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A New Graphics Module And Base Platform

Eurocom Racer 2.0 Review: Intel's Ivy Bridge Meets Nvidia's Kepler
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GeForce GTX 660M: A Chip Off Of The Old GK104

When Nvidia first announced that it planned to adapt its Kepler architecture for the mobile space, many enthusiasts wondered how. More specifically, just how far would the mobile version be removed from the GPU we came to praise in the GeForce GTX 680 and 670?

Desktop vs Mobile GeForce Graphics
 Desktop GeForce
GTX 680
GeForce
GTX 675M
Desktop GeForce
GT 640
GeForce
GTX 660M
ArchitectureKepler (GK104)Fermi (GF114)Kepler (GK107)Kepler (GK107)
Transistors3.54 Billion1.95 Billion1.3 Billion1.3 Billion
Engine Clock1006 MHz620 MHz900 MHz835 MHz
CUDA Cores1536384384384
Texture Units128643232
ROP Units32321616
Compute Performance3.09 TFLOPS952 GFLOPS691 GFLOPS791 GFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-6008GDDR5-3000GDDR3-1782GDDR5-4000
DRAM Interface256-bits256-bits128-bits128-bits
Memory Bandwidth192 GB/s96 GB/s64 GB/s64 GB/s
TDP195 W100 W65 W50 W


Possessing roughly one-third of the transistors found in GK104, the GTX 660M’s GK107 matches most closely the specifications of Nvidia’s familiar and fabulously-cheap GeForce GT 640.

But why do we have a Fermi-based product in that chart?

Based on the GeForce GTX 560 Ti, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 675M is nothing other than a renamed GTX 580M. Adding benchmark results from that older solution in this review lets you jump back to some of our previous coverage in order to draw broader comparisons of platform performance.

As you can see in the shot above, GK107 (on the right) is downright diminutive compared to GF114 (on the left).

HM77 Express: Panther On A Diet

The HM77 Express looks a lot like any other of Intel's Panther Point chipsets (even the high-flying Z77 Express, which received mild enthusiasm based on its handful of advancements compared to Z68 Express).

And yet, a quick look at Intel’s site shows that the HM77 Express is 104 mm2 smaller than either the desktop-specific Z77 or H77 Express Platform Controller Hubs. Rated at 4.1 W, it's also up to 37% more efficient. I can see how careful binning might help Intel define two different chipset classes able to run at lower voltages. But it's more difficult to figure out where Intel was able to shave off 104 mm2 of silicon.

The HM77 Express-based features to look out for in Eurocom’s notebook include its integrated USB 3.0 ports and support for three display outputs. Integrated USB 3.0 allows Eurocom to eliminate the two-port add-in controller found in its first-gen Racer notebook, while simultaneously increasing the number of ports. A trio of display outputs allows you to put monitors on each side of the notebook’s panel for better productivity, even if the high resolutions inherent to Nvidia's Surround technology are too demanding for gaming with a notebook-specific GPU.

No discussion of platform evolution would be complete without mentioning Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge architecture, though we have covered its benefits extensively. With a more efficiency-driven spin given to our mobile Ivy-Bridge review, we’re focusing today’s Core i7-3820QM on real-world capabilities.

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