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).

GeForce GTX 400M Series
GeForce GTX 485M SLI (compare) 768 @ 575 MHz256 Bit @ 1500 MHz
GeForce GTX 470M SLI (compare) 576 @ 535 MHz192 Bit @ 1250 MHz
GeForce GTX 480M SLI 704 @ 425 MHz256 Bit @ 1200 MHz
GeForce GTX 460M SLI (compare) 384 @ 675 MHz192 Bit @ 1250 MHz
GeForce GTX 485M (compare) 384 @ 575 MHz256 Bit @ 1500 MHz
GeForce GTX 470M (compare) 288 @ 535 MHz192 Bit @ 1250 MHz
GeForce GTX 480M (compare) 352 @ 425 MHz256 Bit @ 1200 MHz
GeForce GTX 460M (compare) 192 @ 675 MHz192 Bit @ 1250 MHz
Pipelines704 - unified
Core Speed425 MHz
Shader Speed850 MHz
Memory Speed1200 MHz
Memory Bus Width256 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory4096 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 11, Shader 5.0
Transistor Count6000 Million
technology40 nm
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement25.05.2010
Link to Manufacturer Page


3DMark Vantage
P Result 1280x1024 +
P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024 +
3DMark 03 - Standard 1024x768
75704 Points (40%)
3DMark 05 - Standard 1024x768
28423 Points (54%)
3DMark 06 Standard 1280x1024 +
SPECviewperf 11
Siemens NX 1920x1080 +
Tcvis 1920x1080 +
SolidWorks 1920x1080 +
Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080 +
Maya 1920x1080 +
Lightwave 1920x1080 +
Ensight 1920x1080 +
Catia 1920x1080 +
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.

Mafia 2

Mafia 2

low 800x600
124.7  fps    + Compare
med. 1024x768
113.2  fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
105.8  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
75.8  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 1024x768
279.6  fps    + Compare
med. 1360x768
74.9  fps    + Compare
high 1360x768
64.6  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
42.5  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 800x600
134.4 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1360x768
106.8 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1600x900
61.1 fps  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
23.1 fps  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings high.
low 1024x768
151.6 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1366x768
134.4 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
110.6 fps  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
64.7 fps  fps    + Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
low 800x600
277.5 fps  fps    + Compare
med. 1024x768
148 fps  fps    + Compare
high 1366x768
129.1 fps  fps    + Compare
ultra 1920x1080
90.3 fps  fps    + Compare