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Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460M

GeForce GTX 460M SLI: Mobile Gaming Value From AVADirect?
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With a die size less than half that of the GeForce GTX 480M, the GTX 460M’s 1.5 GB memory configuration could leave some users confused about its origins. A little poking around with GPU-Z helps shed some light on the internals.

Like the mobile parts that came before it, Nvidia sources its GTX 460M GPU from the desktop lineup, in this case the now-familiar GF106 previously found on the GeForce GTS 450. But how did the desktop card end up with 1.0 GB memory if capacities are limited to bus width multiplied by exponents of two?

Desktop vs Mobile GeForce Graphics
 Desktop GeForce GTX 460Desktop GeForce GTS 450GeForce GTX 460M
Transistors1.95 billion1.17 billion1.17 billion
Engine Clock675 MHz783 MHz675 MHz
Stream
Processors
336192192
Texture Units563232
ROP Units321624
Compute Performance907 GFLOPS601 GFLOPS518 GFLOPS
DRAM Type1.0 GB GDDR5-36001.0 GB GDDR5-32061.5 GB GDDR5-2500
DRAM Interface256-bits128-bits192-bits
Memory Bandwidth115.2 GB/s57.7 GB/s60.0 GB/s
Module TDP160W106W65W


The desktop GeForce GTS 450 has been handicapped by Nvidia, in spite of what we were told at launch. The back-end was formerly limited to 16 ROP units and a 128-bit interface. The memory capacity difference now makes sense, because 128 x 8 equals 1024, and 192 x 8 equals 1536.

The added ROP units make it appear as though the GeForce GTX 460M might be a little more powerful than the desktop GeForce GTS 450, but a lower clock speed on an identical number of stream processors more than makes up the difference. The GTX 460M ends up short of the GTS 450, in spite of its extra bandwidth. But that’s probably fine with Nvidia since the desktop part often performs on par with the super-expensive GeForce GTX 480M.

Aside from what appears to be a huge performance deficit compared to the desktop GeForce GTX 460, the best reference point for GTX 460M performance could be the GTX 480M. With twice the memory bandwidth and twice the die size, Nvidia's GTX 480M undoubtedly costs more to manufacture than the GTX 460M. We checked the prices of two major vendors to find out how much a single-card to dual-card upgrade costs, in an effort to determine the cost-per-card built into each notebook.

Mobile Graphics Module Prices (Upgrade from Single to Dual GPU)
 GeForce GTX 480MMobility Radeon HD 5870GeForce GTX 460M
Die Size529 mm²170 mm²238 mm²
Memory2 GB GDDR5-24001 GB GDDR5-40001.5 GB GDDR5-2500
Module Price$588$382$213


Before we even begin testing, the smaller part looks like it could provide a huge value benefit. The GeForce GTX 460M costs less than half the price of a GTX 480M, though higher yields on the smaller part could potentially account for the difference.

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Top Comments
  • 20 Hide
    bak0n , December 1, 2010 6:06 AM
    $3,142 is not a value.
Other Comments
  • 20 Hide
    bak0n , December 1, 2010 6:06 AM
    $3,142 is not a value.
  • 9 Hide
    jrocks84 , December 1, 2010 6:07 AM
    "three-gigapixel Webcam"

    Now that'd be an awesome webcam. If only it was true... :( 
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , December 1, 2010 8:00 AM
    thanks tom for this article.
  • 4 Hide
    silversurfernhs , December 1, 2010 8:24 AM
    last gaming laptop i'll ever own was the HDX20 8800m series... google it - thats why. It lasted me a few generations - and the wifey uses it now, still games well(for the games she plays anyway).

    All these "gaming" laptops are on 17" screens... i'd just as well plug it into an external monitor - which defeats the purpose a bit - might as well have a small fragbox for the price...

    I wish some company would rejuvinate the spirit of HP's HDX Dragon line...
  • 1 Hide
    blibba , December 1, 2010 8:38 AM
    So, why can#t we have a fully enabled GF106 for desktops? Ffs Nvidia...
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , December 1, 2010 11:38 AM
    Thanks for the article;however,I hoped you compare it with 2 GTX 480Ms as well
    BTW,you can find this laptop(with the same config as the review) much cheaper from other sites such as XoticPC.(Starts from $2100)
    http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np7280-custom-laptop-built-the-clevo-x7200-p-2881.html
  • 4 Hide
    jomofro39 , December 1, 2010 11:50 AM
    True value will hit when the cpus with the integrated graphics come out, hopefully. That is their purpose, right? I hardly find 3,100 or 2,100 dollars a value. Gaming on the go is a privilege, not a need. Value on a privilege needs to be steeper than this.
  • 0 Hide
    Crashman , December 1, 2010 12:31 PM
    MaziarThanks for the article;however,I hoped you compare it with 2 GTX 480Ms as well
    Yes, well, the X8100 didn't support two of them due to power issues (most HUGE notebooks won't) and the other X7200 (the one with the 980X installed) had already been sent back.
  • 9 Hide
    theholylancer , December 1, 2010 12:34 PM
    soo umm i7 950 DESKTOP vs i7 920 XM MOBILE?

    did someone forgot to mention that the AMD cards were paired with mobile procs, while 460Ms got the destkop stuff?

    It did not made any sense when I saw that crysis high AMD gets slaughtered, and then V High is evenish. Then I looked back and saw that AMD gets a mobile CPU that could have been the bottleneck given the gfx power...



  • 0 Hide
    scook9 , December 1, 2010 1:00 PM
    Would have been nice to see the GTX 480m SLI results from when you had that notebook but otherwise good review, been able to find nothing on GTX 460m SLI until this!
  • 0 Hide
    shaun_shaun , December 1, 2010 1:26 PM
    40mins battery time to do what ?????
  • 0 Hide
    hixbot , December 1, 2010 1:32 PM
    Nice article. Will Toms ever do an new article devoted to microstuttering? It's been years since the subject has been approached, yet the phenomenon is still prevalent.
  • -1 Hide
    whysobluepandabear , December 1, 2010 1:36 PM
    I STILL don't understand the fetish that anyone would possibly have with gaming on a laptop.

    It's not like you can just take this baby to the park and play some Black Ops while Fido is chasing a tennis ball.


    It draws some serious power, and costs double what a desktop version would. Did I forget to mention on a desktop you could be playing on a 24" screen?


    Get a good desktop case, manage your cords properly and understand that desktops aren't that big of a deal to move if mobility is your thing.


    IMHO, big waste of money. Laptops aren't suitable yet for gaming. For me personally, I don't like the screen and keyboard being on the same level....I need the keyboard lower, and carrying around a different keyboard sort of kills the idea of practicality and mobility.
  • 2 Hide
    tomskent , December 1, 2010 1:47 PM
    It always amazes me when people talk about how gaming laptops are useless machines that cost so much more then their desktop counterparts.
    It only goes to show you have never been to a LAN party.
    No one intends on using these machines away from a power socket.
    Weigh your computer case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker system, all the cables....tell me if they weigh more then 17lbs and if it can fit in a small backpack. Not to mention the time it takes to break down the whole system, pack it, reassemble it, then break it down again, then reassemble it.
  • 0 Hide
    bildo123 , December 1, 2010 1:59 PM
    silversurfernhslast gaming laptop i'll ever own was the HDX20 8800m series... google it - thats why. It lasted me a few generations - and the wifey uses it now, still games well(for the games she plays anyway).All these "gaming" laptops are on 17" screens... i'd just as well plug it into an external monitor - which defeats the purpose a bit - might as well have a small fragbox for the price...I wish some company would rejuvinate the spirit of HP's HDX Dragon line...


    There's a little hypocrisy in your post. You mention "gaming laptops" "only" having 17" screens and then talk about just getting a fragbox. But is a 20" monster "laptop" really a laptop? Technically its portable but its over 15lbs..."might as well just get a fragbox" IMO.
  • -1 Hide
    luke904 , December 1, 2010 3:00 PM
    tomskentIt always amazes me when people talk about how gaming laptops are useless machines that cost so much more then their desktop counterparts.It only goes to show you have never been to a LAN party.No one intends on using these machines away from a power socket. Weigh your computer case, monitor, keyboard, mouse, speaker system, all the cables....tell me if they weigh more then 17lbs and if it can fit in a small backpack. Not to mention the time it takes to break down the whole system, pack it, reassemble it, then break it down again, then reassemble it.



    and you would pay 3000 dollars to not have to do that? wow
  • 2 Hide
    tomskent , December 1, 2010 3:26 PM
    Quote:
    and you would pay 3000 dollars to not have to do that? wow


    Where did I say I would personally pay 3000 for a gaming laptop? oh yeah, I didnt.

    There are plenty of good gaming laptops out there for around $1000
    wow
  • 2 Hide
    rohitbaran , December 1, 2010 3:39 PM
    $3142 is value! You are kidding right! :D 
  • 0 Hide
    Lutfij , December 1, 2010 4:01 PM
    price wise, i wouldn't look any further. Specs wise - I'm dreaming already
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