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GeForce GTX 880M, 870M, And 860M: Mobile GPUs, Tested

Is The GeForce GTX 800M-Series A Better Buy?

Focusing on Nvidia's newest GeForce GTX 800M-series graphics modules and Origin PC's mobile platform for today’s performance analysis simplifies the value comparison for us, since we only need to look one place for our pricing. Granted, the old parts were discontinued as soon as the 800Ms launched, so I did have to use February pricing in my calculations.

That also meant subtracting $78 from the configured price of the refreshed machine, since the old CPU, which Origin PC custom-installed for us, was $78 cheaper. Still, that's a marginal subtraction on a system that costs as much as ~$3000 with high-end graphics.

You do pay more for Nvidia's faster GeForce GTX 800M-series graphics modules. Regardless, the new GPUs offer enough of a performance boost to offset their premium as part of a complete system. Not only does the latest and greatest win out on performance, but also value.

A little adding and subtracting from quoted prices for various Eon17-S configurations suggests that Origin PC charges about $900 for the GeForce GTX 880M, around $600 for the 870M, and roughly $500 for the GTX 860M, as part of the package deal. That makes the 860M roughly twice as pricey as the GeForce GTX 765M. Then again, Nvidia's GK104 is a more expensive graphics processor than GK106. 

Some folks will suggest that only the cost of the component under test can be used to calculate value, even when that piece of hardware affects the performance of an entire system. I tend to disagree, but went ahead and created a chart for them based on my findings, too.

This chart makes certain assumptions based on Origin PC's prices. More problematic, its results suggest that the rest of the notebook is free. The first diagram is more realistic, conveying that the biggest generational improvement happens going from GeForce GTX 770M to 870M. And that's probably the GPU I'd choose if I were spending my own money. It's adequate through our benchmark suite at the most demanding settings.

Of course, if you need even higher frame rates for 3D Vision or more taxing details in games like Metro: Last Light, you could always spend the few hundred extra dollars on the GeForce GTX 880M. That is, unless you'd like to wait for AMD's response.