We got a surprise when we checked Nvidia's GeForce M series page earlier this week: listings for a whole lineup of GeForce 300M-series GPUs had appeared without so much as an official announcement. We asked Nvidia for clarification, and the firm replied with the following:
On Dec. 30th we launched our new NVIDIA GeForce 300M Series Notebook GPUs. The GeForce 300M Series has category leading performance and the 'graphics plus' features that only GeForce GPUs offer, such as support for CUDA, support for PhysX and downloadable notebook drivers. The new series includes:
- GeForce 305M and 310M, for mainstream users
- GeForce GT 325M, GT 330M, and GT 335M, for performance users
- GeForce GTS 350M and GTS 360M, for enthusiast users
The architecture is the same as the 200M Series, but with the GeForce 300M series we were able to take advantage of advances in the manufacturing process to create new GPUs with the improved performance, in some cases as much as 25% more, and reduced power consumption.
Just like corresponding GeForce 200M-series offerings, these new products all have 40-nm graphics chips with support for DirectX 10.1 extensions. 300M-series GPUs should just perform better—almost all of them have higher gigaFLOPS ratings than their predecessors, according to the spec sheets on Nvidia's site. We say almost, because Nvidia quotes the exact same numbers for the GeForce GTS 350M and GeForce GTS 250M. In this particular case, the statement above suggests power consumption may have gone down.
Nvidia claims this represents a new generation of products, adding that its branding isn't meant to reflect underlying architectures. We'll leave it up to you to decide whether process technology enhancements are enough to justify a whole new model number series. However, this is definitely not Nvidia's first move along similar lines. As far as we can see, the company has also taken GPUs derived from its DirectX 10 architecture across the 8000M, 9000M, 100M, and GTX 200M series of mobile parts.