago

    Both sides name mobile GPUs that are substantially less powerful than desktop counterparts after the same part number. Now, maybe, this one is a bit worse for being a completely different part, *but* it is also a substantial upgrade from the previous top mobile GPU from nVidia.

    I really wish that nVidia and ATI would both name mobile GPUs based on what desktop GPU they were equivalent to at their mobile clock speeds which almost always have been reduced for the laptop thermal envelope. I don’t see it happening any time soon. At least if you see ATI or nVidia on a laptop you can count on it being much faster than Intel graphics for now. Beyond that you really need to do your research.

    • SPOOFE
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve always been of the opinion that names don’t matter very much. As long as there’s internally consistent differentiation it’s all fine by me. They’ve used their “latest high-end moniker” to refer to their “latest high-end mobile GPU”, more or less.

    Is it confusing? Well, sure. And it would be a lot nicer and friendlier if they held our hands through the purchasing process, I suppose. But I don’t want companies to be nice and friendly. I want them to put out products and I’ll look at them and judge for myself.

    I simply can’t whip myself into the frenzied rage that some people have over issues like this. It’s a name. That’s all it is. Its specifications and characteristics and background and all that is readily available. I suppose if there were some aspect of the chip that nVidia was trying to keep super-duper secret from everyone that would elicit some pathos from me, but the words they use to identify their product on the store shelf are complete immaterial.

    That’s just me. And I don’t buy very many computer components relative to some of my contemporaries here, so take my view with a grain of salt.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 11 years ago

    unethical and nothing new. ATi had a Mobility Radeon with no T&L and a Mobility Radeon 9700 with 4 pipelines as a mobile part. nVidia had the GeForce 9600M that implies it has 64 shaders and 256-bit memory by its name but only has 32 and a 128-bit memory interface.

    • TaBoVilla
    • 11 years ago

    These kind of corporate practice is sad. Probably if the market wasn’t so fragile these days, they would have properly informed the market why they are reusing the same design over and over again on different segments, in order to not send the stocks crashing way down (Mid Range GT200 chip design problems, maybe? I don’t think this was planned)

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    As I said in another thread, I know there have been times in the past where the video GPUs have had the same numbering as, but vastly different performance than, the desktop GPUs. So that in terms of shaders and clockspeed a mobile Gefore 6800 was more like a desktop 6200 (or whatever, I forget the details… which is kind of the point of my other post).

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    I will say, though, this is one case where AMD’s lack of any detectable marketing department has saved them from following nVidia into the endless-cycle-of-idiot-renaming quagmire.

    • UberGerbil
    • 11 years ago

    If you’re a total “enthusiast” who follows every twist and turn of technology, every new model variation and every tit-for-tat price drop or feature war, nVidia’s parade of names is downright malicious. It makes all that carefully-accumulated knowledge useless, or worse, misleading. Your own expertise and experience works against you. It makes you feel stupid. That’s no way to be treated, especially since you probably or, or have been, one of nVidia’s best customers. No wonder so many enthusiasts are pissed.

    But most people aren’t enthusiasts. Most people don’t follow video card technology closely. Most people who are even aware of buying a video card at all (vs just getting a computer that has some kind of port on the back to plug the monitor into) only buy one every three or four years or so, and thus miss whole generations of cards (whatever they might have been named). Most people are like the guys we see post here occasionally — “I haven’t been keeping up, what’s the best bang for the buck for $xxx?” — and so they have to learn everything from scratch every time anyway. They aren’t led astray by their intricate knowledge of past models, and they aren’t pissed that model NNN used to be called model YYY because they never knew about YYY. It just doesn’t matter. Nor do they care that mobile GPU XXX is better/worse than the desktop GPU with the same name, or that the numbering scheme is misleading between the two lines, or whatever. Because if you’re shopping for a laptop you’re not looking at or thinking about desktop GPUs, and vice versa. It just doesn’t matter.

    And those people are a bigger market than the enthusiasts. Of course they often ask enthusiasts for help — hence those posts we see here — so the resentment nVidia is engendering in the techie community will hurt them. But it’s not nearly as big a deal as some people seem to think it is. And I doubt the OEMs care at all.

    So yes, it’s stupid. nVidia is giving itself a black eye with its best customers, and it is doing so for no reason that makes any sense outside the offices of their marketing wing. Whether this is a grand make-work project among the (obviously over-staffed) suits or empire-building and out-of-control office politics spilling over into product nomenclature, it’s a bad way to be spending corporate dollars. But it’s not unethical. GM sells the same car in slightly different trim as completely different models (Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Chevy, Saturn) and nobody freaks out. It’s stupid and wasteful (though that’s the least of their problems, it didn’t help) but in the end it’s not a big deal. When someone needs a car they figure out what’s available that meets their needs and budgets, and they buy it — no matter what it is called (or what it used to be called). Video cards are the same.

      • jpostel
      • 11 years ago

      Your car analogy is off.

      If BMW rips the engine out of a new 750i and drop an older, less powerful engine in it, but then call it a 750im, you and every other car buyer that is not just looking at the name would balk when you found out.

      They are banking on you not checking the details.

      It is deliberately misleading because they use the same standard naming convention to mean two different things. That is the definition of misleading.

        • ClickClick5
        • 11 years ago

        Out of that whole post, the most apparent part for you was the BMW deal?
        Tisk-tisk.

        This serves as another reason nvidia should not make CPUs.
        AMD’s little change up with the 65nm Brisbanes was enough.

      • PRIME1
      • 11 years ago

      If they are not “enthusiasts” the name on the box won’t matter one bit.

      They will either buy what someone else tells them or just randomly grab something off the shelf in their price range.

    • j1o2h3n4
    • 11 years ago

    I really agree with moshpit’s comment, it really is just trying to misslead user, afterall there are so many different numbers nVidia could hv chosen, why purposely bump in to its performing desktop counterpart, when it is just not.
    GTX 280M != GTX 280 enough said.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      And 9600M GT =/= 9600 GT… your point is? That’s what the M is for in it. To break the equation.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    If there’s an nVidia lurker out there from the marketing department reading this and rolling his eyes, listen if you are open:

    I’m sure you or your team has used focus groups and fancy business-statistics to justify these moves, but you’ve done so at the cost of possibly embittering your core audience. This counts for a lot, and is a detail perhaps easily lost in your organizational culture of studying consumer-psychology or excel graphs.

    Constantly changing your branding comes across to us as a sign of insecurity to us techies and is confusing to your customers. We talk to our friends and co-workers back and forth about these shifty practices, you know. This counter-boosterism might not be an observable or measurable science that can be easily referenced in an excel graph… but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

    It might not effect you know but consumer-resentment is a bitch to repair after the damage is done.

    If you are not open to suggestion: Please fall on your pen.

    • PRIME1
    • 11 years ago

    This will go over as well as that infamous AMD poll.

    • Deanjo
    • 11 years ago

    Is it really any different then when CPU’s do a die shrink and use the same name? This is hardly anything new for the industry as chipsets have been renamed as have graphics cards and cpu’s in some cases. AMD/Nvidia/intel have all done it.

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      Uh, quite. A die shrink doesn’t result in massive performance increases, an architectural change does. A die shrink is hardly an architectural change. What Nvidia is doing isn’t comparable to Intel keeping the Cedar Mill Pentium 4’s branded as “Pentium 4’s” despite the fact that they were just 65nm versions of the 90nm Prescotts. It’d be like Intel taking a Merom chip and branding it a “Core i7 Mobile.” It isn’t a Core i7, in fact, it isn’t even a Nehalem derivative — it’s a Conroe derivative, through and through…

        • Deanjo
        • 11 years ago

        Guess you forgot items such as the Sempron or intels rebadging of chipsets for their server line or ATI’s rebadging of RV610 and 630 chips to the 4×00 series.

    • herothezero
    • 11 years ago

    Put me down for, “nVidia’s branding scheme across the board sucks crusty donkey genitalia.”

    If they want to cut costs and improve the product, fire their friggin’ marketing department. They’re useless.

      • moshpit
      • 11 years ago

      HALLALUYA!!! Sing it again, brother!

    • Sanctusx2
    • 11 years ago

    I voted fair game, I wouldn’t necessarily word it like that. I don’t see it as unethical though either. The model number of mobile graphics cards have /[

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah, I agree. Teapot, meet tempest. Angry, angry, enthusiast tempest.

    • moshpit
    • 11 years ago

    Fair game???? Who voted like that? I suppose if I sell you my Core 2 Quad Q6600 as a Core i7 mobile, you’d think that was fair game as well? Damn!

      • Vasilyfav
      • 11 years ago

      It’s called capitalism. If you can sell horse manure as a Core i7 and get away with it, all cards to you my man.

        • TaBoVilla
        • 11 years ago

        I get the horse, you get the blue boxes, we have work to do!

        • MadManOriginal
        • 11 years ago

        That way of thinking explains a lot of what’s going wrong these days. If you have to ‘get away with it’ it’s something wrong in the first place.

          • SPOOFE
          • 11 years ago

          THAT’S what’s wrong? Names of products on store shelves? You think THAT’S the problem with the world today? Really?

          Has nVidia lied about this product’s performance, or power usage, or availability? Have they lied about ANY substantial aspect of this processor? Or, if you believe the name to be substantial, could you explain why?

            • MadManOriginal
            • 11 years ago

            Don’t be stupid. The post to which I replied was broadly about ‘that’s capitalism for ya!’ and gave an example that it’s ok to sell horsecrap as a CPU if you can ‘get away with it.’ Think in a little wider context, I wasn’t really referring to technology in particular or even at all.

            • SPOOFE
            • 11 years ago

            Don’t be stupid right back atcha. It’s the name of a product. A product’s name, with very, very few exceptions, almost never explains what the product is or what it’s capable of. Do you think people buy Mach 3 razors thinking they’ll actually greatly exceed the speed of sound?

            • MixedPower
            • 11 years ago

            If I buy a Mach 3 razor I don’t expect to get a Mach 2 razor.

            • SPOOFE
            • 11 years ago

            You expect to get a shaving implement, called a “Mach 3”. It’s an item that allows one to shave.

            Similarly, when you buy an nVidia graphics card of any name, you expect a product that will process graphics. Does the GTX250 accomplish this task, yes or no?

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            No, because there’s no such thing as a GTX 250.

            • eitje
            • 11 years ago

            If I buy a Mach 3 razor, I don’t expect to get horse manure.

            • SPOOFE
            • 11 years ago

            Do you expect to go into emo hysterics?

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      I did. My reasoning is in my post (#14)

      • asdsa
      • 11 years ago

      nvidia fans, who else?

        • Meadows
        • 11 years ago

        UberGerbil.

    • ClickClick5
    • 11 years ago

    Nvidia’s branding scheme is starting to get me upset.
    The 8 series was ok for me, then the 9 series…a rebrand of the 8. THEN came the 2xx series in what was less then 12 months later. Then they (nvidia) decided to start shifting names around.

    Now this…

    GTX 280…as a mobile GPU. Ha!

    So what? Are we going to be faced with a desktop branding and a laptop branding? Even if both say that the GPU is a “GTX 300”, it is really a 280+ for the desktop and a 9600GT for the laptop.

    Ah…4870 works (and sounds) so much cooler. 😉

    • Meadows
    • 11 years ago

    Confusing, but makes sense in a context if we consider mobile GPUs to be in their own category, and then order them by performance. This way, it seems like chips behind the branding matter even less in the mobile world than they do for desktop hardware – all that matters is that this is a higher performing part, and they’ve run out of numbers before it.

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