Nvidia bumps clock speeds with GeForce 500M series

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:

Graphics processor SPs Core




Memory Memory




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.

Comments closed
    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    No comments about this being a re-branding? Have people started accepting this practice?

      • Wintermane
      • 9 years ago

      The important part of the 500 series is they run cooler and use less power a very good feature for a laptop chip.

      But then we dont get those specs here so we cant tell how cool or low power they realy are.

    • ClickClick5
    • 9 years ago

    Hum. Whats after this? The 666M?
    Sounds like an nvidia route.

      • Dr_b_
      • 9 years ago

      no that would be the 665M.

    • oMa
    • 9 years ago

    Seems like 525, 540 and 550 is the same die with only 20% difference in clock speed. I am able to overclock the shaders in my 9300m gs(vaio z) to 1900 Mhz(35% OC), it shouldn’t be a problem to overclock 525m to at least 550m clocks when its needed(battery taken out, a small gap between the table and the computer).

    • dpaus
    • 9 years ago

    And they [i<][b<]still[/i<][/b<] can't drive more than two displays...

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      Just out of curiosity, how do you expect a laptop to drive more than two displays? <EDIT>As far as I can tell</EDIT> DisplayPort is the only viable option since I cannot recall ever seeing a laptop with more than one display output (disclaimer: I mostly ignore “luggable” monstrosities). I doubt any laptop maker would choose DisplayPort for now – they would be shooting themselves in the foot since DisplayPort monitors/projectors are still as rare as hen’s teeth.

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        my amd laptop has vga and hdmi, it’s a tiny hp dm3. many laptops have both of those. 3 displays would be the integrated screen and both those ports. i honestly never tried to run all 3 at the same time, but i know it can run the internal and one external, and that’s been good enough for me.

        I think a laptop with a couple of display port outputs would be nice. the adapters aren’t that much i think a most monitors will have that input in the next year or two.

          • Palek
          • 9 years ago

          Wow, I’ve been out of the loop for too long… Mostly dealing with business laptops doesn’t help either, I guess.

          DisplayPort allows daisy-chaining, so you don’t actually need two ports to drive multiple displays.

        • grantmeaname
        • 9 years ago

        I have never owned a laptop with only one display connector. And I’ve never bought a laptop that was six pounds or heavier.

        • Firestarter
        • 9 years ago

        My 6 (7?) pound laptop has vga, dvi AND s-video. Not super portable but not quite luggable either.

        • dpaus
        • 9 years ago

        Sorry, but you’re off on a couple of points:
        1.) most laptops in the last 2 – 3 years seem to come with multiple video outputs, usually either VGA or DVI and then HDMI or Displayport. All 5 of the laptops we’ve bought in the last 24 months (2x 17″ model and the others 15″) had two external video connectors (and every one of them was able to drive both external ports in addition to the laptops own panel – mind you, they all had AMD chipsets)
        2.) a [i<]lot[/i<] of medium-to-high-end laptops are coming out with DisplayPort now; most of the Dell and [i<]hp[/i<] models I looked at just before Christmas had DisplayPort. The one I ended up purchasing (a Dell Studio XPS 15) had DisplayPort and HDMI as external ports - no VGA, no DVI.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        Laptops are going to be (or already are) using DisplayPort for their [i<]internal[/i<] display connection (which eliminates the wide wire path the current LVDS connection requires), thanks to support for DP being built into the chipset/GPU, so adding external DP would literally cost nothing more than the price of the connector. [url<]http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2010/12/08/leading-pc-companies-move-to-all-digital-display-technology-phasing-out-analog[/url<]

      • travbrad
      • 9 years ago

      How many people actually have 3 monitors? In my experience, most people don’t even have 2. Even among enthusiasts, triple monitor setups are pretty rare.

      I agree it would be nice if they supported it, but at the same time it’s something that probably effects less than 1% of people, so it’s not like they are losing a lot of potential customers.

    • StuG
    • 9 years ago

    Yea, I think I’ll stick with desktop parts. The amount of performance these offer compared to how much they cost is sometimes a tad ridiculous.

      • TurtlePerson2
      • 9 years ago

      I don’t understand why people buy “gaming laptops.” It’s cheaper just to buy a portable desktop. In some cases it’s cheaper to buy two portable desktops.

        • BehemothJackal
        • 9 years ago

        I have a Asus G73jh and that thing is beastly and not outrageously expensive to boot. The only game I can’t enjoy on Max settings right now is Metro 2033 (from what I own).

        • CoWBoY
        • 9 years ago

        Clearly you must not have kids/travel much? I have a Asus G60 w/360M and it’s a beast. Mainly plays Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age at the moment and plays them @ max settings. It made surviving the holidays that much easier. Brought the Xbox 360 too, though the laptop got the most use from my family this past Thanksgiving/Christmas. Between gaming by everyone (Yes, even my parents whom are in their 60’s), watching movies/trailers @1080p through HDMI and downloading music/games through iTunes, it clearly made visiting family out of state more enjoyable than previous holidays.

        The only thing preventing me from going fully dedicated to laptops at home is the need for expandability. Well that and wanting/waiting for Bulldozer.

        Otherwise my next laptop would have eyefinity and I would run 3x screens.


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