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With the launch of its GeForce GTX 480M, Nvidia’s Fermi architecture takes center stage in high-end gaming notebooks. But is the notoriously-hot GPU able to compete against AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5870? AVADirect gives us the answer with its new W880CU.
Every so often, a new technology reaches the mobile market that brings shock and awe to high-end buyers. Recent advances, such as Intel’s Clarksfield-based Core i7 processors (last fall) and AMD’s Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (in the spring) have finally introduced mainstream performance computing power back to the world of notebooks. But weren’t those advances immediately preceded by a new Nvidia product?
As it turns out, the refresh cycle for notebook tech is far longer than that of desktops, and graphics have become one of the best examples of this disparity. While desktop gamers expect biannual updates and major architecture improvements every 18 months, notebook enthusiasts watched with chagrin as NVidia’s three-year old G92 architecture was continuously rehashed, relabeled, and revamped from the 8800-series all the way up to the so-called GeForce GTX 285M, last winter.
Widely panned for applying the model numbers of revolutionary desktop parts to evolutionary notebook products, Nvidia finally saw the writing on the wall: it was time to try something different. Welcome the truly new, DX11-compatible GeForce GTX 480M!
Based on its now well-known Fermi architecture, the GeForce GTX 480M eschews the furnace-like power consumption and heat production of its namesake part through several carefully-devised optimizations, one of which must surely be a reduction in voltage.
Yet, while a voltage cut would certainly require a corresponding reduction in clock rate compared to the desktop part, the place where Nvidia really needs its new GPU to shine is a market dominated by the formerly-mentioned GeForce GTX 285M and AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5870. AVADirect made that comparison possible by configuring its Clevo W880CU based notebook with internal components identical to those of its previously-reviewed W860CU.
|AVADirect W880CU Component List|
|Platform||Clevo W880CU Core i7 17.3" Barebone, Intel PM55 Express, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-820QM Quad-Core 1.733 GHz, 2.5 GT/s QPI, 8 MB L3 Cache, 45 nm, 45 W, OEM|
|RAM||Kingston 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 MHz SDRAM SO-DIMM, CL9, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M 2 GB GDDR5 Mobile Graphics Card|
|Display||17.3" "Full HD" Glossy TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive||Corsair 128GB Nova Series SSD, MLC, 270/195 MB/s, 2.5-Inch, SATA 3 Gb/s, Retail|
|Optical Drive||Matshita UJ-240A Blu-ray Re-Writer|
|Media Drive||Multi-Format Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s, Internal Mini PCIe Card|
|Wireless PAN||CastleNet BTC04R Bluetooth Module|
|Gigabit Network||Built-in 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Integrated IEEE-1394 FireWire 400 controller|
|Telephony||Integrated 56K V90/92 Fax/Modem|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||1 x ExpressCard 54|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||180W Power Brick, 100-240V AC to 19V DC|
|Battery||11.1V 3800mAh (42.18Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 8.6lbs, AC Adapter 2.2lbs, Total 10.8 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|RJ11 Telephone Cord|
|DVI-I to VGA Adapter Block|
|Deluxe Nylon Notebook Bag|
|Backup||OEM System Recovery (secure HDD partition only)|
|Warranty||Standard 1-Year Warranty|