Mobility Radeon Vs. GeForce M: The CrossFire Advantage

Leopard Guts

A 256 GB Crucial RealSSD C300 drive slightly boosts the X8100 Leopard’s benchmark results, while adding $561 to its price over the 250 GB base model HDD.

Also notice how tiny the motherboard is, given the monster size of this notebook. Two sinks cover the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 CrossFire configuration, while the empty spot beside the CPU sink supports a lid-mounted cooling fan.

That’s two of AMD’s most powerful mobile graphics processors, along with Intel’s super-fast i7-940XM, packed tightly together.

GeForce GTX 480M buyers will find the second card bay covered a second fan and heat sink. The GTX 480M’s lofty power consumption requires two sinks and two fans to cool a single GPU. A GF104-based mobile GPU could help Nvidia’s reduce heat while increasing performance beyond that of an underclocked GTX 465.

While not necessarily intended for games, a large battery will help to keep the system alive for ordinary on-the-go tasks such as checking email. The Leopard uses a monster 68.82 Wh unit.

An enormous 220 W power brick is enough to support two Mobility Radeon HD 5870 graphics modules and a high-end processor at simultaneous full-load.

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    Top Comments
  • Anonymous
    "...but notebook manufactures can fit two of AMD’s top modules in in the same space."

    This affirms it, Fermi is a FAT joke...
    23
  • Other Comments
  • lashton
    the fermio acrh. cant compete against ATI in the mobile market simply because of design implementations, its physically larger, its an OK review if the nVidia card was faster there would have been more review about it
    -4
  • lunyone
    Shocker here! NOT! This wasn't anything new, but it's nice to see it all spelled out and on paper (benchmarks). Just think you can have a single 5870 (mobile) chip that produces about 90-95% of the 480 GPU for about 70% of the price?? I know where I'd put my $ if I had it to spend.
    4
  • tony singh
    The reason nvidia price is higher is because making geforces is more expensive than making radeons, nvidia needs more transistors to reach or beat amd level, hence we can say that hd 5xxx is considerably more efficient than gtx400.
    2
  • Crashman
    tony singhThe reason nvidia price is higher is because making geforces is more expensive than making radeons
    And we saw how that worked out in the auto industry for General Motors. A company must base its prices on worth, not cost.
    6
  • dEAne
    Nvidia is always an expensive video technology.
    2
  • Anonymous
    "...but notebook manufactures can fit two of AMD’s top modules in in the same space."

    This affirms it, Fermi is a FAT joke...
    23
  • ggman
    nice review, nothing shocking though we all know the GTX480M is a downclocked GTX465 and the HD5870M is an underclocked 5770. thumbs up for Ati but lets see how will the new Mobile GPUs from nvidia hold up :)
    0
  • alidan
    CrashmanAnd we saw how that worked out in the auto industry for General Motors. A company must base its prices on worth, not cost.


    now correct me if im wrong, and i may as well be. but chips, as in the cpu, gpu, anything that takes massive r&d costs, cost almost noting to make, in the big picture.

    intel so long as they have the fastest processor with little to no competition, prices there products, that may cost in total materials and man hours, maybe 50$ at most, and sells them for 1000$ each to recup the plants cost to manufacture, and the r&d. and if any of the rummors during the femri are to be believed, they had ALLOT to recupe and they need to do it somewhere, with amd pricing lower than they do for close to if not better preforming cards (in the price range) desktop isn't making them there money back fast. so why not gaming laptop where you have less of a choice what goes in.

    thats just my opinion though
    3
  • liquidsnake718
    Yes, some more face time for te 5850!

    It just shows the true manufactoring win that AMD/ATi has accomplished in the past year with such a cool and low power GPU in the cypress and the rest of the radeon 5xxx class. With low heat and TDP requirments, AMD can also take the crown for mobile gaming. Im sure this also helps a tad in the battery life, however we have yet to see crazy gaming laptops hit the 2plus hour mark for movies and games. This is a shame because the first one that can lastat least 3 hours on its highest settings will be a true winner for those looking to spend a wad of cash on a mobile system that can rival midstream desktops.

    I cant help but laugh as my system is now a "mid-level" system and is comparable lthough not better than a laptop!

    Keep these reviews going as they are interesting hen comparing two products in different categories. Maybe we can also see those 12inch ion netbooks vs low end gaming laptops.

    guess crossfire on mobile platforms
    1
  • doron
    Always a pleasure to read your reviews Thomas :)
    3
  • Crashman
    alidannow correct me if im wrong, and i may as well be. but chips, as in the cpu, gpu, anything that takes massive r&d costs, cost almost noting to make, in the big picture.intel so long as they have the fastest processor with little to no competition, prices there products, that may cost in total materials and man hours, maybe 50$ at most, and sells them for 1000$ each to recup the plants cost to manufacture, and the r&d. and if any of the rummors during the femri are to be believed, they had ALLOT to recupe and they need to do it somewhere, with amd pricing lower than they do for close to if not better preforming cards (in the price range) desktop isn't making them there money back fast. so why not gaming laptop where you have less of a choice what goes in. thats just my opinion though


    The production cost is usually small compared to the engineering cost, but in the case of the GF100 it's not so clear. The GF100 GPU is fairly large, wafers are fairly expensive, and I don't think Nvidia's yields are all that high on GF100 parts. They could probably make a more powerful mobile GPU at lower cost using the GF104.

    I'm going to take a wild guess that the 480M costs around $100 more to make than the Mobility 5870, since it has both a more-expensive GPU and higher memory density. It also performs better. The problem is, it doesn't perform 100% better yet is priced over 100% higher, a fact that should make it hard to sell once people read reviews like this one.
    3
  • theholylancer
    TheCapuletThen why the hell did you comment, dipshit?As far as the article, we all knew this was coming. But what is Nvidia thinking, pricing their mobile chips so far ahead of the AMD chips? There's almost no noticeable difference between a single 480m and M-5870, yet even with Xfire chips, the ATI is still $200 lower? Nvidia has really stepped up to the plate in the desktop market, to compete with AMD. But they're so far out of touch here, you have to wonder who in their right mind is holding the wheel here.

    you know you get ribbons for commenting here at toms right? that kind of crap encourages achievements whores to do things like this.

    on the note of the laptop, I have to ask if they can utilize the whole desktop CF deal to turn OFF one of the two CF cards when on battery without rebooting (the desktop 5000 cards can idle with just one card enabled, and the second card kicks in when needed) or are they gimped driver wise again?

    also does the lappy's bios allows things like vt-x and what ever else extensions intel put in there on the cpu, i know at least my acer burned me and i can't do 64 bit os virtualization because of it.
    1
  • alidan
    CrashmanThe production cost is usually small compared to the engineering cost, but in the case of the GF100 it's not so clear. The GF100 GPU is fairly large, wafers are fairly expensive, and I don't think Nvidia's yields are all that high on GF100 parts. They could probably make a more powerful mobile GPU at lower cost using the GF104.I'm going to take a wild guess that the 480M costs around $100 more to make than the Mobility 5870, since it has both a more-expensive GPU and higher memory density. It also performs better. The problem is, it doesn't perform 100% better yet is priced over 100% higher, a fact that should make it hard to sell once people read reviews like this one.


    someone correct me here, but a wafer costs 50000 to produce beginning to end.

    i dont know the size of it, but i believe if they cut cuda cores, the size of the chip is now lesser too.

    im not looking hard, but i cant find the transistor count on wiki, so i cant see how much lesser the chip is, or if its just clocked lower for heat and power preservation
    -2
  • tu_illegalamigo
    Generally speaking, i`m not surprised that a decent crossfire setup beats a crippled first run Fermi. I`m in agreement with those who think a newer iteration of Fermi would give Nvidia better performance, but this generation, the 5xxx series has been wiping the floor with Nvidia, they`re behind and trying to catch up. As for the laptop itself, that is way too much for me to want to use, it`s barely what i`d call mobile. I`d rather carry my Matx and an LCD in my lanparty backpack. (which even then I dont want to do.
    0
  • Crashman
    alidansomeone correct me here, but a wafer costs 50000 to produce beginning to end. i dont know the size of it, but i believe if they cut cuda cores, the size of the chip is now lesser too. im not looking hard, but i cant find the transistor count on wiki, so i cant see how much lesser the chip is, or if its just clocked lower for heat and power preservation
    No, they're not cutting the chip, it's a full GTX 480 GPU with many of the circuits disabled but still present.
    0
  • jdn
    Now lets see how well XFire stands up to 480M SLI. It wouldn't really be a fair fight, either in terms of power consumption, or price. But it's always fun to see the extremes of performance.
    And yes, you can do SLI 480M (and a 6 core cpu while you are at it... :))
    http://rjtech.com/shop/index.php?dispatch=products.view&product_id=30010
    0
  • coldmast
    So mobility HD 5870 xfire = 5850 Desktop. Good to know.
    2
  • Crashman
    jdnNow lets see how well XFire stands up to 480M SLI. It wouldn't really be a fair fight, either in terms of power consumption, or price. But it's always fun to see the extremes of performance. And yes, you can do SLI 480M (and a 6 core cpu while you are at it... )http://rjtech.com/shop/index.php?d [...] t_id=30010

    Yeh, you can SLI two 480M, but not in this chassis. You need a thicker chassis, and then take away drive bays to make room for larger coolers.
    0
  • ray-ng
    Having 480Ms in SLI seems a little too much imo. I mean, the sheer amount of space and cooling needed for 2 of them doesn't allow for much space for additional components... Right? Well, I already know the whole thing with the need for a larger chassis and all, but seriously, how much larger do laptops/desktop replacements need to be?
    0
  • hixbot
    This would be cool if microstuttering wasn't an issue anymore but it still is.
    -4