Gaming Performance

Since this is our first experience with Kepler, we ran the GeForce GT 640M through its paces at each of our presets despite the internal panel of the Acer TimelineU M3 only running at 1366x768. In the process we ran into a bug with Battlefield 3, though, where that game would crash every time we tried to change video settings in-game with a secondary screen connected. As a result we only have Battlefield 3 results at our "Value" preset.

Unfortunately we're also pretty shy on results of notebooks using our current gaming benchmarks, so for now these charts are going to feel a little spare. Thankfully, the most interesting comparison (that between the GTX 560M and the GT 640M) is something we can definitely provide.

Batman: Arkham City - Value

Battlefield 3 - Value

Civilization V - Value

DiRT 3 - Value

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Value

Portal 2 - Value

Total War: Shogun 2 - Value

The 640M produces reasonable performance in each game. Given how it's tough to gauge just what clocks the 640M is running at and how little we can reveal about what we know of Kepler, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly what the bottleneck might be. It's entirely possible that at the Value preset is CPU-limited between the ASUS and Acer, while the 6650M in the Sony Vaio Z2 is likely bandwidth limited due to being used on a Thunderbolt connection and thus reduced to PCIe x4 speeds.

Batman: Arkham City - Mainstream

Civilization V - Mainstream

DiRT 3 - Mainstream

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - Mainstream

Portal 2 - Mainstream

Total War: Shogun 2 - Mainstream

I'll take it as a point of pride that NVIDIA uses almost all of our benchmarks in their reviewer's guide, but what's interesting is that all of our results here are actually a touch higher than what we were told to expect. At 1600x900 the GT 640M is undoubtedly feeling the pinch from the 128-bit DDR3 memory bus, but it still holds its own. This is about the highest resolution you could conceivably want to run this GPU at, at least without GDDR5 (which the 640M does support).

Batman: Arkham City - Enthusiast

Civilization V - Enthusiast

DiRT 3 - Enthusiast

Portal 2 - Enthusiast

Total War: Shogun 2 - Enthusiast

I've never seen a GPU with a 128-bit memory bus and DDR3 memory acquit itself particularly well at 1080p, and NVIDIA isn't about to change that with the GT 640M in the Acer TimelineU. At this point the chip's limited memory bandwidth is just plain overwhelmed and can't keep up, shader power be damned.

With all that information now on the table, it's reasonable to say the GT 640M is definitely a powerful GPU and certainly a step forward from the Fermi-based GT 540M. At 768p, even a DDR3-equipped 640M is undoubtedly going to provide the excellent gaming experience that NVIDIA promises, but anywhere beyond that is still going to require more memory bandwidth, full stop. There's only so much one can do with the die before having to make that concession, and I feel like the 640M needs GDDR5 to really shine.

Application and Futuremark Performance Battery, Heat, and Screen Performance
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  • trajan2448 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    For me thats a hassle. Reply
  • trajan2448 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Im traveling internationally and its much easier to buy a disc. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I would have thought that it was a hassle carrying around a few DVDs on your travels. Also, you can just rip it as an .iso or .img and VLC usually plays it just fine, no need to encode it. Little 64GB USB stick (they go cheap these days) and you have 8 or 10 movies with you at all times. But, your call of course. :D Reply
  • MichaelD - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    It's b/c PC manufacturer's (Apple not included here) continue to put out so-so products like this, that I've been sticking with Netbooks for the past three years. Six years ago I had an Acer laptop. It was top of the line for back then. It still works. It has a real touchpad and two separate mouse buttons. The screen is washed-out now, but back then it was vibrant and responsive. As someone above stated "The touchpad and screen on a laptop are EVERYTHING. If those two suck, then the laptop sucks." I couldn't agree more. I'll stick with my Netbook for now. Reply
  • chrnochime - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    When is the embargo going to be lifted? Just waiting to find out if it's worth waiting for the GK104 or go with 7870. Reply
  • bji - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Full stop, straight to the comments to enjoy some commiseration about the state of laptop screens. I never read an Anandtech notebook review article past the word "768p". Ever. If you want my readership and page clicks Anandtech you'll have to start shipping those substandard notebooks back and asking for something more worthwhile to review. Maybe the manufacturers will finally get the hint. Reply
  • fic2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Totally agree. I think any laptop "reviews" with a 768p screen should begin and end with the the sentence:

    Laptop XXX would have been reviewed but since it only has a 768p screen we did not feel it was worth our time to review and our readers time to read such a review.

    Recommendation: wait for higher resolution laptop screens.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    At that point we might as well just not review notebooks. The fact remains that 768p is the standard that has been forced upon consumers. All we can do is review what's available and continue haranguing manufacturers to fix the problem. Reply
  • Visual - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    No, you silly clueless writer.
    At that point, laptop manufacturers get a clue, and release a good product for a change.
    Review sites do have that kind of power, didn't you know?
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    And as a sidenote, how does boycotting us help change the industry? We've been actively campaigning for better screens in notebooks since we started reviewing notebooks, I'm not sure how not supporting us is going to help the situation. Reply

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