NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M

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.


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.


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.

GeForce GT 500M Series
GeForce GT 555M (compare) 144 @ 525 - 753 (Boost) MHz128/192 Bit @ 785-900 MHz
GeForce GT 550M (compare) 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
Pipelines96 - unified
Core Speed672 MHz
Shader Speed1344 MHz
Memory Speed900 MHz
Memory Bus Width128 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5, DDR3
Max. Amount of Memory1536 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 11, Shader 5.0
technology40 nm
FeaturesOptimus Support, PureVideo HD VP4, 3D Vision, 3DTV Play, Bitstream HD Audio, CUDA, DirectCompute, OpenCL, OpenGL 4.0, DirectX 11
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement06.01.2011


3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
min: 944     avg: 992.8     median: 989 (3%)     max: 1086 points
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
min: 849     avg: 892     median: 888 (2%)     max: 971 points
3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 +
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark 2001SE - Standard 1024x768
min: 13773     avg: 28170     median: 32969 (34%)     max: 32969 Points
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
min: 19645     avg: 20669.8     median: 20701 (11%)     max: 21476 Points
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
min: 13276     avg: 15283.8     median: 15658 (29%)     max: 16166 Points
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 +
Unigine Heaven 2.1 - high, Tesselation (normal), DirectX11 1280x1024
min: 13     avg: 13.5     median: 13 (6%)     max: 14 fps
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
Windows 7 Experience Index - Gaming graphics
min: 5     avg: 6.5     median: 6 (86%)     max: 6 points
Windows 7 Experience Index - Graphics
min: 4     avg: 5.6     median: 5 (71%)     max: 6 points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit +
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit +
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card
* Smaller numbers mean a higher performance

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailed information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

Anno 2070

Anno 2070

low 1024x768
77.8 fps 84 ~ 81 fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
31 fps 34 ~ 33 fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
19.4 fps 21 ~ 20 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
9.6  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.
low 1280x720
38 44.3 fps ~ 41 fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
25 31.9 fps ~ 28 fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
17 21 fps ~ 19 fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
12  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings low.
low 1024x768
35 36.5 fps ~ 36 fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
23 23.7 fps ~ 23 fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
17.6 fps 18 ~ 18 fps    + Compare
» With most tested laptops playable in detail settings low.
Fifa 12

Fifa 12

low 800x600
248.1 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1024x768
137.1 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
102.2 fps