A Little More “Less Is More”
Power and heat have long been the biggest obstacles to achieving smoking-fast performance on a portable device, as the larger enclosures needed to support high-performance hardware often leaves them less than mobile. It’s no small wonder that we had big concerns when Nvidia re-purposed its power-hungry GF100 GPU as a notebook component.
The fastest “portable” GPU ever produced, the GeForce GTX 480M was already beaten by a CrossFire'd pair of Mobility Radeon HD 5870 modules when it was launched. Most extra-large notebooks couldn’t support an SLI'd pair of GeForce GTX 480M modules, and the one notebook that does support these still has some power problems in such a demanding configuration. Price was another barrier for many customers, since big pieces of silicon cost big money.
A bit of additional refinement on its desktop 400-series allowed Nvidia to re-evaluate its portfolio in an effort to find a new, more energy-efficient Radeon HD 5870-killer.
That new product, the GeForce GTX 460M, should fit into the majority of chassis that formerly hosted such big-ticket parts as its competitor’s flagship, as well as its previous mobile performance star, the GTX 285M, in dual-GPU configurations.
Before we go into the new GPU’s specifics, let’s take a quick look at the system we received to host Nvidia’s latest SLI-capable modules.
|AVADirect X7200 Component List|
|Platform||Intel LGA 1366, X58 Express/ICH10R, MXM-III Discrete Graphics|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield), Four Cores, 3.06-3.33 GHz, 4.8 GT/s QPI, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache, 45 nm, 130 W|
|RAM||Kingston 6 GB (3x 2GB) DDR3-1066 SODIMM, CL7, 1.5 V, Non-ECC|
|Graphics||Dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M, 675 MHz, 1.5 GB GDDR5-2500, in SLI|
|Display||17.3" Glossy LED Back-lit TFT, 1920x1080|
|Audio||Integrated HD Audio|
|Security||Built-in Fingerprint Reader|
|Hard Drive 1||Crucial C300 CTFDDAC256MAG 256 GB SSD, MLC, SATA 3Gb/s|
|Hard Drive 2||Seagate Momentus XT ST95005620AS 500 GB, 32 MB Cache, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 RPM|
|Optical Drive||Lite-On DS-4E1S 4x Blu-ray Reader/8x DVD Writer Combo Drive|
|Media Drive||9-in-1 Flash Media Interface|
|Wireless LAN||Intel Ultimate-N 6300, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/450 Mb/s|
|Wireless PAN||Optional (not installed)|
|Gigabit Network||JMicron PCIe 10/100/1000 Mb/s Ethernet|
|IEEE-1394||Texas Instruments PCIe IEEE-1394 (400 Mb/s)|
|USB||3 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0|
|Expansion Card||Not Available|
|HDD||1 x eSATA 3Gb/s|
|Audio||Headphone, Microphone, Line-In, Digital Out Jacks|
|Video||1 x Dual-Link DVI-I w/VGA Adapter, 1x HDMI|
|Power & Weight|
|AC Adapter||300 W Power Brick, 100-240 V AC to 15 V DC|
|Battery||14.8 V, 5300 mAh (78.44 Wh) Single|
|Weight||Notebook 13.4 lbs, AC Adapter 3.6 lbs, Total 17.0 pounds|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Edition, OEM|
|Warranty||1-Year Full (Add $140 for 2-years, $274.40 for 3-years)|
While the desktop-based CPU in AVADirect’s X7200 build left us with a few questions about which of our previously-tested notebooks might make this a fair comparison, its $3142 price will at least allow a performance-per-dollar analysis.