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ATI HD 4860 and HD 4830  (Source: AMD)

NVIDIA lays claim to world's fastest mobile GPU while ATI claims world's first 40nm GPU

Competition in the mobile GPU segment is strong. Intel routinely leads the market with its integrated chipsets. However, with the lack of discrete Intel products, NVIDIA and AMD are left to fight for the discrete notebook GPU market.

AMD announced new mobile GPUs today that are the world's first 40nm graphics processors. The new 40nm process is being used in the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860 and HD 4830 GPUs. Both GPUs support DirectX 10.1 games and HD content as well as being energy efficient for increased battery life.

AMD's Rick Bergman said in a statement, "People now decidedly prefer mobile PCs, and innovations like this 40nm mobile GPU show AMD is uniquely positioned to make the best entertainment experiences of desktop PCs possible in a notebook. Depending on the performance of the panel or external monitor, laptops that feature these tiny, powerful but efficient graphics engines can run today’s most demanding game titles at beyond 1080p HD resolution, or playback full 1080p HD video with high energy efficiency thanks to ATI PowerPlay and 40nm process technology."

The HD 4860 mobile GPU supports GDDR5 RAM with almost twice the performance of GDDR3 RAM. AMD says that by utilizing the 40nm technology it can build the GPU in a smaller ASIC die size, which in turn allows the discrete GPU to be used in smaller notebooks. The first notebook to feature the HD 4860 will be the Asus K notebook. Other products using the new GPUs are expected to hit market in Q2 2009.

AMD's archrival NVIDIA also announced a new mobile GPU called the GTX 280M along with other new mobile GPUs. NVIDIA claims that the GTX 280M is the world's fastest mobile GPU and offers 50% more performance than the previous generation of mobile enthusiast level GPUs.

NVIDIA's Rene Haas said in a statement, "These new NVIDIA GeForce GPUs are for those who won’t accept compromise in notebook performance. These new GPUs meet the needs of the most demanding consumers in the marketplace by delivering industry-leading performance at all price segments along with features that go beyond graphics."

Along with the GTX 280M, NVIDIA also announced the GTX 260M, GTS 160M and GTS 150M GPUs. Big Green says that the GTX 200M and GTS 100M series GPUs allow mobile users to play the latest HD video games on a portable platform.

The GTX 280M can also be used in SLI mode and takes advantage of NVIDIA HybridPower technology to reduce power consumption when needed for longer battery life. NVIDIA claims that a pair of GTX 280M GPUs in SLI mode offers the most powerful notebook graphics platform available today. The new mobile GPUs also support PhysX technology to add realistic physics effects to video games along with support for NVIDIA's CUDA architecture.

The new GPUs will be used in gaming machines coming from ASUS, Clevo, and MSI with versions of the machines being shown at CeBIT 2009 going on this week.

NVIDIA also launched GTS 250 desktop video cards this week.

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By A Stoner on 3/3/2009 2:59:32 PM , Rating: 1
GTX 280m sounds very tempting. I hope to see this in a nice 17 inch notebook with 1920x1200 resolution. Of course, the chances of this being affordable based on my desired price of around $1500 or less for a notebook are not likely to be met, it is still good to see it offered to market. I may just be stuck with my current 6800 ultra equipped ancient device for one more generation of notbooks.

RE: Sweeet!
By Omega215D on 3/3/2009 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 3
I'm sure Gateway would do such a thing as they've been doing this for a while now. Despite having a gaming laptop for a good price the battery life is quite good as well.

RE: Sweeet!
By scrapsma54 on 3/4/2009 12:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
I own an Fx variant Gateway laptop using a 15 inch (1280x800) and a 2600xt. Despite how many people perceive the 2600 line up, I can gracefully announce that it has no trouble running many of todays modern games on their intended settings, except for crysis. From that perspective I can only imagine good things from amd in their mobile line ups.
Gateway does good work, despite all the bad mouthing people give. Then again, everyone has something to say about everyone.

RE: Sweeet!
By Goty on 3/3/2009 4:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck doing any significant gaming at 1920x1200 with a 9800GTX...

RE: Sweeet!
By SlyNine on 3/3/2009 5:26:22 PM , Rating: 1
If the only game you play is Crysis, Then sure. But even on my 8800GT I can play most games at a very high setting at 1920x1200.

RE: Sweeet!
By dflynchimp on 3/3/2009 7:56:55 PM , Rating: 4
those who are serious about gaming probably aren't running on laptops anyways.

Those who are running gaming laptops for LAN purposes probably aren't playing Crysis anyways.

For the usual LAN games (UT3, L4D, TF2, etc) 9800GTX is more than enough horsepower.

RE: Sweeet!
By roostitup on 3/4/2009 1:24:36 AM , Rating: 3
This post isn't even about the least stay on topic. You also clearly don't know anything about the performance of the 9800GTX.

RE: Sweeet!
By V3ctorPT on 3/4/2009 3:35:36 AM , Rating: 5
Dude... wake up... that is not a GT200 arch, don't know why they use the GTX280M name... it's the good old G92b (aka 8800GT->8800GTS->9800GTX->9800GTX chip)... nVidia is fooling everyone in the desktop market and in the notebook market...

Kudos for being so audacious... I hope they get their asses kicked for trying to deceive the consumer

RE: Sweeet!
By roostitup on 3/4/2009 3:58:16 AM , Rating: 2
Dude... wake up... his post is still completely wrong and irrelevent. I don't disagree with you though. At least the less they actually change the arch the slower my notebook graphics card becomes obsolete :) Nvidia does try to pull a lot of fast ones with their naming structure though without actually changing the arch, it is pretty pathetic.

RE: Sweeet!
By superkdogg on 3/4/2009 2:16:46 PM , Rating: 3
I don't get it. Do you know that the 280M is another rebrand of the 8800gt/9800GTX or not?

The post that you're going after was sarcasm. He was picking on the fact that nVidia is renaming old parts. I agree that those old G92's are still not bad for most games, but you're calling his post irrelevant and wrong seems to be missing the sarcasm.

RE: Sweeet!
By roostitup on 3/4/2009 8:44:41 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, I missed the sarcasim. I understand what is going on now :p

RE: Sweeet!
By Goty on 3/5/2009 7:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
If you'd take about two seconds to actually do a little bit of research on the topic about which you evidently believe yourself to be more knowledgeable, you'd realize that the GTX280m is essentially a 9800GTX+ that's been tweaked into a mobile form factor.

Also, contrary to not-so-popular belief, I know quite a bit about the performance of the 9800GTX and I know that the GTX280m won't be quite that fast, due to a number of factors stemming from the changes they need to make to the chip to make it feasible for a mobile platform.

If we put the 280m on a realistic scale, we'll call its performance about even to a 9800GT in the long-run, which won't play most recent games at 1920x1200 with any amount of eye candy.

Sure, my statement may come down to your definition of "significant", but then again, I don't care what anyone else's definition is.

RE: Sweeet!
By VooDooAddict on 3/3/2009 4:55:43 PM , Rating: 5
It's a misleading name.

The GTX280 M is not the same as the Desktop GTX280 or even the GTX260 .... The GPU is comparable with the G92 8800GT/9800GTX NOT the G200 based GTX280

RE: Sweeet!
By MonkeyPaw on 3/3/2009 9:24:30 PM , Rating: 5
nVidia has renamed the G92 so many times that their naming system has simply lost all meaning. What has the G92 become now? 8800GT, 8800GTS 512, 9800GT, 9800GTX, 9800GTX+, GTS250, and now the GTX260 M and GTX280 M. One GPU with 8 different product names covering 3 "Generations." Who can trust nVidia's naming scheme? It's a bad joke as far as I'm concerned. It's just sad that a company that wants to be the "enthusiast's choice" also tries to play its customers for fools with name games. Sure, the consumer needs to be informed when buying, but to the informed consumer, this sort of thing looks sad at best, and pretty shady at worst.

RE: Sweeet!
By Dribble on 3/4/2009 4:29:52 AM , Rating: 2
And the radeon 4860M is somewhere between a 4850 and a 4870 then?
Since when have notebook cards had the same spec as their desktop equivalents?

RE: Sweeet!
By MonkeyPaw on 3/4/2009 7:50:35 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, it just might. The 4860M is very similar in specs to the new Desktop 4750--a card that performs very close to the 4850,, and it should use less power while doing so. It's close enough that I don't consider the naming an issue. The GTX280M is nowhere close to the desktop GTX280. It's not even close to the same physical design.

RE: Sweeet!
By Dribble on 3/4/2009 12:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
If you want to go down ati and nvidia's mobile card line up both historically and today you'll find they are all different (i.e. and much slower) then the desktop equivalent.

This is because mobile chips have power restrictions so can't go as fast, but the manufacturers still use the desktop naming scheme to pick up on all the marketing they did for those cards.

RE: Sweeet!
By FaceMaster on 3/3/09, Rating: -1
RE: Sweeet!
By dflynchimp on 3/3/2009 7:57:32 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Sweeet!
By FaceMaster on 3/3/09, Rating: 0
RE: Sweeet!
By spread on 3/3/2009 9:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
The GTX280M is based on the G92 core. It's basically a rebranded 9800GTX+ clocked lower for a notebook.

You just got owned by nvidia marketing.

RE: Sweeet!
By Proteusza on 3/4/2009 5:30:38 AM , Rating: 2
its a pity that the article doesnt mention that a GTX280M is in fact a 9800GTX, not a GTX 280. Thats nvidia's intentionally misleading naming scheme for you.

By rubyxc7 on 3/3/2009 3:06:58 PM , Rating: 5
SLI in a notebook? I can understand that its enthusiast and that it is a desktop replacement but why not just get your self a shuttle box or something similar to that so you still have the mobility. I personally find it very hard to justify something that expensive where you can't really upgrade it for the future, all for the sake of having the screen and the keyboard built in? Maybe I'm missing something here.

RE: Why?
By nwrigley on 3/3/2009 3:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - just get a pc in a more portable case.

RE: Why?
By StevoLincolnite on 3/3/2009 3:26:26 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps, but that's where the benefits of Hybrid SLI would enter in my opinion.

Have SLI for performance while plugged in, and integrated graphics while on the move, not sure if Hybrid SLI is compatible with 2 Powerful cards and the IGP though.

Plus a Powerful desktop replacement notebook is good for those who don't have the room for a full sized desktop, or go to a allot of lan party's and don't wish to lug around a large machine.

Still choice is a good thing, I usually buy the notebook with the Best GPU I can afford with the CPU, Memory, HDD size secondary because chances are you can easily upgrade those in the future.

With a GPU your basically limited unless you get an MXM/AXIOM based solution, even then be ready to pay a massive price, and you would also find upgrades to still be incredibly limited.

RE: Why?
By Ticholo on 3/3/2009 6:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
But shouldn't Hybrid SLI be available if you have a MB with integrated nvidia graphics in your desktop, as well?
I can't see why not, and it really makes integrated graphics a worthwhile investment.

RE: Why?
By Chocobollz on 3/4/2009 1:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
Powerful desktop replacement notebook is good for those who don't have the room for a full sized desktop

I wonder how small your house is? xD Or, do you intend to buy some big supercomputer so it won't fit into your house? xD

RE: Why?
By EglsFly on 3/3/2009 11:49:49 PM , Rating: 2
SLI in a notebook? I can understand that its enthusiast and that it is a desktop replacement but why not just get your self a shuttle box or something similar to that so you still have the mobility.
Can you get a Shuttle Box with a big enough power supply to run a decent card such as a 4850 or 4870, let alone a SLI or Crossfire setup? Can you even get a shuttle box with two PCIe video card slots?

RE: Why?
By EglsFly on 3/4/2009 12:10:49 AM , Rating: 1
Was looking at AMDs site and it said for a 4870:
500 Watt or greater power supply with two 75W 6-pin PCI Express® power connectors recommended (600 Watt and four 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)

Checking, the best I could find for a Shuttle was a 450W power supply. This would be the minimum for a single 4850. I'm guessing a single 4850 though would be better than the mobility GPUs? (not sure)

RE: Why?
By zpdixon on 3/4/2009 1:20:16 AM , Rating: 2
Bzzzzt. Wrong. The HD 4850 has a max TDP of only 110W. A 300W PSU that provides for example 19A on a 12V rail (like this $20 one: ) would be amply sufficient for a normal desktop system.

FYI I run a 4850 X2 at full load with GPGPU apps on a 430W PSU with a 12V@18A rail. I can do it because the rest of my box is ultra-efficient (25W Turion processor, diskless, etc).

RE: Why?
By zpdixon on 3/4/2009 6:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
The reason AMD says one "needs a 500W PSU at minimum for the 4870" is because they completely overestimate the consumption of every device (safety margin) and underestimate the current provided by the PSU on the 12V rail(s) (not all 300W PSUs are equal, some can only provide about 10A, others up to 20A).

Launch models?
By Bateluer on 3/3/2009 3:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
ATI has some nice mobile chipsets, as does Nvidia, but when and where can the consumer buy them? Or what can they get them in the models they want?

I would love to get a Mobility 4870, but I can't find it in a 15.4in model. I've only seen it in a few heavy DTR 17in+ models.

The new 40nm chips look very interesting, but will I actually be able to get them in a notebook that I want?

What are their launch partners for these?

RE: Launch models?
By inperfectdarkness on 3/3/2009 8:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
take note, laptop retailers:

i want a 1920x1200 screen, ddr3, quad core, 6-8GB ram, and a 4870m. i want it in a 15.4" case. and i want it to cost $1500-2000.

and before you call me crazy; know this:

i can buy a gateway p-7801u & any $500 netbook for LESS than it costs to buy a gaming 15.4" laptop. there is no conceivable, rational reason for this. period. there's a vastly untapped market segment here.

RE: Launch models?
By inperfectdarkness on 3/3/2009 8:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
err...that should be 4860m. and my premise stands.

RE: Launch models?
By Bateluer on 3/4/2009 8:42:30 AM , Rating: 2
I agree . . . but I'd be happy with a 1680x1050 screen, provided it was free of dead/stuck pixels and LED back lit.

Sadly, I don't think such a model exists. There's only a few 15.4in notebooks that boast anything higher than a 9650GT, and only 1 or two models that boast 9800M class GPUs. There aren't any 15.4in models with ATI chips above a 3650 that I've seen. MSI makes a 17in model with a 4850 in it though, thats something, I guess.

RE: Launch models?
By Bateluer on 3/4/2009 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 2

Scroll down to availability. Asus should have models in Q2 09 with these chips, but it doesn't specify whether they'll be 15.4in or larger.

RE: Launch models?
By inperfectdarkness on 3/4/2009 12:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
that's the problem. it doesn't specify.

clevo has 1 15.4" model that can have a wuxga screen. so pretty much unless you're willing to shell out $2500+ for an alienware or a sager; you're totally hosed for finding a good 15.4" that's got a great screen & graphics card.

i'm "hoping" that the 40mm process will soon replace the 4870 with a 4880/4890 model. 1gb. and i hope THAT fits into a 15.4".

what really ticks me off is that laptop retailers don't seem to understand that there's no rational reason for anyone to need a 17" laptop--unless you're attempting to run crossfire/sli. everything that is done in a 17" can be done for ~the same cost in a 15.4"....and with less battery consumption to boot.

17" has become an excuse to go "bigger" without anything to show for it. a "red-herring" of pc sales. bigger screen, smaller battery life, and no real improvement from a 15.4". i am f**king tired of this bulls**t--and i want it to stop. i can offer you a 22" laptop with the specs of a 14"...but why on earth would you want to buy it?

RE: Launch models?
By inperfectdarkness on 3/4/2009 12:37:38 PM , Rating: 2

that appears to be a wxga screen in the asus k-series.

no thanks. i already have one of those screens in my 4 year old laptop. i'm looking to UPGRADE.

RE: Launch models?
By Bateluer on 3/4/2009 2:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, we'll see what Asus offers. I really would prefer a 15.4in laptop over a 17in. I have a 17in now, and its not that its heavy, its that a decent case for it doesn't fit under the seat in an airplane. I refuse to put it in the overhead compartment. Regardless, a lot of those are too small as well.

By Einy0 on 3/3/2009 3:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's about time something new is available on the mobile front. I wonder what the specs on the parts will be... I can see the ATI parts working in the lower power and requirements. How the hell is Nvidia putting a GTX280 or 260 in a notebook. I wonder how many sacrifices they had to make to do it. I seriously doubt a GTX280M will even compare to a GTX260 desktop part. If it does and they can make a notebook of normal size that doesn't use a 300W power supply then WOW great job Nvidia...

RE: Sweet!
By ipay on 3/3/2009 3:51:08 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately the GTX280m has nothing in common with the desktop GTX200 series, except for the name of course. It is the equivalent of the desctop GTX8800/9800 - a two year old gpu, being renamed yet again into the GTS250. Horay to the great engineering power of Nvidia! First for creating a gpu that has outlasted the test of time and secondly for being the laziest bunch out there and milking the cow till it drops dead

RE: Sweet!
By Einy0 on 3/3/2009 6:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I just read... Nvidia is just renaming the crap outta the G92 core. Give me a break already... Let it rest... This is nearly as bad as renaming the 8600M GT to the 8700M GT when they didn't have a real high-end mobile chip ready at the time.

By RallyMaster on 3/3/2009 4:00:37 PM , Rating: 5
I'll take a HD4830 in a laptop given that it performs similar to the HD4830 desktop version. Even if it performed at the level of my HD3850, I'd still be pretty satisfied.

The AMD stuff looks good
By psychobriggsy on 3/3/2009 5:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, AMD first to 40nm ... albeit at a third party fab.

The smaller die, cheaper, etc, route has done AMD well in the graphics market recently, and it is good to see them continue.

However when it comes to Larrabee down the road, hog as it might be, it will be backed by Intel's massive resources. Still if AMD can do 2.5x RV740 on 32nm they'll still have a small die, and a 2TFLOP+ beast.

RE: The AMD stuff looks good
By Warren21 on 3/5/2009 3:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
Heh, AMD first to 40nm ... albeit at a third party fab

Are you kidding? This is talking about their *GPU* stuff. ATI.

ATI and nVidia never owned any fabs to begin with... So I don't see the importance of pointing it out.

Nvidia marketing fubar
By seraphim1982 on 3/4/2009 3:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
This should be great for ATI/AMD.
Their 40nm parts should be use far less power than the older G92 based mobile parts, not to mention better in games.

I've hated Nvidia for this strict reason... they love to lame customers by rebranding old bins. Their mid range has never performed according to "mid-range" benches. Their lower high was performed more closely to the avg or median of benches and their low end was just utter budget crap.

By inperfectdarkness on 3/4/2009 10:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
which is also why we still have laptops with everything from 8200m up through 9700m graphics cards available.

i assure you these are all pretty much crap. and if you're going with nvidia, go with 9800m series or go home. and yes, i know the 8800m gtx is practically the same thing.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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