GeForce GTX 480M: AVADirect’s W880CU Is Packing The Heat

Graphics Processor Details

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480M is based on the same Fermi architecture as its high-flying GeForce GTX 480 desktop card, so that our previous analysis allows us to focus on the things that make this mobile version different from its desktop counterpart.

Desktop vs. Mobile GeForce Graphics
 Desktop GeForce GTX 480Desktop GeForce
GTX 465
GeForce GTX 480M
Transistors3 billion3 billion3 billion
Engine Clock700 MHz607 MHz425 MHz
Stream
Processors
480352352
Texture Units604444
ROP Units403232
Compute Performance1345 GFLOPS855 GFLOPS598 GFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-3696GDDR5-3206GDDR5-2400
DRAM Interface384-bits256-bits256-bits
Memory Bandwidth177.4 GB/s102.6 GB/s76.8 GB/s
TDP250 W200 W100 W


Whoops! It appears that the GeForce GTX 480M is equivalent to a power-optimized, underclocked GeForce GTX 465 with 2 GB of slower RAM! And yet, Nvidia isn’t the only company doing this with its notebook parts, as the chart from our previous Mobility Radeon HD 5870 test clearly proves.

Desktop vs. Mobility Radeon Graphics
 Desktop Radeon
HD 5870
Desktop Radeon
HD 5770
Mobility Radeon
HD 5870
Transistors2.15 billion1.04 billion1.04 billion
Engine Clock850 MHz850 MHz700 MHz
Shader (ALUs)1600800800
Texture Units804040
Z/Stencil Units1286464
Compute Performance2.72 TFLOPS1.36 TFLOPS1.12 TFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR5-4800GDDR5-4800GDDR5-4000
DRAM Interface256-bits128-bits128-bits
Memory Bandwidth153.6 GB/s76.8 GB/s64.0 GB/s
TDP188 W108 W50 W


The GeForce GTX 480M is a low-power version of the GeForce GTX 465, just as the Mobility HD 5870 is a low-power version of the Radeon HD 5770. Nvidia’s relabeling of a mid-priced desktop component as a high-end mobile part is thus a perfect match to what its competitor is doing, and light-years ahead of its previous naming scheme.

If you're here reading this story, you'll know exactly what to expect from the mobile flagships from AMD and Nvidia. It's the folks who don't do their homework before buying we're most worried about. Calling these modules GeForce GTX 480 and Radeon HD 5870 simply sends the wrong message. With that said, we've agreed to disagree with both companies' marketing departments. They think they're simply suggesting each card is best-in-class, as on the desktop. We think they're establishing certain performance expectations that'll fall far short of the desktop.

Moving forward, we'll put aside AMD's higher computational performance numbers and power savings from the above charts, since these two completely-different architectures are rated using dissimilar methodology by their manufacturers. Instead, we'll rely on benchmark data and power measurements. The proof in the pudding is, after all, in the eating.

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    Top Comments
  • Tamz_msc
    Quote:
    ....all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences.

    I think that sums it up.
    22
  • Lmeow
    Portable vasectomy!
    12
  • bin1127
    It plays Crysis!
    11
  • Other Comments
  • bin1127
    It plays Crysis!
    11
  • Tamz_msc
    Quote:
    ....all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences.

    I think that sums it up.
    22
  • Lmeow
    Portable vasectomy!
    12
  • Tamz_msc
    LmeowPortable vasectomy!

    LOL +1
    -1
  • xyzionz
    Quite a surprise on the power consumption...
    4
  • sprunth
    That's a crazy heat pipe setup...

    Agree on the naming thing on the last page, that would be helpful.
    3
  • Maziar
    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
    0
  • Anonymous
    "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.
    -1
  • Anonymous
    are there no temperatures for gpu in article or i missed it?
    8
  • Plyro109
    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. :/
    2
  • Crashman
    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.
    11
  • lapoki
    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 ;-)
    1
  • dragonsqrrl
    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.
    0
  • Christopher1
    How hot does this thing run? Manufacturers need to stop focusing on 'faster, faster' and more on 'cooler, cooler' now
    2
  • wintermint
    No.. the chip itself IS the heat :O!
    -2
  • shehab
    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.
    1
  • jrharbort
    I've been waiting to use this for some time now...

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

    Article pretty much proves my point.
    4
  • vaskodogama
    great catching up nV! but I like desktop computers more for performance!
    1
  • falchard
    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.
    -1
  • nforce4max
    Grillforce GTX480m = Portable heat generator.
    11