Mobile GeForce GTX Graphics: Model Inflation Gone Awry

Test Settings And Benchmark Configuration

For many bucks-up gamers, the big question is whether to choose a portable desktop or gaming notebook for their travels. Representing today’s portable desktop is Shuttle’s tiny SX58H7 SFF (Shuttle Form Factor) cube.

Please check out today’s notebook comparison for more details on the Eurocom comparison system.

Desktop To Mobile Graphics Comparison

 

GTX 280M Test System

GTX 280 Test System

Model

Eurocom D900F Panther

Shuttle SX58H7 Barebones

CPU

Intel Core i7 965
3.20 GHz, 8.0 MB Cache

Intel Core i7 920 at 3.20 GHz
200 MHz BCLK, 16x Multiplier

Chipset

Intel X58/ICH10R

Intel X58/ICH10R

RAM

6.0 GB DDR3-1066 CAS 7

6.0 GB DDR3-1200 CAS 8

Graphics

Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M
580 MHz GPU, GDDR3-1900

Nvidia GeForce GTX 280
602 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2214

HDD

2 x Seagate 7200.4 500 GB RAID 0

WD VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS

Sound

Integrated HD Audio

Integrated HD Audio

Networking

Integrated Gigabit LAN

Integrated Gigabit LAN

Software

OS

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1

Graphics

GeForce 185.85 Mobile

GeForce 185.85 Desktop


With too-few Core i7-965 Extreme processors to share amongst every editor, this editor chose to overclock the Shuttle’s barebones PC’s Core i7-920 to 3.20 GHz for a performance match to the Eurocom notebook’s Core i7-965 Extreme.

Eurocom included 6.0 GB of DDR3-1066 CAS 7-7-7-20 memory in its D900F Panther. Overclocking the comparison system’s base clock to achieve an identical CPU clock kept us from finding an exact match in DRAM speed, so the desktop instead used a DDR3-1200 setting with slower CAS 8-8-8-24 timings to produce similar performance.

To assure readers this was a fair comparison in spite of the change in base clock, we also added some CPU and memory benchmarks to this simple graphics comparison.

Benchmark Configuration

3D Games

Crysis

Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool

Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA

Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA

Far Cry 2

DirectX 10, in-game benchmark

Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA

Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA

STALKER Clear Sky

Average of 4 segments "A-Tested Object'

Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, no MSAA

Test Set 2: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, 4xMSAA

World In Conflict

Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo

Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF

Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

3DMark Vantage

Version: 1.0.1, 3DMark score

SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3

Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark


Because Eurocom needed its notebook back quickly, we were unable to add further benchmarks to today’s test and instead rely on the graphics portion of its system performance test suite.

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70 comments
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    Top Comments
  • tacoslave
    and here i thought they were going to name it the gts 250m, but 280m? thats just low
    14
  • lemonade4
    Down with naming inflation!! (excellent article btw)
    10
  • Other Comments
  • tacoslave
    and here i thought they were going to name it the gts 250m, but 280m? thats just low
    14
  • amdfangirl
    Well... how long would a lappie last with power draws of the desktop GTX versions?
    -2
  • IzzyCraft
    Probably not more then 30 mins :) But that's not the point.
    4
  • Crashman
    IzzyCraftProbably not more then 30 mins But that's not the point.


    Actually, if you look at the notebook it's in...you could probably cool at least a GTX 275 with same-sized sinks if you had a lower power CPU.
    -2
  • Sharft6
    :o i never noticed this before although I've never had a laptop before. maybe this article could stoke up the the big boys in the gfx department to rethink their naming schemes :)
    0
  • apache_lives
    will these parts crash and burn like every other previous nvidia product released for laptop over the last 2 years?
    4
  • amdfangirl
    Well, the laptop maker could always try putting in a normal Geforce card...
    -3
  • lemonade4
    Down with naming inflation!! (excellent article btw)
    10
  • Crashman
    Anonymous said:
    Well, the laptop maker could always try putting in a normal Geforce card...


    It would be hard, but when nVidia makes a card using the same specs as the GTS 250...except lower clock speeds...it could at least call the thing a GTS 250M.

    Then again, both it an the GTS 250 are actually die-shrunk, underclocked 8800 GTS 512s...with twice the memory.
    0
  • falchard
    I think the die on the GTX 260+ is just too large to shrink down to be cool enough and power hungryless enough to put in a laptop.
    0
  • crisisavatar
    I am shocked TH actually posted this lol, let me SS just for the lulz.
    -8
  • mickey21
    Very well done article.... It explains the lower cost of the 280M part versus the 8800M GTX MXM addon... Interesting indeed... Especially since I own a laptop that uses the latter... That is bad on nVidia to represent the mobile part as the same model number... This does not sit well with me at all...
    3
  • Anonymous
    Place your ATI Mobility Laptop on a decent Laptop Cooler, (Belkin make a very good one, 8/10 Degrees Celsius depending on load) plugged into the mains(Which is exactly where most people will be when gaming, Battery life does not tend to allow long bouts of mobile gaming, we are used to it!)and overclock the Mobility chipset using AMDGpuTool.exe which allows for a significant overclock!

    Check the temps with HWmonitor until you find a happy overclock versus temperature. i bet you will find it going to the same clock speeds as the desktop variety.
    1
  • sublifer
    I can't believe that nvidia did it again! It was bad enough renaming the 8800/9800 to the GT 200 class but to imply its now a mobile equivalent to the GTX 280 is freakin wrong! Glad TH wrote this... I hadn't heard about it yet. After their defective graphics of two years ago I didn't really need another reason to avoid their mobile line further but I was hoping they'd at least begin to prove they've got reliable parts. Now though, reliable or not I won't stand for this BS. Nvidia will never get a recommendation from me.
    8
  • Anonymous
    you cannot expect ATI to even consider changing the name on their mobile parts unless Nvidia does it first. Nvidia has been riding this train for a while now, and in order for ATI to compete they may have to follow the trend and start "over-naming" their mobile parts. I'm sure Nvidia is NOT going to change the mobile parts' names, so the only fair thing to do is for ATI to rename that 4850M into 4890M :) and honestly, even that would not be as bad as 8800GTS-->280M.
    4
  • f4nt4sm4
    Nice article, Reminds me why I visit TH on a daily bssis :P
    2
  • scook9
    ATI really isn't that bad at all actually....People have gotten scores over 16000 in 3dMark06 using Mobility 3870x2 and a mildly overclocked CPU (mildly because that's all you can do on a laptop). That is on par with the desktop equivalent if you ask me. Maybe even slightly better depending on the rig. And the fact that the architecture is IDENTICAL for the laptop/desktop parts with ATI puts me 100% at ease.

    Nvidia however, I agree is atrocious with it's naming. If anyone has the time and money, they could probably be successfully sued over this haha. Of course....in about 1 minute on Nvidia's website you can figure out the equivalent desktop GPU as well...
    1
  • Pei-chen
    Why complaint? Would you prefer the sticker on your extreme gaming notebook to say Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA 8800GTS? NVIDIA renamed old parts because they need to present a unified lineup that doesn’t confuse the customer. Having a bunch of 8x00, 9x00, GTX 2x0 is not going to help customer making a purchase decision.

    All you have to remember is that GTX 280 > GTX 260 > GTS 260 and you know how much you want to spend. Whether the name corresponds with desktop parts is a non-issue as you are not going to substitute an 11lb gaming notebook with a 15lb Shuttle case and 20lb LCD.
    -11
  • B-Unit
    Pei-chenWhy complaint? Would you prefer the sticker on your extreme gaming notebook to say Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA 8800GTS? NVIDIA renamed old parts because they need to present a unified lineup that doesn’t confuse the customer. Having a bunch of 8x00, 9x00, GTX 2x0 is not going to help customer making a purchase decision.All you have to remember is that GTX 280 > GTX 260 > GTS 260 and you know how much you want to spend. Whether the name corresponds with desktop parts is a non-issue as you are not going to substitute an 11lb gaming notebook with a 15lb Shuttle case and 20lb LCD.

    Except that GTX280M = GTS250. That's the complaint.

    At best, the top end part should be a GTX250M. This is misleading and shady as hell. Im done with nVidia, I'll never buy or recommend one of their products again.
    4
  • cking
    The problem here is that it reall isn't about the speed of the part compared to it's desktop counter part. Anyone that expects it to be close is rather foolish. The real issue here is the that the name of the mobile part has nothing to do with the archeticture the chip is designed. That is were ATI is successful and NVidia fails completely. Yes the ATI part is slower then it's desktop counterpart but atleast it contains the same basic chip design and features. The nvidia part doesn't it isn't even based on the GTX 2x0 archeticture.

    We should remember that there are allot scarafices made to get either card into a laptop and in many cases the card will vary from laptop to laptop.
    9