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AVADirect's W860CU: Mobility Radeon HD 5870 Vs. GeForce GTX 285M

Graphic Details

Though the Clevo W860CU is a nice desktop replacement notebook and AVADirect expertly configured our samples, the actual technology behind the graphics cards is completely out of the hands of those companies. Specifically, the graphics processors are not at all what buyers might expect them to be.

Desktop vs. Mobility Radeon Graphics
Desktop Radeon HD 5870Desktop Radeon HD 5770Mobility Radeon HD 5870
Transistors2.15 billion1.04 billion1.04 billion
Engine Clock850 MHz850 MHz700 MHz
Shader (ALUs)1,600800800
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
TDP188W108W50W

In response to last summer’s exposé
, Nvidia told us that its highest-model notebook GPU gets a similar name as its highest-model desktop GPU simply so people would understand that both cards represent the highest model of each market. Representatives of the firm vigorously denied that the naming similarity inferred a similar performance level, though we contend that this is the type of assumption Nvidia hopes buyers will make. In the case linked above, it’s easy to see that the GeForce GTX 285M bears no relation to the GeForce GTX 285, that these use completely different architectures, and that the GeForce GTX 285M architecture is taken directly from the old GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB GPU. Beyond basic underclocking, several updates used in the transformation from GeForce 8800 GTS 512MB to a GeForce GTX 285M make the newer version cheaper to produce and more energy efficient.

Nvidia stood alone in last summer in using an inferior core for its “premium” mobile offering, but it appears that AMD is learning its rival’s tricks. That is to say, while last summer’s Mobility Radeon products were simply underclocked variations of similarly-named desktop models, the company’s latest “premium” mobile model is nothing more than half of its desktop namesake.

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Recognizing these images from our previous Radeon HD 5770 launch article, some readers will undoubtedly think we got our pictures mixed up. The “high end” Mobility Radeon HD 5870 can’t be based on the mid-market desktop Radeon HD 5770, can it?

Desktop vs. Mobile GeForce Graphics
Desktop GeForce GTX 285Desktop GeForce 8800 GTS 512MBGeForce GTX 285M
Transistors2.15 billion754 million754 million
Engine Clock648 MHz650 MHz576 MHz
Stream Processors240128128
Texture Units806464
ROP Units322424
Compute Performance1.06 TFLOPS624 GFLOPS576 GFLOPS
DRAM TypeGDDR3-2484GDDR3-1940GDDR3-2040
DRAM Interface512-bits256-bits256-bits
Memory Bandwidth159 GB/s64 GB/s65.3 GB/s
TDP183W135W75W

Our Radeon HD 5870, Radeon HD 5770, and Mobility Radeon HD 5870 statistics come directly from the AMD Web site. The Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is not just any Radeon HD 5770, however. Instead, it’s actually an underclocked Radeon HD 5770 and is likely programmed to further enhance its power-savings capabilities.

In other words, the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 is the Radeon HD 5770’s slower, less-energetic younger brother. Yet, shoppers who can track down the mobile module will find it costs three times as much as the desktop part, even though it does not include a cooling fan, heat sink, or display outputs.

The biggest question for us is, which graphics company deserves your ire the most? While we let the readers decide the fates of AMD and Nvidia, our only hope is that their clearly-deceptive naming practices don't adversely affect honest, hard-working builders like AVADirect.

  • DjEaZy
    ... do they have AMD CPU's too?
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    How many partners use Clevo laptops and just rebrand them?
    Reply
  • ta152h
    I'm a little confused why you'd choose an i7 920 to compare with a different platform, but maybe it's because I don't know the mobile platform that well.

    But, if it's like the P55, which it seems to be, there's the added uncertainty of the architecture thrown in.

    Particularly with PCI-E being implemented differently, you might be seeing the inferior implementation of the P55 architecture responsible for a small amount of the relatively poor mobile performance. Since this implementation needs to multiplex the memory bus of the processor, you can run into situations where there is contention.

    I doubt it's significant, but I'm curious why you wouldn't want to make a comparison with a more similar desktop platform. Was it because you couldn't get an unlocked Lynnfield to get the clock speeds for the processors the same in Turbo mode?
    Reply
  • This doesn't make much sense to me... if a 5870M chip = roughly a 5770 desktop chip and a 285M = roughly an 8800gts.. why is it not completely spanking it? we all know 5770>8800.. by a rather large margin! what could be the cause of this?
    Reply
  • anamaniac
    Tom's, you should show your power usage results to AMD and ask for an explanation, on why a lower rated part is using more power.
    Granted, with a 45W CPU and 50W GPU, 30 mins is expected on a 40W battery if fully stressed.
    Reply
  • gti88
    It's not "mobile gaming" at all.
    So, is there any reason to own such notebuook?
    Reply
  • jkeopka
    I liked this article because I found it so darn relevant... I actually have this same Clevo Laptop, with the 5870 and 8 gigs of RAM.

    The GTX 285M was a $50 premium over the 5870, and I am glad I chose to stick to the 5870. It is kind of strange one would pay more to have less performance. I guess thats what fanboyism are all about?
    Reply
  • jkeopka
    anamaniacHow many partners use Clevo laptops and just rebrand them?Lots. Mine is a Sager 8690... which is a rebranded Clevo W860CU...

    I have seen this model at other sites as well.
    Reply
  • falchard
    Looks more like a bottleneck then anything conclusive. The results in nearly all the tests were close, yet 1 of them should have been clearly ahead.
    I think an ASUS JH73-A1 verse this would have been more interesting as its a bit cheaper for better parts.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    TA152HI'm a little confused why you'd choose an i7 920 to compare with a different platformSame speeds in Turbo mode, which is used during games, the primary focus being gaming performance.TA152HBut, if it's like the P55, which it seems to be, there's the added uncertainty of the architecture thrown in.That's true, but neither graphics solution provided the performance needed to highlight the mobile processor's on-die PCIe controller's performance advantage.TA152HI'm curious why you wouldn't want to make a comparison with a more similar desktop platform. Was it because you couldn't get an unlocked Lynnfield to get the clock speeds for the processors the same in Turbo mode? Exactly. Besides, Tom's Hardware has already seen that clock-for-clock, Lynfield games at least as well as Bloomfield when a single card is used. If nothing else, the comparison favors the mobile solution's lower power consumption.
    Reply