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Power, Efficiency, And Battery Life

GeForce GTX 480M: AVADirect’s W880CU Is Packing The Heat
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We’ve seen a great amount of speculation concerning the possible real-world power consumption of Nvidia’s latest high-end mobile graphics processor. We once again sit down to “taste the pudding,” and perhaps find a truth that nobody could have imagined.

Even with its larger screen, the GTX 480M-equipped system consumes less power at idle than the competing Mobility Radeon HD 5870 notebook. The fact that the numbers spread out even more at maximum CPU load indicates that Nvidia has a true power-miser on its hands, again at idle.

Huge power consumption under full GPU load isn’t so large a concern, since all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences. The biggest problem for the GeForce GTX 480M is thus portability, not power, since an appropriately-sized GPU cooler requires a larger notebook chassis.

Efficiency, on the other hand, is not the GeForce GTX 480M’s strong suit, since it requires so much more power in 3D mode than its predecessor to achieve moderate performance improvements. With that said, Nvidia's new GPU outpaces AMD's current mobile flagship in this measurement.

Battery Eater Pro applies a small, spinning 3D image with just enough GPU load to put the GeForce GTX 480M’s battery-life numbers below its previous-generation mobile GPU. Unfortunately for AMD, its battery-life results are somewhat dismal in comparison.

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Top Comments
  • 22 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 6, 2010 6:28 AM
    Quote:
    ....all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences.

    I think that sums it up.
  • 12 Hide
    Lmeow , July 6, 2010 6:30 AM
    Portable vasectomy!
  • 11 Hide
    nforce4max , July 6, 2010 12:40 PM
    Grillforce GTX480m = Portable heat generator.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    bin1127 , July 6, 2010 6:22 AM
    It plays Crysis!
  • 22 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 6, 2010 6:28 AM
    Quote:
    ....all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences.

    I think that sums it up.
  • 12 Hide
    Lmeow , July 6, 2010 6:30 AM
    Portable vasectomy!
  • -1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 6, 2010 6:31 AM
    LmeowPortable vasectomy!

    LOL +1
  • 4 Hide
    xyzionz , July 6, 2010 6:43 AM
    Quite a surprise on the power consumption...
  • 3 Hide
    sprunth , July 6, 2010 6:45 AM
    That's a crazy heat pipe setup...

    Agree on the naming thing on the last page, that would be helpful.
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , July 6, 2010 6:52 AM
    Great review.
    Before its launch,it was rumored that it will have a much higher power consumption than 5870M, but now it seems they are close
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 6, 2010 6:56 AM
    "Notice that the component on the left uses both fans and has two-thirds the total number of heat pipes" Ummmmm if I'm looking at the picture correctly the GPU and the majority of the heat pipes are on the Right, you may want to retype that.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , July 6, 2010 7:05 AM
    are there no temperatures for gpu in article or i missed it?
  • 2 Hide
    Plyro109 , July 6, 2010 7:08 AM
    The funny thing is, AMD actually DID use the naming scheme you like in their LAST generation of mobile GPU's. The Mobility 4850 matched the standard 4850's number of stream processors, albeit with lower clock speeds. Same with the Mobility 4870 and Mobility 4870x2.

    They changed it in response to Nvidia's naming scheme, which is a shame. I liked the matching of desktop/laptop performance to names, too. :/ 
  • 11 Hide
    Crashman , July 6, 2010 7:30 AM
    MaziarGreat review.Before its launch,it was rumored that it will have a much higher power consumption than 5870M, but now it seems they are close
    The difference of around 50W under full load is a big deal! Fortunately, you only SEE that difference under full GPU load.
    shuffman37"Notice that the component on the left uses both fans and has two-thirds the total number of heat pipes" Ummmmm if I'm looking at the picture correctly the GPU and the majority of the heat pipes are on the Right, you may want to retype that.
    Excellent observation, thanks! I was flipping it back over in my mind, since it's upside down, but that doesn't work for describing photos!
    zbckhfkhkaare there no temperatures for gpu in article or i missed it?
    FurMark reports GPU temperatures in the mid 70's, but I'm not certain how accurate that reading is so the information wasn't included.
    Plyro109The funny thing is, AMD actually DID use the naming scheme you like in their LAST generation of mobile GPU's. The Mobility 4850 matched the standard 4850's number of stream processors, albeit with lower clock speeds. Same with the Mobility 4870 and Mobility 4870x2.They changed it in response to Nvidia's naming scheme, which is a shame. I liked the matching of desktop/laptop performance to names, too.
    Yes, I've never been one to make a big deal of underclocking, but when NVidia named its G92 as a GTX 280M, I reached my personal limit.
  • 1 Hide
    lapoki , July 6, 2010 7:54 AM
    With that kind of money i can get both, a good gaming desktop and a decent gaming laptop (with 5870M). Oh well...
    But its nice to see nVidia catching up to ATI... Let the price wars begin so i canget my second 5850 ;-)
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 6, 2010 8:27 AM
    MaziarGreat review.Before its launch,it was rumored that it will have a much higher power consumption than 5870M, but now it seems they are close

    Many people were praising the Mobility Radeon HD5870 for its relatively low power consumption, especially in comparison to the spec sheet for the GTX480M, which described Nvidia's latest high end mobile part as having a TDP of 100W. In fact according to the spec sheets the Mobility HD5870 uses significantly less power then even the GTX285M at full load, 50W in comparison to 75W. However, it quickly became apparent that something wasn't adding up.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avadirect-clevo-w860cu-mobility-radeon-hd-5870,2615-11.html

    What many of the people who were bashing the TDP's of the GTX285M and GTX480M didn't understand was that ATI and Nvidia calculate TDP differently. ATI only figures in the power draw of the GPU itself, while Nvidia measures the entire board including memory. So direct comparisons based solely on the numbers provided by the spec sheets won't accurately represent real-world differences in power consumption. In many cases the actual power draw of these mobile parts is much closer then the official spec sheets would have you believe.
  • 2 Hide
    Christopher1 , July 6, 2010 8:35 AM
    How hot does this thing run? Manufacturers need to stop focusing on 'faster, faster' and more on 'cooler, cooler' now
  • -2 Hide
    wintermint , July 6, 2010 9:00 AM
    No.. the chip itself IS the heat :o !
  • 1 Hide
    shehab , July 6, 2010 9:42 AM
    Price is being overlooked here.
    GTX 285M is 75$ more than Mobility 5870 so I believe I can buy 2 5870 for the price of one 480M.
  • 4 Hide
    jrharbort , July 6, 2010 10:00 AM
    I've been waiting to use this for some time now...

    http://i49.tinypic.com/59x5xv.jpg

    Article pretty much proves my point.
  • 1 Hide
    vaskodogama , July 6, 2010 10:10 AM
    great catching up nV! but I like desktop computers more for performance!
  • -1 Hide
    falchard , July 6, 2010 10:21 AM
    lol at the price. I don't think anyone is going to pay twice as much for a laptop that has a 10% performance advantage. Also I don't think AVADirect is going to show us the laptop symbolic of the GTX480M. Their HD5870 Mobility model is not that good compared to ASUS, ACERs, and MSI's models. It will probably be from these three that will make a sellable laptop using the GTX480M.
  • 11 Hide
    nforce4max , July 6, 2010 12:40 PM
    Grillforce GTX480m = Portable heat generator.
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