NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M SLI vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M SLI
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M SLI► remove
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M SLI consists of two high end DirectX 11 capable Geforce GTX460M cards connected with an SLI bridge. Therefore, it offers 2x 192 cores of the GF106 chip. Due to the alternating frame rendering (AFR), the SLI solution may suffer from micro stuttering in low fps ranges (around 30fps). Furthermore, the 2x1536 MB GDDR5 cant be added together as each card uses the same date in the graphics memory.
The GF106 core of the GTX 460M is related to the GF100 core of the GeFore GTX 480M and offers 192 shaders and a 192 Bit memory bus for GDDR5. Except for the memory controllers, the GF106 can basically be considered a halved GF104. Therefore, the architecture is not comparable to the old GT215 (e.g., GeForce GTS 350M) or GT216 (e.g., GeForce GT 330M) cores.
Unlike the GF100, the smaller GF104, GF106, and GF108 cores have all been shortened and considerably modified. In contrast to the GF100, which was designed for professional applications, these GF10x chips target the consumer market. They feature more shaders (3x16 instead of 2x16), more texture units (8 instead of 4) and SFUs per streaming multi-processor (SM).
As there are still only 2 warp schedulers (versus 3 shader groups), Nvidia now uses superscalar execution to use the higher amount of shaders per SM more efficiently. In theory, the shaders can thereby be utilized more efficiently and the performance per core should be improved. However, in worst case scenarios the performance can also be worse than of the GF100 (and its predecessors). The ECC memory protection, which is important for professional applications, was completely omitted and the FP64 hardware shortened (only 1/3 of the shaders are FP64-capable and thereby only 1/12 of the FP32’s performance). Because of these cutbacks, the size of the SM grew only by 25% despite the higher number of shaders and larger warp schedulers with superscalar dispatch capabilities. Due to the different shader architectures and the higher clock rate of the shader domain, the core count can not be directly compared to AMD cores of the Radeon 5000 series (e.g. HD 5850).
Detailed information on the GF104 architecture (and by extension the GF106 and GF108) can be found in the desktop GTX 460 article by Anandtech.
The SLI performance with the current drivers (mid 2010) should be about 15-20% faster than a single GTX 460M in high settings and resolutions. Therefore, all current games (as of 2011) should run fluently in highest detail settings with antialiasing and Full HD resolution, with the exception of Metro 2033 and Crysis.
A novelty of the GF104/106/108 chips is the support for Bitstream HD Audio (Blu-Ray) output via HDMI. Similar to the Radeon HD 5850, the GTX 460M can transfer Dolby True HD and DTS-HD bitstream-wise without quality loss to a HiFi receiver.
The GTX460M offers the PureVideo HD technology for video decoding. The included 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). The X500 tester was able to decode the VC-1 encoded Elephants Dream video with about 3-6% CPU load (according to the task manager). The H.264 coded Big Buck Bunny video was played back with 1-3% CPU load (both 1080p videos).
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 GTX 460M can used for general calculations. For example, the stream processor can encode videos considerably faster than can many modern CPUs. Furthermore, physics calculations can be done by the GPU using PhysX (e.g. supported by Mafia 2 or Metro 2033). A single GTX 460M of the SLI combination can also be used for dedicated calculations.
According to Nvidia, support for 3D Vision on the GTX graphics cards is also enabled. It allows the laptop to send 3D content (3D games, 3D Web Streaming, 3D photos, 3D Blu-Rays) to a supported 3D enabled screen or an external 3D TV if compatible.
The power consumption of a single GeForce GTX 460M is supposedly about 72 Watts (TDP including the MXM board and memory). By extension, the GTX 460M SLI should use twice as much power. However, a single 460M in the SLI setup can be deactivated in the drivers to save power. If idle, each chip is clocked at 50/100 MHz and 200/400MHz (chip/shader) in 2D mode and 3D mode, respectively, to save power.
The similar desktop GeForce GTX 460 SLI is based on the GF104 chip and offers significantly more shader cores at 2x336 cores. Therefore, the desktop setup is significantly faster than the 460M SLI and even the 470M SLI graphics solutions.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M SLI► remove
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M SLI is a high-end graphics solution for laptops based on two GTX 480M graphics cards in SLI mode. Each card usually renders a single frame in an alternating manner. Therefore, it may suffer from micro stuttering in low fps ranges of 30fps. This happens because of different timespans between two frames (e.g. Irregular delays between sequential frames).
The GeForce GTX480M SLI supports the same features as a single GTX 480M card. A single card is based on the Fermi architecture. Therefore, it supports DirectX 11 and is produced in 40nm at TSMC. Featuring 352 cores, the GTX480M is similar to the desktop GTX 465 but features a lower clock rate. The GeForce GTX 480M is combined with 2 GB of fast GDDR5 graphics memory (dedicated) and the overall performance should be superior to the Mobility Radeon HD 5870.
The GF100 aka. Fermi chip was redesigned from scratch and features 3 billion transistors (with all 512 shaders). Compared to the desktop Radeon HD 5870 with 2.13 billion transistors or the Mobility Radeon HD 5870 (RV870) with 1.04 billion transistors, the GTX480M chipset is quite large.
The mobile Fermi chip is stripped down to 352 shader cores (1-dimensional) with 32 ROPs and 44 Texture Units. The memory bus is 256 bit wide, but due to the fast GDDR5 memory, this should not be a bottleneck. The power consumption is specified with 100 Watt TDP including the MXM board and the 2 GB GDDR5. AMD usually specifies the TDP of the chip alone, therefore this value is not directly comparable. Still, the GTX 480M is only suited for very large DTR laptops with a good cooling system. Originally, only Clevo sold 17" (D901F) and 18" (X8100) barebone systems.
The fast performance of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M SLI is marginally better than two ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 in Crossfire Mode (CF), partly because of the superior driver support from Nvidia. This means the GTX 480M SLI was the fastest graphics solution for laptops at the time of arrival (2010-06). It allows the user to play all current games in high resolutions and detail settings with Antialiasing activated. Only Metro 2033 and Crysis have to run at lower settings (see below).
Still, in some games the performance gain from SLI may be very small or sometimes a single card may be even a bit faster (due to no SLI support and overhead). You can still disable SLI through the drivers in this case. In our gaming tests, a single 480M was about 16% (Starcraft 2) to 48% (Far Cry 2) slower than the SLI combination. Otherwise, most modern games run about 40% slower on the single card compared to the SLI setup. (see expandable gaming charts below). Due to the fast tessellation unit, upcoming DirectX 11 games may have an advantage over the AMD 5000 series.
Similar to the GeForce 300M series, the GeForce GTX 480M supports PureVideo HD with VideoProcessor 4 (VP4 with Feature Set C). As a result, the GPU is able to fully decode HD videos in H.254, VC-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 ASP. By using Flash 10.1 or later, the graphics card can also accelerate Flash videos, thus taking workload off of the CPU.
The rendering cores of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M can be used for general calculations by means of CUDA or DirectCompute. E.g., the encoding for HD videos can be done significantly faster by using the shader cores of the GPUs rather than using most modern CPUs. PhysX is also supported by the mobile Fermi to calculate physics effects in supported games. Furthermore, a single GTX480M can be used to calculate PhysX while the other card renders the game.
Compared to desktop GPUs, the Geforce GTX 480M is comparable to an underclocked Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 SLI combination (607/1200 clock speed).
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M SLI||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M SLI|
|GeForce GTX 400M Series|
|384 -||704 -|
|Core||675 MHz||425 MHz|
|Shader||1350 MHz||850 MHz|
|Memory||1250 MHz||1200 MHz|
|Bus||192 Bit||256 Bit|
|Max. Memory||2x1536 MB||4096 MB|
|DirectX||DirectX 11, 5.0||DirectX 11, 5.0|
|Technology||40 nm||40 nm|
|Features||Optimus Support, PureVideo HD VP4, 3D Vision, Bitstream HD Audio, CUDA, DirectCompute, OpenCL, OpenGL 4.0, DirectX 11, SLI Supported|