GeForce GTX 460M SLI: Mobile Gaming Value From AVADirect?

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 460M

With a die size less than half that of the GeForce GTX 480M, the GTX 460M’s 1.5 GB memory configuration could leave some users confused about its origins. A little poking around with GPU-Z helps shed some light on the internals.

Like the mobile parts that came before it, Nvidia sources its GTX 460M GPU from the desktop lineup, in this case the now-familiar GF106 previously found on the GeForce GTS 450. But how did the desktop card end up with 1.0 GB memory if capacities are limited to bus width multiplied by exponents of two?

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Desktop vs Mobile GeForce Graphics
Row 0 - Cell 0 Desktop GeForce GTX 460Desktop GeForce GTS 450GeForce GTX 460M
Transistors1.95 billion1.17 billion1.17 billion
Engine Clock675 MHz783 MHz675 MHz
Stream Processors336192192
Texture Units563232
ROP Units321624
Compute Performance907 GFLOPS601 GFLOPS518 GFLOPS
DRAM Type1.0 GB GDDR5-36001.0 GB GDDR5-32061.5 GB GDDR5-2500
DRAM Interface256-bits128-bits192-bits
Memory Bandwidth115.2 GB/s57.7 GB/s60.0 GB/s
Module TDP160W106W65W

The desktop GeForce GTS 450 has been handicapped by Nvidia, in spite of what we were told at launch. The back-end was formerly limited to 16 ROP units and a 128-bit interface. The memory capacity difference now makes sense, because 128 x 8 equals 1024, and 192 x 8 equals 1536.

The added ROP units make it appear as though the GeForce GTX 460M might be a little more powerful than the desktop GeForce GTS 450, but a lower clock speed on an identical number of stream processors more than makes up the difference. The GTX 460M ends up short of the GTS 450, in spite of its extra bandwidth. But that’s probably fine with Nvidia since the desktop part often performs on par with the super-expensive GeForce GTX 480M.

Aside from what appears to be a huge performance deficit compared to the desktop GeForce GTX 460, the best reference point for GTX 460M performance could be the GTX 480M. With twice the memory bandwidth and twice the die size, Nvidia's GTX 480M undoubtedly costs more to manufacture than the GTX 460M. We checked the prices of two major vendors to find out how much a single-card to dual-card upgrade costs, in an effort to determine the cost-per-card built into each notebook.

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Mobile Graphics Module Prices (Upgrade from Single to Dual GPU)
Row 0 - Cell 0 GeForce GTX 480MMobility Radeon HD 5870GeForce GTX 460M
Die Size529 mm²170 mm²238 mm²
Memory2 GB GDDR5-24001 GB GDDR5-40001.5 GB GDDR5-2500
Module Price$588$382$213

Before we even begin testing, the smaller part looks like it could provide a huge value benefit. The GeForce GTX 460M costs less than half the price of a GTX 480M, though higher yields on the smaller part could potentially account for the difference.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • bak0n
    $3,142 is not a value.
  • jrocks84
    "three-gigapixel Webcam"

    Now that'd be an awesome webcam. If only it was true... :(
  • dEAne
    thanks tom for this article.
  • silversurfernhs
    last gaming laptop i'll ever own was the HDX20 8800m series... google it - thats why. It lasted me a few generations - and the wifey uses it now, still games well(for the games she plays anyway).

    All these "gaming" laptops are on 17" screens... i'd just as well plug it into an external monitor - which defeats the purpose a bit - might as well have a small fragbox for the price...

    I wish some company would rejuvinate the spirit of HP's HDX Dragon line...
  • blibba
    So, why can#t we have a fully enabled GF106 for desktops? Ffs Nvidia...
  • nebun
    it's so funny that the mid range sli setup destroys the top of the like ati crossfire setup, lol. nvidia for life..
  • Maziar
    Thanks for the article;however,I hoped you compare it with 2 GTX 480Ms as well
    BTW,you can find this laptop(with the same config as the review) much cheaper from other sites such as XoticPC.(Starts from $2100)
  • jomofro39
    True value will hit when the cpus with the integrated graphics come out, hopefully. That is their purpose, right? I hardly find 3,100 or 2,100 dollars a value. Gaming on the go is a privilege, not a need. Value on a privilege needs to be steeper than this.
  • Crashman
    MaziarThanks for the article;however,I hoped you compare it with 2 GTX 480Ms as wellYes, well, the X8100 didn't support two of them due to power issues (most HUGE notebooks won't) and the other X7200 (the one with the 980X installed) had already been sent back.
  • theholylancer
    soo umm i7 950 DESKTOP vs i7 920 XM MOBILE?

    did someone forgot to mention that the AMD cards were paired with mobile procs, while 460Ms got the destkop stuff?

    It did not made any sense when I saw that crysis high AMD gets slaughtered, and then V High is evenish. Then I looked back and saw that AMD gets a mobile CPU that could have been the bottleneck given the gfx power...