NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M: Kepler Goes Mobile

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary:  The new NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M offered best-of-class performance in almost every game test condition we threw at it, especially with current DX11 game titles like Batman, Metro 2033 and Lost Planet 2. In general, this new NVIDIA Kepler mobile GPU is about 20% faster than their previous generation midrange performance mobile device, the GeForce GT 555M. In addition, power efficiency versus the previous gen architecture was significantly better.

Two amigos ready for action...

NVIDIA's new Kepler GPU architecture is a resounding success both in terms of their desktop offering and, as we've come to find out here, their mobile graphics solutions as well.  It wasn't long ago that AMD took the wraps off their 28nm Tahiti offering, but it looks as if NVIDIA is lined up to trump that firmly with their 28nm Kepler architecture.  Furthermore, though we don't yet have AMD Tahiti-based mobile solutions to compare to as of yet, if you consider Kepler's significant advantages in power consumption on the desktop, we can almost be assured that the competitive mobile landscape will lay out similarly between the two from a performance-per-watt standpoint.  In short, there's no two ways about it, everything is coming up roses here for team green this spring.

We only wish there were more notebook product offerings to choose from at this point, with Kepler under the hood.  NVIDIA is claiming several design wins with Asus, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba and Vizio at this point in time, for various GPUs throughout their GeForce 600M lineup.  If the company is able to get them to market soon, beating Intel's next generation Ivy Bridge integrated offering by a wide enough window, it could bode well for the company on a number of fronts, including the bottom line.  NVIDIA's notes: "GeForce GPUs put the ’ultra’ in Ultrabooks.  We expect numerous Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabooks with GeForce GPUs to be available in the first half of 2012. The GeForce GT 640M can be found in the Acer Aspire M3-581TG Sandy Bridge-based Ultrabook now." 

And of course Intel's Ivy Bridge sports an integrated graphics solution, so comparing the two is a bit of an apples and oranges view anyway.  We would not expect Intel to be able to pull off discrete graphics-level performance but that, we suppose, remains to be seen.

Regardless of the timing, NVIDIA's mobile Kepler solution is here and now, with Acer's machine already shipping.  We would expect more design wins to fall NVIDIA's way in the not so distant future.  For gaming notebooks, high-end utltrabooks and mainstream multimedia laptops, Kepler is a no-brainer and a hands-down Editor's Choice.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M Mobile Graphics

  • Great performance-per-watt
  • NVIDIA Optimus switching enabled
  • Leading-edge DX11 support
  • Fits in the thermal/power envelope of an ultralight notebook
  • Total solution cost still very competitive at $799 MSRP for the Acer Timeline Ultra M3
  • Quiet even under heavy gaming workloads
  • Driver optimization still a work in progress
  • Current design-wins announced but not shipping just yet
  • Ivy Bridge around the corner

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