More From CeBIT: New Mobile Parts

Unfortunately, we were unable to get any notebooks with these new GPUs to test them out before we tell you about them, but both NVIDIA and AMD are announcing new mobile GPUs today.

NVIDIA's move parallels what's happening on the desktop in that the newest additions to the mobile line up are 55nm G92 based parts with names in the new style NVIDIA has chosen. Actually, the entire lineup of 9xxxM series parts is being replaced by parts with new names. This is certainly more expected on the mobile side, as we usually do see much more lag in this space than on the desktop.

As for the specifics, the new parts are the top of the line models. The GTX 280M will be up to 50% faster than the 9800M GTX, which is nice in theory, but final performance will still be up to notebook makers who will set the final clocks on the part on a per notebook basis to accommodate their power budget. The GTX 260M is one step down from the 280M in that it has 112 SPs enabled (like the original G92 introduced as the 8800 GT) and lower maximum clock speeds.

These two high end GTX parts replace the top end 9800M parts, and subbing for the 9800M GS is the GTS 160M which will also offer improved performance, although we didn't get full specifications on this part. Rounding out the bottom of the lineup are the GT 130M and the G 110M.

On the AMD front, we see something a little more intriguing in the form of the first 40nm GPUs in the mobile space. Smaller die sizes, lower power and better power are promised, though the general naming will stay the same for AMD. The new 40nm 4800 series parts can be paired with either DDR3, GDDR3, or GDDR5; the choice is up to the notebook maker. AMD touts the fact that they can get about double the processing power in the same area with their new process, which will only benefit them going forward.

NVIDIA paints the GDDR5 option as overkill, but we really won't know about performance of either the new NVIDIA or AMD parts until we have hardware to test.

The NVIDIA and AMD supplied relative performance graphs are nearly useless in sorting out how these parts should compare to each other, so we'll really have to save the head to head for a time when we have hardware on our hands. 40nm could be a big plus for AMD, but remember that NVIDIA has made the first move in making mobile drivers available from their web site. The value of that is very high, as notebook OEMs tend not to like updating their drivers very often. Sure, it's possible to hack desktop drivers onto a mobile part, but it is a supreme headache and we hope AMD will soon follow in NVIDIA's footsteps with this move.

Back to the Tests at Hand

Now that we've covered all the announcements and introductory material, let's get to testing the hardware we've got in our hot little hands.

We got our card just a couple days ago, so we haven't had time to test everything, and we've only received one card so we haven't been able to test SLI with the 1GB version. We would also have added to our benchmarks by including 1280x1024 in our tests if we had had the time. This is a very important resolution for this class of hardware, but 1680x1050 should be a good enough indicator of relative performance in most cases so that this won't matter too much.

Our comparisons will be a little lop sided though. We've got two each (for single and dual configurations) of the 512MB 4850 and the 512MB GTS 250 (the 9800 GTX+). These comparisons we can do, and it's nice and neat as both parts are now set at a $130 (cutting recent street prices by about $15). We do have a GTS 250 1GB, but we don't have a 1GB 4850 to compare it to. On the flip side, since we've only got 1 GTS 250 1GB, we can't compare GTS 250 1GB SLI to the 4850 X2 2GB we have.

The test setup hasn't changed for this article, except that we've had to use the 182.08 for the GTS 250 1GB.

Test Setup
CPU Intel Core i7-965 3.2GHz
Motherboard ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58
Video Cards Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 4850 X2 2GB
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB CrossFire
ATI Radeon HD 4850 CrossFire
ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB
ATI Radeon HD 4850
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 SLI
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+ SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 core 216
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB
NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GTX+
Video Drivers Catalyst 8.12 hotfix
ForceWare 181.22
Hard Drive Intel X25-M 80GB SSD
RAM 6 x 1GB DDR3-1066 7-7-7-20
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1
PSU PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W
Why NVIDIA Did It Age of Conan & Call of Duty World at War Performance
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  • mard - Wednesday, April 15, 2009 - link

    just wondering if anybody knew if the Thermalright HR-03 GTX Rev.A
    would be compatible with the GTS250. if not, what would be another passive cooling option for this card

    thanks
    Reply
  • Core Core - Monday, April 06, 2009 - link

    I'm glad this review was done, it really has given me more data on which card to buy. I hope it is updated with some more focus on people who have my set of concerns, see below...

    I want a newer HD Ready/DX10/Shader4 card, and it has to work in a SFF case. I have only one dual slot and one 2x6 video card power supply, so i want to choose one of the two 1GB cards from ATI/nVidia (250 vs. 4850).

    Low heat & power & noise are very important to me. I also think dual slot exhaust is needed in my case. Currently, i have a very hot, noisy, power hog (ATI's X1900XTX) that i want to replace.

    A nVidia GTS250 or ATI 4850 are in my price range and are roughly double the performance i have now, i am connecting to a very large HD Ready display and i want to watch HD movies, game, and compute without problems.

    Your review did not do the ATI 4850 1GB card or go into any details on High Definition 1080p uses, i would like a comparison and review of HDCP, 1080p, and clarity of displayed text on a HD ready test system.

    I'm a total gamer, i watch heaps of HD anime, as well as compute & web browse.
    Reply
  • cactusdog - Sunday, March 22, 2009 - link


    SiliconDoc, you should see a doctor. Instead of blaming everybody else for Nvidia's poor standing in the eyes of the tech community, maybe you should look at why no one likes them....and your own bullying attitude should give you a clue.

    I've read a lot of "fanboy" comments but you take it to a new level. Psychofanboy would be more appropriate for you.

    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, April 08, 2009 - link

    LOL - At least this fella tells the truth, and yet you admit "your idea is the tech community hates them".
    Believe me, I know EXACTLY why, I've seen it all too often, no need for me to find out, mr cryptic with the EPIC FAIL.
    .
    Well, that leaves the SANE PERSON with the conclusion all the little red haters are LYING SACKS OF FUD AND CRAP, and they are near always blabbing out a lie for unfair red advantage, and THEREFORE - buying the nvidia card is the smart thing to do. The more they hate (with their endless stream of lies), the better the nvidia card really is.
    Now, if you don't have an actual counterpoint to the OTHER posts I've made, that destroyed and exposed the 6 months long plus red rooster fanboy fud parrot lines, why then you just go ahead and respond like you did above - because this one absolutely matches yours - PURE SPECULATION with nary a fact in it - just like you, you idiot.
    Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    The problem is even on all the other computer hardware, a naming scheme NEVER tells the avid consumer which one is really better. Same with CARS. Same with kitchen blenders.
    The REALITY of the product only hits the interested public when word actually gets around...when people buy it, reviewers and Consumer Digest take a stab, Tv commenters blab they have one and it's great or it's in the shop - facebook or myspace spreads the news, someone tweets about it...
    THIS is the reality of our computer age !
    In other words, I'm sure everyone wants an easier way out, and wants it all perfectly suited to absolute fairness - but the FACT REMAINS, on EVERYTHING one purchases, without some information far more extensive than the pretty PR ad box and name gives you - YOU WILL EITHER GET SCREWED OR GET LUCKY. PERIOD.
    If you have a really keen eye and some awesome circus sense, you just might make the right call from sight, smell, cover and wording, and placement on the shelves - but then...
    you'd be a wonderous expert with a special gift that could be put to work for pay.
    Face REALITY.
    Reply
  • earthshaker87 - Monday, March 09, 2009 - link

    My 4850 runs better than what these benchmarks say. I recently tested my card in COD: WaW with FRAPS. Im running XPSP3, C2DE8200 2.66, 2GB Kingston Value RAM, ASUS P5K-SE/EPU, MSI R4850(ref clocks and cooler) and got average FPS of 53.36 on same settings as yours. Could it be that Windows XP is the difference? Reply
  • cbm - Friday, March 06, 2009 - link

    How bout testing this on a system that people actually would own at this point in time. Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - link

    They've said this before; they test on the highest end system they can to try and remove all system limitations so the only difference you're seeing in test results come from the GPU's. Instead of the CPU, RAM or HDD. If they tested GTS250 in SLI on a dual core DDR2 system the GPU would be limited by the system, so you wouldn't get accurate results comparing the cards. These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards. Reply
  • SiliconDoc - Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - link

    In other words, with "our systems" with limited cpu, ram, hd's and motherboards, these results especially at the enourmous resolutions and excessive framerates are really overkill and border on meaningless.
    The are meaningless to a large extent until games catch back up with the gpu's, or people catch up with the test beds and monitors.
    So when they, in these reviews, parse a few percentage framerate difference at the high rezz - on the high end rig, on the expensive 30" monitor, then screed out a winner, they are essentially DELUDED.
    It's a winner "for them" while they are at work, mind numbingly whacking away at the hundreds of runs... the few little frames that they have NO CLUE are any different even at high resolutions weren't it for fraps and the pretty yellow numbers on screen.
    Yes, it's a sad day, huh.
    Then, the raging wackos scream about the 1,2,3 maybe 10% difference on the supposedly "one to one" card comparisons - at resolutions and system powers they can only dream of.
    I think that makes it MORE THAN CLEAR that the added value is much more important - what comes with the card, a game, the adapters, the looks, cuda, physx, folding , video conversion, fan type - heat generation - and very important - drivers and stability.
    Well NVIDIA wins those, hands down (save the bundle in some cases). TWIMTBP - and plenty of reasons WHY.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Saturday, March 21, 2009 - link

    I don't necessarily disagree with anything you said, other than saying the tests are meaningless. But you seem to be block headed and not want to listen so here... repetition yeah:
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.

    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    These articles aren't supposed to show you how the cards will perform in your system, they're just supposed to show yo the difference between the cards.
    Reply

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