NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI► remove
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► remove
The NVidia GeForce GTX 280M is a high-end graphics card as part of the 200M series and is based on the G92b core (Desktop GeForce 9800 GTX+). Therefore, it is actually more related to the GeForce 9800 GTX+, both performance-wise and architecturally, than to the GTX 280. The chip is produced in 55nm with all 128 pipelines enabled, as opposed to the GT 9800M with only 112 pipelines produced in a 65nm process.
Hybrid Power makes an appearance on the GTX 280M as well, but with much improved performance. Switch times on the graphics card now completes in just a fraction of a second, compared to a full 7 seconds on the 9800M GTX,
As with all DirectX 10 graphics cards, the GeForce GTX 280M renders 3D images using "Unified Shaders". Dedicated pixel and vertex shaders of yesteryear are gone in favor of 128 stream processors running at 1250MHz on the GTX 280M. The stream processors handle all of the workload that would have otherwise been processed by pixel or vertex shaders. VRAM can be up to 1024 MB GDDR3 clocked at either 800MHz (on MXM2 boards) or 950MHz (on MXM3 boards).
Due to the full 128 shader cores, the GTX 280M is about 10-25% faster than the older 9800M GTX and slightly faster than the 260M. Compared to the performance of the Mobility Radeon HD 4870, the GTX 280M is about equal in synthetic benchmarks, if not slightly lower. The Nvidia card, however, has proven to be slightly faster in games, so the GTX 280M can therefore be rated more highly in terms of real-life performance. Specifically, games with PhysX support (e.g., Mirrors Edge) can have significant performance advantages if PhysX effects are enabled.
Another feature of the GeForce GTX 280M is the integrated PureVideo HD video processor. The card is able to assist the CPU in decoding of H.264-, VC-1-, MPEG2- and WMV9 video material.
HybridPower is a Windows Vista-only technique used to switch between the integrated (only with Nvidia chipset) and dedicated graphics cores for power-saving purposes. Eventually, Nvidia will have its future chips switch automatically between dedicated or integrated through drivers (now known as Optimus Technology). GeForceBoost is not supported with this card, as there would be no performance gain from combining the integrated GPU with the discrete video card.
A high power consumption of up to 75 Watts (including the VRAM and MXM board) means that only large notebooks with powerful (and possibly loud) cooling systems can run the GTX 280M.
The newer GTX 285M is based on the same core as the GTX 280M, but with only slightly altered clock rates. As a result, the performance of the GeForce GTX285M is very similar to the GTX 280M.
Compared with Desktop graphic cards, the performance can be considered somewhere in between the 9800 GT and the 9800 GTX, the latter of which has considerably higher clock rates at 675/1675/1100MHz.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M SLI► remove
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M SLI is a graphics solution that combines two Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M with an SLI connection. 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 each card take turns rendering a frame in an alternating manner. Therefore, the SLI solution may suffer from noticeable micro stuttering at frame-rates between 20-30 fps (due to display irregularities between each rendered frame).
Each of the two GeForce GTX 285M is based on the G92b core and is therefore produced in 55nm. It features the full 128 pipelines of the G92b core and is therefore comparable to the desktop 9800M GTX+ and not the desktop GTX 280.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 285M SLI in laptops with Core 2 Duo CPUs is bundled with the GeForce 9400M G chipset and therefore supports HybridPower (if the manufacturer enables it). With HybridPower, both GTX cards can be disabled and only the chipset graphics core can run, leading to improved battery life (and possibly less fan noise). Modern Core i7 laptops are using an Intel chipset and do not support HybridPower.
Since there are two GTX 285M cards active in SLI, the electrical current consumption and exhumed heat are about twice as much as what a single GTX 285M can produce. Due to the large power and cooling requirements, this SLI combination can only be found in large DTR laptops (like the Alienware M17x).
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M SLI||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M SLI|
|GeForce GTX 200M Series|
|Cores||224 - unified||128 - unified||256 - unified|
|Core||550 MHz||585 MHz||576 MHz|
|Shader||1375 MHz||1463 MHz||1500 MHz|
|Memory||950 MHz||950 MHz||1020 MHz|
|Bus||256 Bit||256 Bit||256 Bit|
|Max. Memory||2048 MB||1024 MB||2048 (2x1024) MB|
|DirectX||DirectX 10, 4.0||DirectX 10, 4.0||DirectX 10, 4.0|
|Transistors||1508 Million||754 Million||1508 Million|
|Technology||55 nm||55 nm||55 nm|
|Features||HybridPower, PureVideo HD, CUDA, PhysX ready||HybridPower, PureVideo HD, CUDA, PhysX ready||HybridPower, PureVideo HD, CUDA, PhysX ready|
|MXM 3||MXM 3||MXM 3|