While our recent review of the Alienware M17x R3 proved you could have a gaming notebook that was still capable of halfway decent battery life, the hybrid solution found in that machine was more the exception than the rule. NVIDIA is refreshing their mobile high end, and while that's mostly newsworthy on its own, the big improvement is Optimus support for every part in the GeForce 500M series, from top to bottom. That includes the king of the hill, the (slightly) new GeForce GTX 580M.

The recent refresh of the GeForce GTX 460M into the 560M was a welcome one, bringing Optimus support and higher clocks to what's liable to be their crown prince of budget mobile gaming. The GTX 560M is beginning to materialize in the market, but we were still left with an odd hole in NVIDIA's lineup at the top. That hole has now been filled, and thankfully it's at least a little more than the usual speedbump that goes along with a new moniker these days. Now every part in the 500M series can switch over to Sandy Bridge's integrated graphics while running on the battery, offering the best of both worlds.

  GTX 580M GTX 485M GTX 570M GTX 560M
Stream Processors 384 384 336 192
Texture Address / Filtering 64/64 64/64 56/56 32/32
ROPs 32 32 24 24
Core Clock 620MHz 575MHz 575MHz 775Mhz
Shader Clock 1240MHz 1150MHz 1150MHz 1550MHz
Memory Clock 750MHz (3GHz data rate) GDDR5 750MHz (3GHz data rate) GDDR5 750MHz (3GHz data rate) GDDR5 625MHz (2.5GHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit 128/192-bit
Frame Buffer Up to 2GB Up to 2GB 1.5GB/3GB 1.5GB/2GB
Transistor Count 1.95B 1.95B 1.95B 1.17B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Optimus Y N Y Y

NVIDIA's new top dog is the GeForce GTX 580M. Every spec on the press sheets is listed as "up to," but that's really par for the course. While NVIDIA's reps declined to comment on what chips are being used for the GTX 580M, you'll find the specs are a dead giveaway. The 580M seems to be a mobile version of the GF104/114 (more likely GF114), with 384 CUDA cores, with a main clock of 620MHz (yielding 1240MHz on the shader cores). Riding shotgun is a 256-bit memory bus supporting up to 2GB of GDDR5 clocked at an effective 3GHz. Those of you keeping score at home will note that's an improvement of 45MHz on the core (and thus 90MHz on the shaders), with the memory speed remaining constant. All told I'd expect performance in the neighborhood of the desktop GeForce GTX 460 1GB version (or at least, the original NVIDIA spec): not too shabby, but still an incremental improvement on the shipping GTX 485M. The major selling point is, again, Optimus support in the 580M.

On the heels of the GTX 580M is the GeForce GTX 570M. The 470M was a bit of an oddity in that while the 480M and 485M were easy enough to find, the 470M was largely a rarity. While the 580M sees the minor speedbump we've come to expect, the 570M is a major improvement over its seldom-used predecessor. The 570M likely uses the same silicon as the 580M (which is, again, more than likely a GF114), but while the 470M only had 288 CUDA cores, the 570M gets a healthy upgrade to 336. The 470M's 535MHz core clock also sees a boost to 575MHz, with the shaders clocked at 1150MHz. The 570M still retains the 470M's 192-bit memory bus, and will be configured with either 1.5GB or 3GB of GDDR5 clocked at an effective 3GHz, a marked improvement on the 470M's 2.5GHz memory clocks. All told performance should be somewhere between the desktop GeForce GTX 460 768MB and the GTX 460 SE. For mobile gaming, that's still not bad at all, and again it benefits from Optimus support.

NVIDIA also was able to point out specific models of notebooks that will be shipping with these parts. Availability in 17" Clevo notebooks should surprise no one, with the P270WN in particular supporting both 3D Vision and SLI'd GeForce GTX 580M's. Alienware's new M18x (which we have en route for review) will also be supporting the GeForce GTX 580M in SLI. And finally, the MSI GT780R shown above will be shipping with the GeForce GTX 570M.

NVIDIA expects notebooks featuring the new GPUs to be available for order from OEMs today.

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  • Wolfpup - Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - link

    It hurts compatibility, performance, etc. I do not want it. I'm actively avoiding systems with it. I will not touch Dell because they use it.

    Seems bizarre for Anandtech to be advocating this. Seems like the most bizarre thing they've advocated in the entire 10+ years I've been reading the site.
  • seapeople - Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - link

    Well, the reason Anandtech keeps presenting Optimus as a positive is because Optimus is actually pretty useful for all those people who want to play games on their laptop but don't want a 20W idling GPU sucking down their 8-cell 90 kWh battery before they can watch a movie in the car.

    "Honey, you just spent $2000 on that giant laptop, right?"


    "Then why can't I use it to watch Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice in the car when we go on a trip?"

    "Um... er... well... it gives 65.2 FPS on Starcraft II on Ultra Gamer setting in 1080p with 4x antialiasing!"

    "So what you're telling me is that we will be sending it back and getting that $500 laptop at Best Buy, right?"

    "Yes Dear."
  • Hrel - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    If you can't recognize how great optimus is, then you should probably ignore laptops all together and just own a desktop; and maybe a tablet or smartphone.
  • Hrel - Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - link

    I remember the GTX560M article... you said most laptops with that GPU don't even support Optimus; despite the capability.

    Do you know if the Clevo P151HM specifically, like the one sold on cyberpowerpc.com, supports Optimus now or not?

    I'm also curious about a HP 1080p 15" laptop with a HD6770 GPU that claims it supports GPU switching. Lots of comments online say there are issues. HP said they are aware of it and working on it, when I asked them about it. It'd be great if you guys could get a unit of that model in for review.
  • Bolas - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Ok... so... Nvidia's press release states that the Nvidia GTX 580m supports 3D Vision.

    I call BS.

    Show me any laptop from any supplier that has an Nvidia GTX 580m with a 120Hz display.

    You can't do it. Nobody offers such a system.

    Alienware won't let you configure that. Sager won't let you configure that. Nobody else even offers the GTX 580m graphics card that I have seen.

    Nvidia? How do I use the GTX 580M's alleged 3D Vision? Anyone?
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