NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M vs NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M

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The NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M is a fast middle class graphics card for laptops. It is based on the same chip as the GeForce GT 435M but with slightly higher clock speeds. Furthermore, it supports GDDR5 and 900MHz DDR3 graphics memory. Unfortunately, no models have utilized GDDR5 due to the increase in power consumption and higher prices compared to DDR3 VRAM.

GF108 Architecture

The GT 540M is based on the same GF108 architecture as the older GT 435M. The GF108 stems from the GF100 (Fermi) DirectX 10 architecture. However, it is optimized for the consumer end (gaming) and stripped down to save power. More information on the architecture can be found on our GeForce GT 435M page.

Performance

In general, the performance of the 540M lies between the Radeon HD 5650 and 5730 in our first benchmark tests. Therefore, the 540M is about 10% faster than the GT 435M using DDR3 graphics memory.

Paired with a fast CPU, demanding games of 2010 should run fluently in medium to high details and SXGA (1280x1024) resolution. In our tests, for example, Call of Duty: Black Ops and StarCraft 2 ran fluently in high details and 1360x768. More gaming benchmarks can be found below. Demanding games released in 2011 like Anno 2070 or Skyrim will only run fluent in low to medium detail settings.

Features

A novelty of the GF104/106/108 chips is the support for Bitstream HD Audio (Blu-Ray) output via HDMI. Alike the Radeon HD 5730, the GT 540M can transfer Dolby True HD and DTS-HD bitstream without quality loss to a HiFi receiver.

The GT 540M offers PureVideo HD technology for video decoding using the GPU. The integrated Video Processor 4 (VP4) supports feature set C and therefore the GPU is able to fully decode MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2 (MPEG-4 ASP - e.g., DivX or Xvid), VC-1/WMV9, and H.264 (VLD, IDCT, Motion Compensation, and Deblocking). Furthermore, the GPU is able to decode two 1080p streams simultaneously (e.g. for Blu-Ray Picture-in-Picture).

Through CUDA, OpenCL and DirectCompute 2.1 support, the GeForce GT 540M can be of help in general calculations. For example, the stream processor can  encode videos considerably faster than can a modern CPU. Furthermore, physics calculations can be done by the GPU using PhysX (supported by Mafia 2 and Metro 2033). However, the GPU is not fast enough to calculate PhysX high detail game settings.

Following the current 3D trend, the 540M supports 3D Vision.  It enables the laptop to send 3D content (3D games, 3D Web Streaming, 3D photos, 3D Blu-Rays) to a built-in 3D-enabled screen or an external 3D TV if supported by the manufacturer. This feature is disabled if the notebook includes Optimus.

The power consumption of the GeForce GT 540M should be similar to the GeForce GT 435M or Radeon HD 5730 and is therefore suited for 15" or larger laptops. Without load, the chip is clocked approximately at 50/101/137 MHz (chip/shader/memory) in 2D mode and 202/405/324 in 3D mode to save power. Furthermore, the 500M series supports Optimus to automatically switch between the integrated graphics card from Intel and the Nvidia GPU. The implementation of the Nvidia graphics switching technology is dependent on the laptop manufacturer.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M

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The NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M is a fast middle-class graphics card for laptops. It is based on the GF108 core, which is similar to certain GeForce 400M cards but with higher clock speeds. Therefore, features like PureVideo HD (VP4), 3DVision, HD Audio support and others are identical to the GT445M.

GF108 architecture

The GF108 core of the GTX 550M is related to the GF100 core of the GeFore GTX 480M, but offers only 96 shaders and a 128 Bit memory bus for both GDDR5 or DDR3. More information on the GF108 can be found on the GeForce GT 435M page.

Performance

The performance of the 550M depends on the used graphics memory. If using DDR3, the card is on a similar level with the Radeon HD 6750M. Demanding games such as Crysis 2 are playable in 1366x768 and high details. Higher resolutions at maximum settings will not be playable in demanding games like  Metro 2033 or Bad Company 2. See below for detailed benchmark results.

Features

A novel feature of the GF104/106/108 chips is the support for Bitstream HD Audio output via HDMI for Blu-ray playback. Similar the Radeon HD 5730, the GT 550M can transfer Dolby True HD and DTS-HD bitstream without quality loss to a HiFi receiver.

The GT550M offers the PureVideo HD technology for video decoding. The included Video Processor 4 (VP4) supports feature set C and is able to fully decode MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2 (MPEG-4 ASP - e.g., DivX or Xvid), VC-1/WMV9, and H.264 (VLD, IDCT, Motion Compensation, and Deblocking). 

Furthermore, the GPU is able to decode two 1080p streams simultaneously (e.g. for Blu-Ray Picture-in-Picture).

Through CUDA, OpenCL and DirectCompute 2.1 support, the GeForce GT 550M can be of help in general calculations. For example, the stream processor can  encode videos considerably faster than can a modern CPU. Furthermore, physics calculations can be done by the GPU using PhysX. Certain games, such as Mafia or Metro 2033, natively support this feature. 

According to Nvidia, support for 3D Vision on the GT 500M series is also new. It enables the laptop to send 3D content (3D games, 3D Web Streaming, 3D photos, 3D Blu-Rays) to a built-in 3D-enabled screen or an external 3D TV if supported by the manufacturer.

The relative high power consumption of the GeForce GT 550M suits it for 15-inch or larger laptops. To save power, the card supports Optimus to automatically switch between the integrated graphics card from Intel and the Nvidia GPU. Most notebooks with GT 5xxM GPUs support this feature, but its implementation is dependent on the laptop manufacturer.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540MNVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
ManufacturerNVIDIANVIDIA
GeForce GT 500M Series
GeForce GT 555M (compare) 144 @ 525 - 753 (Boost) MHz128, 192 Bit @ 785-900 MHz
GeForce GT 550M 96 @ 740 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 540M 96 @ 672 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 525M (compare) 96 @ 600 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520MX (compare) 48 @ 900 MHz64 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520M (compare) 48 @ 740 / 600 MHz64 / 128 Bit @ 800 / 900 MHz
GeForce GT 555M (compare) 144 @ 525 - 753 (Boost) MHz128, 192 Bit @ 785-900 MHz
GeForce GT 550M 96 @ 740 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 540M 96 @ 672 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 525M (compare) 96 @ 600 MHz128 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520MX (compare) 48 @ 900 MHz64 Bit @ 900 MHz
GeForce GT 520M (compare) 48 @ 740 / 600 MHz64 / 128 Bit @ 800 / 900 MHz
CodenameN12P-GSN12P-GT
ArchitectureFermiFermi
96 - 96 -
Core672 MHz740 MHz
Shader1344 MHz1480 MHz
Memory900 MHz900 MHz
Bus128 Bit128 Bit
MemoryGDDR5, DDR3DDR3, GDDR5
Max. Memory1536 MB1536 MB
nono
DirectXDirectX 11, 5.0DirectX 11, 5.0
Technology40 nm40 nm
FeaturesOptimus Support, PureVideo HD VP4, 3D Vision, 3DTV Play, Bitstream HD Audio, CUDA, DirectCompute, OpenCL, OpenGL 4.0, DirectX 11
Size
Introduced06.01.2011 06.01.2011

3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
min: 944     avg: 993     median: 989 (15%)     max: 1086 points
min: 1048     avg: 1099     median: 1099.5 (17%)     max: 1145 points
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
min: 849     avg: 892     median: 888 (14%)     max: 971 points
min: 934     avg: 982     median: 973.5 (15%)     max: 1028 points
3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
P Result 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
3DMark 2001SE - Standard 1024x768
min: 13773     avg: 28170     median: 32969 (49%)     max: 32969 Points
32347 Points (48%)
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
min: 19645     avg: 20670     median: 20701 (19%)     max: 21476 Points
min: 21918     avg: 22101     median: 22100.5 (21%)     max: 22283 Points
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
min: 13276     avg: 15284     median: 15658 (49%)     max: 16166 Points
min: 16365     avg: 16510     median: 16509.5 (52%)     max: 16654 Points
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
+ NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 1280x1024
min: 13     avg: 13.5     median: 13.4 (15%)     max: 14.4 fps
min: 14.2     avg: 14.5     median: 14.5 (17%)     max: 14.7 fps
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Siemens NX 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Tcvis 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Tcvis 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
SolidWorks 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
SolidWorks 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Maya 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Maya 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Lightwave 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Lightwave 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Ensight 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Ensight 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Catia 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Catia 1920x1080 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Windows 7 Experience Index - Gaming graphics
min: 5     avg: 6.5     median: 6.6 (84%)     max: 6.7 points
6.7 points (85%)
Windows 7 Experience Index - Graphics
min: 4.5     avg: 5.6     median: 5.8 (73%)     max: 6.7 points
min: 5.9     avg: 6.2     median: 5.9 (75%)     max: 6.7 points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Shading 32Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
OpenGL 64Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M

Average Benchmarks NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M → 100%

Average Benchmarks NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M → 105%

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-
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance
1 This benchmark is not used for the average calculation

Anno 2070

Anno 2070

2011
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
77.8 fps 84 ~ 81 fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
31 fps 34 ~ 33 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
19.4 fps 21 ~ 20 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
9.6  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
low 1280x720
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
38 44.3 fps ~ 41 fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
25 31.9 fps ~ 28 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
17 21 fps ~ 19 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
12  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
35 36.5 fps ~ 36 fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
23 23.7 fps ~ 23 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
17.6 fps 18 ~ 18 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
Fifa 12

Fifa 12

2011
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
248.1 fps  fps
107%
GeForce GT 550M:
266.3  fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
137.1 fps  fps
123%
GeForce GT 550M:
168.1  fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
102.2 fps 112 ~ 107 fps
110%
GeForce GT 550M:
118.1  fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
67  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
F1 2011

F1 2011

2011
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
80 94 ~ 87 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
63 64 ~ 64 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
40 49 ~ 45 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
16 20 ~ 18 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
72.6 93 ~ 83 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
37.2 37.6 ~ 37 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
Dirt 3

Dirt 3

2011
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
61 82.6 86 98 134.6 138 ~ 100 fps
166%
GeForce GT 550M:
166.4 fps  fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
29.6 37.6 45 46 53 54 55.7 fps 61 61 62.5 ~ 51 fps
118%
GeForce GT 550M:
53.7 66 fps ~ 60 fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
17.6 24 31 33.2 35.5 38 38.9 39 39 39.8 fps ~ 34 fps
124%
GeForce GT 550M:
41.6 fps 42.9 ~ 42 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
12.7 12.7 12.7 13 13 20 ~ 14 fps
90%
GeForce GT 550M:
12.7  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
24  fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
15  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
Crysis 2

Crysis 2

2011
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
55.7 56 56.6 fps ~ 56 fps
105%
GeForce GT 550M:
58 fps 59.1 ~ 59 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
36 36.4 36.4 fps 37.1 fps ~ 36 fps
108%
GeForce GT 550M:
39.3 fps 39.5 ~ 39 fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
26.5 26.6 fps 26.6 fps 27 ~ 27 fps
107%
GeForce GT 550M:
29 29.2 fps ~ 29 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
8.9 9 ~ 9 fps
111%
GeForce GT 550M:
10.3 10.3 fps ~ 10 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
Total War: Shogun 2

Total War: Shogun 2

2011
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
135.8 141.9 147.8 ~ 142 fps
med. 1280x720
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
11.1 21.7 38.6 ~ 24 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
6.9  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
50 60 61 64.4 69 86.1 86.1 ~ 68 fps
140%
GeForce GT 550M:
95.2 fps  fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
42.1 49.8 52 54 56 68.1 68.1 ~ 56 fps
118%
GeForce GT 550M:
61.6 70.8 fps ~ 66 fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
35.6 35.8 37.6 41 44 45.7 fps 47 48.9 fps 52.4 52.4 ~ 44 fps
120%
GeForce GT 550M:
50 55.4 fps ~ 53 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
28 fps 28 28 28 29.1 fps ~ 28 fps
100%
GeForce GT 550M:
24.2 31.9 fps ~ 28 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
Fifa 11

Fifa 11

2010
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
275 385.3 400.2 408.9 408.9 416 417.9 422.4 437.2 438.9 445.2 ~ 405 fps
81%
GeForce GT 550M:
182.1 307.6 330.3 405.1 412.7 ~ 328 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
154.7 164.1 167.8 168.6 168.6 169.7 175.3 176.2 176.3 178.6 182 182.2 204.9 204.9 208 ~ 179 fps
108%
GeForce GT 550M:
166.8 182.8 189 209.6 224.2 ~ 194 fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
101.3 107 109.8 110.7 110.9 115.4 116 118.3 119.5 120.6 122 122.1 124 fps 124.3 125.3 fps 129.5 129.5 133 ~ 119 fps
110%
GeForce GT 550M:
122.9 125.8 132.2 136.4 136.6 ~ 131 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
67.5 67.7 68.5 70 70.3 fps 70.4 fps 71 ~ 69 fps
112%
GeForce GT 550M:
76.3 76.9 ~ 77 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
Civilization 5

Civilization 5

2010
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
39  fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
10.2  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
Mafia 2

Mafia 2

2010
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
43.6 44 47.3 48.9 50.9 54 55 56 56.9 57 61.6 65 65 ~ 54 fps
128%
GeForce GT 550M:
67.2 71.5 fps ~ 69 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
23.1 30 34.3 39 40 41.9 42 42 42.7 42.7 42.7 43.3 fps 45 46.2 49 ~ 40 fps
123%
GeForce GT 550M:
47.8 fps 50.7 ~ 49 fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
22.6 27 27.4 30.6 31.6 33.1 33.7 fps 33.9 34 34.8 34.8 34.8 35.2 38.1 39 41 42 ~ 34 fps
121%
GeForce GT 550M:
37.5 fps 44.2 ~ 41 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
20.3 fps 20.9 21 21 23.4 23.9 24.3 25 25 ~ 23 fps
109%
GeForce GT 550M:
22.4 fps 26.7 ~ 25 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
136.6 153.5 167 171.2 178 181.2 182 187 189.7 222.8 ~ 177 fps
116%
GeForce GT 550M:
201.1 210.6 fps ~ 206 fps
med. 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
41.4 44 45 fps 46 46 fps 47.4 53 56.8 60.2 62.3 63.5 66.8 ~ 53 fps
92%
GeForce GT 550M:
48.9 fps 49.9 ~ 49 fps
high 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
28.8 32 32.5 fps 32.7 fps 32.9 fps 33 34 34.6 fps 34.9 35.5 fps 37 38.3 41.5 42.5 44.3 45.3 47.4 ~ 37 fps
100%
GeForce GT 550M:
35.5 fps 37.6 ~ 37 fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
17 17.3 fps 18 18 18 18.4 fps ~ 18 fps
106%
GeForce GT 550M:
18.4 fps 19.4 ~ 19 fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
low 800x600
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
47.1 48.1 49 49 50.7 51.7 fps 74.4 78.7 81.5 ~ 59 fps
131%
GeForce GT 550M:
47.5 82.2 83 96.3 ~ 77 fps
med. 1360x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
26.2 27.2 fps 28.1 28.6 fps 29.3 40.5 40.7 41.9 43.5 44.9 ~ 35 fps
120%
GeForce GT 550M:
28.8 43.2 45.3 49.7 ~ 42 fps
high 1600x900
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
14.4 fps 15.1 17.2 18.4 fps ~ 16 fps
93%
GeForce GT 550M:
14.9  fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
5.2 fps  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
GeForce GT 550M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
55  fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
42.6  fps
high 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
31.8  fps
ultra 1920x1080
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
14.2  fps
GeForce GT 540M:
»
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
53.8 58 59.6 ~ 57 fps
107%
GeForce GT 550M:
58 fps 64.4 ~ 61 fps
med. 1366x768
100%
GeForce GT 540M:
39.4 fps 41.2 fps