NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI

► remove NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M SLI is a combination of two Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics cards for laptops linked together in SLI mode. The combination can be up to 40% faster than a single GTX 260M if given the proper game or driver support. In fact,some games may even run slower under SLI than with a single 260M if driver support is poor. Regardless, current consumption is twice as high as a single 260M. Notably, Nvidia drivers support the deactivation of SLI to save power. This is in contrast to the Catalyst drivers of the 4870 X2 at the time of our review.

The graphics memory of both cards can't be added and compared to single cards, as each card stores the same information. Therefore, a GTX 260M SLI with 2x512 graphics memory only counts as 512 MB for games.

As all SLI combinations, the GeForce 260M SLI may suffer from noticeable micro stuttering at frame rates between 20 to 30 fps. This is due to the inconsistent delays between subsequent frames being rendered and shown onscreen. As a result, an SLI combination may need higher frame rates for fluent gameplay.

Similar to other cards with DirectX 10 capabilities, the GeForce GTX 260M SLI combination renders 3D images using "Unified Shaders". Dedicated pixel shaders and vertex shaders have been dropped in favor of 2x112 stream processors for rendering graphic work that would have normally been done by specialized pixel and vertex shaders. Furthermore, the shader units are higher clocked than the chip at 1375 MHz.

The performance of the GTX 260M SLI is in the region of a single GTX 260M, but can be about 40 percent higher depending on application and driver support. A single GTX 260M is only a bit faster than a 9800M GTX due to the higher clock speed. For current DirectX 10 games like Crysis, World in Conflict, Bioshock or Age of Conan, the performance of this graphics card is sufficient with medium and high details. Older games and less demanding ones run fluently with high resolutions and full details. The memory component is up to 2x1024 MB GDDR3 with speeds up to 950MHz in MXM 3.0 boards or up to 800 MHz in MXM 2.0 boards.

An advantage of the GeForce GTX 260M SLI is the integrated PureVideo HD video processor. As a result, it is able to decode/encode H.264-, VC-1-, MPEG2- and WMV9 video material that would have otherwise been processed by the CPU. This ultimately allows the CPU to concentrate more on other tasks and programs simultaneously.

Both chips also support PhysX and CUDA applications. A single GTX 260M can also be used to calculate PhysX effects if supported by the game or application.

HybridPower is a technique to choose between the integrated (if available) and dedicated graphics core for power-saving purposes. So far, this works only in Windows Vista. Up to now, the user had to use a tool to switch between the GPUs. In the near future, Nvidia intends to be able to switch GPUs automatically in the drivers (now known as Optimus Technology, which is not supported by the GTX 260M SLI). GeForceBoost is not supported with this card as there would be no performance gain if one were to combine the integrated GPU with the dedicated 460M SLI.

The current consumption of up to 2x75 = 150 Watts (including the MXM board and VRAM) allows the use of the SLI cards only in laptops with a strong cooling system. Therefore, the GTX 260M SLI can be found only in heavier and larger desktop replacement (DTR) notebooks.

Compared with desktop graphics cards, the performance of the GTX 260M SLI is about on par with the GeForce 9800 GT SLI (600/1500/900).

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI

► remove NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M SLI is a graphics solution that combines two Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M cards in an SLI setup. As not every game supports SLI efficiently, the performance increase compared to a single card is only about 0-40%. The most frequently used technique is Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR), where one card renders every odd frame while the second card renders every even frame. Due to the SLI setup, users may experience micro stuttering due to the irregular delays between sequential frames.

Each of the two GeForce GTX 280M is based on the G92b core and is produced in 55nm. It features the full 128 pipelines of the G92b and is therefore more comparable to the desktop 9800M GTX+ than the desktop GTX 280.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 280M SLI is bundled with the GeForce 9400M G chipset (for laptops based on the Core 2 Duo) and therefore supports HybridPower if supported by the manufacturer. With HybridPower, both GTX cards can be disabled and only the chipset graphics core can run, leading to longer battery life (and possibly less fan noise). Modern Core i7 laptops use an Intel chipset and do not support HybridPower.

Since there are two GTX 280 cards active in SLI, the electric current consumption and exhumed heat are about twice as much as what a single GTX 280M can produce. Due to the large power and cooling requirements, this SLI combination is usually reserved for large desktop replacement (DTR) laptops (like the Alienware M17x).

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLINVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI
ManufacturerNVIDIANVIDIA
GeForce GTX 200M Series
GeForce GTX 285M SLI (compare) 256 @ 576 MHz256 Bit @ 1020 MHz
GeForce GTX 280M SLI 256 @ 585 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 260M SLI 224 @ 550 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 285M (compare) 128 @ 576 MHz256 Bit @ 1020 MHz
GeForce GTX 280M (compare) 128 @ 585 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 260M (compare) 112 @ 550 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 285M SLI (compare) 256 @ 576 MHz256 Bit @ 1020 MHz
GeForce GTX 280M SLI 256 @ 585 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 260M SLI 224 @ 550 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 285M (compare) 128 @ 576 MHz256 Bit @ 1020 MHz
GeForce GTX 280M (compare) 128 @ 585 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
GeForce GTX 260M (compare) 112 @ 550 MHz256 Bit @ 950 MHz
CodenameNB9E-GTXN10E-GTX
ArchitectureG9xG9x
224 - 256 -
Core550 MHz585 MHz
Shader1375 MHz1463 MHz
Memory950 MHz950 MHz
Bus256 Bit256 Bit
MemoryGDDR3GDDR3
Max. Memory2048 MB2048 MB
nono
DirectXDirectX 10, 4.0DirectX 10, 4.0
Transistors1508 Million1508 Million
Technology55 nm55 nm
FeaturesHybridPower, PureVideo HD, CUDA, PhysX readyHybridPower, PureVideo HD, CUDA, PhysX ready
Size
Introduced02.03.2009 02.03.2009
MXM 3MXM 3
Manufacturerhttp://www.nvidia.com/object/product_gef...http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_gef...

3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI
P Result 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI
3DMark 2001SE - Standard 1024x768
30910 Points (32%)
min: 37453     avg: 38453     median: 38453 (40%)     max: 39453 Points
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
min: 47633     avg: 49181.5     median: 49181 (26%)     max: 50730 Points
min: 57010     avg: 57552.5     median: 57552 (30%)     max: 58095 Points
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
min: 12820     avg: 14509.5     median: 14509 (27%)     max: 16199 Points
min: 19180     avg: 19267.5     median: 19267 (36%)     max: 19355 Points
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI
Standard 1280x1024 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - 3ds Max 1280x1024
10.2 fps (21%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - Catia 1280x1024
12.3 fps (26%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - EnSight 1280x1024
15.5 fps (33%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - Maya 1280x1024
20.9 fps (11%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - Pro/Engeneer 1280x1024
10 fps (20%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - SolidWorks 1280x1024
11 fps (16%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - UGS Teamcenter 1280x1024
3.4 fps (9%)
SPEC Viewperf 10.0 - UGS NX 1280x1024
5 fps (10%)
Windows Vista Experience Index - GPU Games
5.9 Points (98%)
Windows Vista Experience Index - GPU
5.9 Points (98%)
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI
Shading 32Bit + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI

Average Benchmarks NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI → 100%

Average Benchmarks NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI → 109%

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

Anno 1404

Anno 1404

2009
low 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
105  fps
ultra 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
37.6  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Sims 3

Sims 3

2009
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
312  fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
145  fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
120  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
F.E.A.R. 2

F.E.A.R. 2

2009
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
180 208.8 ~ 194 fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
127.5  fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
116.9 123.1 ~ 120 fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
GTA IV - Grand Theft Auto

GTA IV - Grand Theft Auto

2008
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
46.1 65.4 ~ 56 fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
44.6 45.2 ~ 45 fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
35.5 62.2 ~ 49 fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead

2008
low 640x480
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
165  fps
high 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
104  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

2008
low 640x480
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
91.6  fps
high 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
50.8  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead

2008
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
73  fps
ultra 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
35  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Racedriver: GRID

Racedriver: GRID

2008
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
122 208.8 ~ 165 fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
81 127.5 ~ 104 fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
77 116.9 ~ 97 fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare

Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare

2007
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
237.2  fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
175.3  fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
105.9 119 ~ 112 fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Supreme Commander - FA Bench

Supreme Commander - FA Bench

2007
low 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
77.2  fps
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
67.2  fps
high 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
64.6  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Crysis - GPU Benchmark

Crysis - GPU Benchmark

2007
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
102  fps
104%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
102.6 108.5 ~ 106 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
64  fps
100%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
64.1  fps
high 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
51  fps
104%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
52 53.2 ~ 53 fps
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
»
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Crysis - CPU Benchmark

Crysis - CPU Benchmark

2007
low 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
132  fps
94%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
123.5 124.8 ~ 124 fps
med. 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
65  fps
101%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
65.4  fps
high 1024x768
100%
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
52  fps
90%
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
41.3 53.2 ~ 47 fps
GeForce GTX 260M SLI:
»
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
World in Conflict - Benchmark

World in Conflict - Benchmark

2007
med. 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
47  fps
high 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
74  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Half Life 2 - Lost Coast Benchmark

Half Life 2 - Lost Coast Benchmark

2005
high 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
130.8  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft

2005
low 800x600
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
267  fps
high 1280x1024
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
52  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»
Doom 3

Doom 3

2004
low 640x480
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
217.1  fps
ultra 1024x768
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
215.7  fps
GeForce GTX 280M SLI:
»

Average Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI → 100%

Average Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M SLI → 99%

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