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Mobile GeForce GTX Graphics: Model Inflation Gone Awry

Test Settings And Benchmark Configuration

For many bucks-up gamers, the big question is whether to choose a portable desktop or gaming notebook for their travels. Representing today’s portable desktop is Shuttle’s tiny SX58H7 SFF (Shuttle Form Factor) cube.

Please check out today’s notebook comparison for more details on the Eurocom comparison system.

Desktop To Mobile Graphics Comparison
 GTX 280M Test SystemGTX 280 Test System
ModelEurocom D900F PantherShuttle SX58H7 Barebones
CPUIntel Core i7 965 3.20 GHz, 8.0 MB CacheIntel Core i7 920 at 3.20 GHz 200 MHz BCLK, 16x Multiplier
ChipsetIntel X58/ICH10RIntel X58/ICH10R
RAM6.0 GB DDR3-1066 CAS 76.0 GB DDR3-1200 CAS 8
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GTX 280M 580 MHz GPU, GDDR3-1900Nvidia GeForce GTX 280 602 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2214
HDD2 x Seagate 7200.4 500 GB RAID 0WD VelociRaptor WD30000HLFS
SoundIntegrated HD AudioIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkingIntegrated Gigabit LANIntegrated Gigabit LAN
OSMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP1
GraphicsGeForce 185.85 MobileGeForce 185.85 Desktop

With too-few Core i7-965 Extreme processors to share amongst every editor, this editor chose to overclock the Shuttle’s barebones PC’s Core i7-920 to 3.20 GHz for a performance match to the Eurocom notebook’s Core i7-965 Extreme.

Eurocom included 6.0 GB of DDR3-1066 CAS 7-7-7-20 memory in its D900F Panther. Overclocking the comparison system’s base clock to achieve an identical CPU clock kept us from finding an exact match in DRAM speed, so the desktop instead used a DDR3-1200 setting with slower CAS 8-8-8-24 timings to produce similar performance.

To assure readers this was a fair comparison in spite of the change in base clock, we also added some CPU and memory benchmarks to this simple graphics comparison.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, No AA
Far Cry 2DirectX 10, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: Very High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
STALKER Clear SkyAverage of 4 segments "A-Tested Object'
Test Set 1: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, no MSAA
Test Set 2: High Preset, DirectX 10, EFDL, 4xMSAA
World In ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, 3DMark score
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3Version 2009.4.15.92, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / Multimedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Because Eurocom needed its notebook back quickly, we were unable to add further benchmarks to today’s test and instead rely on the graphics portion of its system performance test suite.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • tacoslave
    and here i thought they were going to name it the gts 250m, but 280m? thats just low
  • amdfangirl
    Well... how long would a lappie last with power draws of the desktop GTX versions?
  • IzzyCraft
    Probably not more then 30 mins :) But that's not the point.
  • Crashman
    IzzyCraftProbably not more then 30 mins But that's not the point.
    Actually, if you look at the notebook it's could probably cool at least a GTX 275 with same-sized sinks if you had a lower power CPU.
  • Sharft6
    :o i never noticed this before although I've never had a laptop before. maybe this article could stoke up the the big boys in the gfx department to rethink their naming schemes :)
  • apache_lives
    will these parts crash and burn like every other previous nvidia product released for laptop over the last 2 years?
  • amdfangirl
    Well, the laptop maker could always try putting in a normal Geforce card...
  • lemonade4
    Down with naming inflation!! (excellent article btw)
  • Crashman
    9476634 said:
    Well, the laptop maker could always try putting in a normal Geforce card...

    It would be hard, but when nVidia makes a card using the same specs as the GTS 250...except lower clock could at least call the thing a GTS 250M.

    Then again, both it an the GTS 250 are actually die-shrunk, underclocked 8800 GTS 512s...with twice the memory.
  • falchard
    I think the die on the GTX 260+ is just too large to shrink down to be cool enough and power hungryless enough to put in a laptop.