The mobile market has been the focus of the PC industry for more than a decade now and it continues to be what several technology companies develop products for first. Companies like Intel and Nvidia have long abandoned designing products only for the desktop and making another scratch design for the mobile space, and now Nvidia is ready to add in yet another chapter in their mobile success story. Today, the company announced the Maxwell-based versions of the Geforce GTX 960M and GTX 950M, among others in their budget mobile lineup. Hit the jump for more deets.
Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M and GTX 950M mobile graphics
Geforce GTX 960M
Geforce GTX 950M
5.0GHz DDR5, 2.0GHz DDR3
80GB/s DDR5, 32GB/s DDR5
Memory bus width
Up to 4GB
Up to 4GB
The product reveal today really only focused on these two GPUs and they are the ones that will dominate most of the options in the Laptop Buyer’s Guide in three month’s time in the mid-range segment. Both the GTX 960M and 950M are identical internally, with both sporting 640 CUDA cores, support for GPU Boost, the full list of DirectX 12 features, support for external G-Sync monitors through the use of Displayport and, eventually, support for overclocking. These will go into slim ultrabooks and desktop replacement notebooks, as well as a few 17-inchers depending on how silly the notebook vendors get with their designs. Being based on GM107, these cards are the mobile cousins of the desktop GTX 750, so that’s as good an indicator as any where performance should lie.
The GTX 950M is the one you don’t want if its the version with DDR3 memory. Bandwidth gets more than chopped in half with that model and chances are that a lot of vendors will opt for the DDR3 version and save the mid-range market for the GTX 960M, which means that it will be yet another minefield of options that you and I will have to wade through to find something that isn’t crap. Both cards have a 128-bit wide memory bus and both are rated for a 75W TDP, although that figure may just be Nvidia overstating how much cooling they expect notebook vendors to employ inside their chassis. If the GTX 960 is anything to go by, most of the time these chips can be run passively with the fan only kicking on for demanding workloads.
Nvidia also mentioned three other cards today – the Geforce GT 940M, 930M and 920M trio. These cards will all be based on the Maxwell architecture, will support all DirectX 12 features and will all ship with DDR3 and presumably 64-bit wide memory buses. Nvidia claims that the GT 920M is about three times as powerful as Intel’s HD4400 mobile graphics processor, but that isn’t saying much considering that you still have to stick to 720p and low-to-medium settings to maintain playability in any modern games. It is not known if any of these chips will support Nvidia’s Optimus switching technology, but at this stage I think its safe to say that Intel still has them beat in terms of power efficiency overall.
Nvidia says that the new GPU models are available “immediately” but I’m left to assume that they mean only in the US, Canada and Europe. If any notebooks with these chips are here in time for my next Laptop Buyers Guide, I’ll be really surprised.