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.