Nvidia has just taken the lid of the most powerful mobile GPU to date–the GeForce GTX 580M. The company has also announced that the 17-inch Alienware M17x as well as the 18-inch Alienware M18x will be available with this graphics card in a presumably near future–the M17x with one 580M and the M18x with an option for dual 580M’s in SLI, which would solidify its position as the “most powerful 18-inch gaming laptop in the universe”.
They have also seen fit to release a video showing off the power of two GTX 580M’s in SLI, running Crysis 2 in all its DX11-updated glory, with hi-res textures, 1080p resolution and the details set to “Ultra” (you can blow up this YouTube clip to 1080p):
Nvidia simultaneously releases the GTX 570M, which replaces the (very rare) GTX 470M and improves performance by about 20% compared to its predecessor. Both of the new GPUs will of course support all the existing Nvidia inventions, including 3D Vision, PhysX and the power-saving/graphics-switching Optimus technology. In addition, Nvidia claims improvements in power efficiency; performance per Watt has been increased by 20% in the new cards.
Here’s a quick comparison chart to get an overview of what separates the GTX 580M vs. the GTX 485M that it replaces, as well as the 570M vs. the 470M in terms of specifications:
Except for the clock speeds, it’s hard to see much difference between the cards just from looking at the specs. One noteworthy difference is that the number of shaders/CUDA cores is higher in the 570M. On the other hand a comparison to the 470M is essentially useless, since that card was barely used. Hopefully the newer version will find its way into some new laptops, especially if it comes at a competitive price point versus the GTX 580M. There’s no risk of the 580M being affordable, let alone two of them.
Another difference that you can’t see in the specs is Nvidia’s alleged power optimization. If the new GPUs can really deliver better performance per Watt (and we’ll take Nvidia’s word for it), then the overclocking potential should also be better in theory. So while overclocking your 485M to the same clocks is almost certainly doable, its successor might go even higher when put to the test (all of this is just speculation, obviously).
Other than the Alienware M17x and M18x, another candidate that has been mentioned for the fastest GPU so far is Clevo–the ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) that delivers barebones to Origin PC and Sager among others, so Dell will likely get some competition before long. Another machine that has been mentioned as a candidate for the GTX 570M is the new MSI GT780R (thanks again, Chatmort).