updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri September 3, 2010
NVIDIA GeForce 400M made official
NVIDIA kicked off the IFA show in earnest by unveiling the rest of the GeForce 400M lineup. Like the GTX 480M, the series is built on the Fermi architecture and supports full DirectX 11 (and OpenGL 4) features, but now in thin-and-light notebooks. The designs should be much faster for general-purpose computing like CUDA and OpenCL, and NVIDIA claims five times better performance for the relatively basic GT 420M versus Intel's current Core iX integrated video.
The line includes two particularly high-end chips destined for desktop replacement notebooks and other larger models. The GTX 470M runs 288 visual processing cores, each running at 1.1GHz; the GTX 460M cuts the number of cores down to 192 but ups their individual speeds to 1.35GHz. Both can address GDDR5 memory and support twin chips in SLI for very large, game-focused notebooks.
Most of the line is aimed at the mainstream. The GT 445M leads the mid-range and drops SLI, carrying 144 cores at 1.18GHz and optionally supporting DDR3 video memory to shave costs. The GT 435M trims to 96 cores at 1.3GHz and uses only DDR3. Both the GT 425M and GT 420M have 96 cores and differ only in clock speed, running at 1.12GHz and 1GHz respectively.
Only one basic chipset, the GT 415M, is avaiable; it cuts back to 48 cores at 1GHz and should be more suitable to smaller or budget notebooks.
All of them support 3D Vision and 3DTV Play as well as Optimus graphics switching to revert to slower Intel video to save energy. Windows users get Verde drivers that avoid the historical tendency for notebook drivers to remain frozen.
A handful of notebooks should be launching soon if not immediately with the new graphics. Among them are the ASUS G53Jw (GTX 460M) and the 3D-capable Acer Aspire 5745DG (GT 425M). Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba have been confirmed, and "others" are due to unveil soon. Apple is considered a strong candidate as it already uses GeForce 330M video in the 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models.