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

Power, Efficiency, And Battery Life

We’ve seen a great amount of speculation concerning the possible real-world power consumption of Nvidia’s latest high-end mobile graphics processor. We once again sit down to “taste the pudding,” and perhaps find a truth that nobody could have imagined.

Even with its larger screen, the GTX 480M-equipped system consumes less power at idle than the competing Mobility Radeon HD 5870 notebook. The fact that the numbers spread out even more at maximum CPU load indicates that Nvidia has a true power-miser on its hands, again at idle.

Huge power consumption under full GPU load isn’t so large a concern, since all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences. The biggest problem for the GeForce GTX 480M is thus portability, not power, since an appropriately-sized GPU cooler requires a larger notebook chassis.

Efficiency, on the other hand, is not the GeForce GTX 480M’s strong suit, since it requires so much more power in 3D mode than its predecessor to achieve moderate performance improvements. With that said, Nvidia's new GPU outpaces AMD's current mobile flagship in this measurement.

Battery Eater Pro applies a small, spinning 3D image with just enough GPU load to put the GeForce GTX 480M’s battery-life numbers below its previous-generation mobile GPU. Unfortunately for AMD, its battery-life results are somewhat dismal in comparison.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • bin1127
    It plays Crysis!
  • Tamz_msc
    ....all of these notebooks must be plugged into a power outlet before gaming commences.
    I think that sums it up.
  • Lmeow
    Portable vasectomy!
  • Tamz_msc
    LmeowPortable vasectomy!LOL +1
  • xyzionz
    Quite a surprise on the power consumption...
  • sprunth
    That's a crazy heat pipe setup...

    Agree on the naming thing on the last page, that would be helpful.
  • 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
  • "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.
  • are there no temperatures for gpu in article or i missed it?
  • 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. :/