Alienware's M18x, Part 1: NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M in SLIby Dustin Sklavos on October 3, 2011 11:50 AM EST
Before we even get to the results, I'll tell you right now...most of these are going to feel fairly academic. They do even to me. Gaming on a GPU in the class of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M or AMD Radeon HD 6970M/6990M honestly makes my desktop and its GeForce GTX 580 feel at least a little overkill. You really are dealing with desktop-level gaming performance at this point, and our results with the M18x will attest to that. With a 1080p maximum resolution (unless you use external displays), we can't strain the GPUs enough to really make them sweat.
You can see our "high" present isn't a big deal for even a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M, oftentimes allowing higher performance than the AMD Radeon HD 6970M even while stepping up the resolution one notch. There are also a few games where we start to hit CPU limits (e.g. DiRT 2 and StarCraft II), though for the most part there's still a separation between the 900p and 1080p SLI results. Not bad at all. Now let's make the SLI work for its supper.
At our "ultra" preset it's really going to depend on the games you play. For games like Metro 2033 or STALKER, the extra GPU means the difference between a smooth gaming experience and a stuttering slideshow. Other games however already have largely enough power on tap, and the GTX 580M for the most part surpasses a Radeon HD 6970M that was still perfectly fine. Meanwhile, CrossFired 6970Ms and SLI'ed GTX 580Ms trade blows at the top of the charts and Left 4 Dead 2 and DiRT 2 seem to be largely CPU limited on the slower i7s.