Those of you in the market for an Alienware M17x R3 or M18x (and if you're looking for a gaming notebook, you should really be considering the M17x R3), NVIDIA has some great news for you. The GeForce GTX 580M, which in our testing competes with the AMD Radeon HD 6990M as the fastest mobile GPU on the market (and tends to split the difference), has received a drastic price cut over at Alienware that suddenly makes it much, much more competitive.

Where before it was hard to justify the upgrade due to the outrageous $300+ premium for the GTX 580M, Alienware is now selling it at just $75 more than the 6990M in the M17x R3. That change in price also lines up with the M18x, where a pair of GTX 580Ms in SLI is $150 more than a pair of 6990Ms in CrossFire. The two solutions are essentially still neck and neck, but if you have need for CUDA support (like in Adobe Premiere CS5.5), want to enjoy PhysX (for Batman: Arkham City), or would rather use Optimus than manual graphics switching, the 580M is now a much more reasonable option.

Unfortunately this seems to apply only to Alienware; boutiques offering Clevo-based systems seem to still be dealing with the old pricing, which places an unreasonable premium on the GTX 580M. So if you're shopping those, it looks like your best bet is still going to be the AMD Radeon HD 6990M.

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  • Glibous - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Sounds like Nvidia is really becoming competitive in the mobile space regarding price. The one major element AMD had an advantage in. I wonder if Optimus works in SLI yet. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    No Optimus for SLI; I'm not sure if NVIDIA is even pursuing that at all, as SLI in notebooks is a pretty small market and results in very heavy systems. We'll see, I suppose. Reply
  • GoodBytes - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Agree with JarredWalton.
    Also, people with SLI seek maximum gaming performance, Optimus kills the system bus access (as it puts all it's done in the memory section of the Intel GPU), which mean a nice reduction in CPU performance.

    I think, that Optimus is great for med-low range GPU's.
    Reply
  • PellyNVIDIA - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Actually, Optimus does not kill the system bus access. In fact, you can benchmark a GeForce GTX 580M (flagship GPU) with and without Optimus and you'll find no difference! Optimus is an ideal technology for entry-level GPUs all the way up to the fastest GPU on the planet. With the GeForce GTX 580M and Optimus, systems like the Alienware M17x R3 are able to get over 5hrs of battery life (and offer absolutely phenomenal performance).

    For a full description of how Optimus works, you can read the Optimus whitepaper I wrote back when we launched the technology.

    www.nvidia.com/object/LO_optimus_whitepapers.html

    With thanks,

    Sean Pelletier
    Senior Technical Marketing Manager - Notebooks
    NVIDIA
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    I can actually corroborate Pelly's statement. Anecdotally I've found no perceptible performance difference between a GTX 580M with Optimus and without it. Reply
  • tviceman - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    It's been rumored over the past few months that Nvidia was die shrinking it's Fermi mobile offerings, and a large price cut might signal that they are now trying to clear existing inventory for upcoming parts. I know this is just a theory based on a rumor, but if they are coming out with new mobile parts soon, then a price cut for current stock is indicative of that. Reply
  • Hrel - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    Charging 475 instead of 675 for a 200 dollar GPU isn't a price cut. That's like saying you shot someone 75 times instead of NUKING them and somehow they're less dead now. No, FUCK YOU Nvidia, drop your fucking profit margins so GPU's on laptops are reasonable. The GTX560M (which I have btw) performs like a 90 dollar graphics card. Now, I can understand SOME price premium for laptop parts, (even though there's less to them (no pcb or fan or massive heatsink) AND even though now-a-days they're higher volume) but seriously, the GTX560m should cost AT THE MOST, THE MOST I SAY, 150. Yet everywhere I see it as an add on it's much much more than that. I haven't even seen a 150 add on, meaning there's the profit already there, PLUS more than 150.

    I'm just getting exhausted with the price gauging bullshit. I make good money, but I also work in the industry. I know what this stuff actually costs, marketing, r and d, parts, labor, all of it. The margins on this stuff is criminal in almost all cases. It's like the RAM price gouging of the early 2000's. Fucking criminal.
    Reply
  • chinedooo - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    i think its because of supply and demand that the prices are so high. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, November 07, 2011 - link

    These are likely heavily binned GPUs, which means they are not as readily available. Selecting CPUs/GPUs for lower voltages and power characteristics and charging more for the best chips is no different from selecting chips for maximum clock speeds (e.g. "Extreme" CPUs). If you don't like the pricing of course, the best way to vote is to not buy the product. Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, November 08, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Making a 250 W chip sip only 50 - 75 W without crippling it is not exactly easy. Reply

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