The release of Nvidia's GeForce 500M-series notebook GPUs seemed to slip under the radar somewhat at CES last week, and with good reason—by Nvidia's own admission, these are little more than higher-clocked versions of previous mid-range and low-end 400M-series parts. Still, we'd be remiss not to give you the skinny on the new lineup.
The new series includes GeForce GT 520M, 525M, 540M, 550M, and 555M GPUs, all based on the Fermi microarchitecture and equipped with support for Optimus switchable graphics. Nvidia tells us the GT 520M delivers up to twice the performance of the integrated graphics in Intel's Sandy Bridge processors, while the GT 540M is up to four times as fast, and the rest of the lineup is quicker still. Specifications for the 500M series are as follows:
|GeForce GT 520M||48||740 MHz||1480 MHz||up to 1.5GB||800 MHz||64-bit|
|GeForce GT 525M||96||600 MHz||1200 MHz||up to 1.5 GB||900 MHz||128-bit|
|GeForce GT 540M||96||672 MHz||1344 MHz||up to 1.5 GB||up to 900 MHz||128-bit|
|GeForce GT 550M||96||740 MHz||1480 MHz||up to 1.5 GB||900 MHz||128-bit|
|GeForce GT 555M||144||590 MHz||1180 MHz||up to 1.5 GB||900 MHz||192-bit|
All five offerings support both DDR3 and GDDR5 memory, as well. Presumably, it'll be up to PC makers to decide which memory type they use.
According to Nvidia, notebooks based on these new GPUs will become available worldwide this month. The firm expects 500M-series GPUs to pop up in notebooks from Acer, Alienware, Asus, Clevo, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba, among others. At the high end, you're still going to see the GeForce GTX 460M, 470M, and 485M powering upscale gaming notebooks.