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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  • Bols - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    ...to light up the comment panel with frustration over the screen resolution. 768p on an otherwise premium notebook is ridiculous. With a 15" form factor it is a complete disgrace.
    Let's hope apple sets the standard with a 2880x1800 macbook soon...and the rest of the world will follow.
    Reply
  • Frallan - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link


    Aye for once Im happy that there is an "i-wave" rolling over the world. The new i-pad has waaaay better resolution than this notebook. Its time to shape up or ship out for the companies that keep cramming crap screens into otherwise decent hardware.

    Was a very interesting aticle though especially as it seems as if there are going to be new mobile chips coming from nVidia soon and AMD will have to follow.

    /F
    Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, May 16, 2013 - link

    "The new i-pad has waaaay better resolution than this notebook."
    OMG! Have you truly been taken in by the marketing? Yep. That high resolution ipad has increased DPI which means it might as well be 1280x720 when you actually want 'working' space.
    Reply
  • Confusador - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Agreed wholeheartedly, though it's worth noting that this machine can't even keep up with its direct competitors. I don't know what it's going to take to get typical buyers to care about this, but maybe Apple ca do it. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    It's wholly acceptable on an 11-12" format, borderline unacceptable in a 13.3" chassis, and ridiculous to have 1366x768 on a 15.6" format. No other way to put it. Reply
  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I would argue that the new iPad has proven that it is completely unacceptable even in a 10-12" format. If a $500 iPad can have a high quality, high resolution screen, there is no reason a $2000+ high end ultraportable notebook cannot. I'm talking to you, Lenovo. Reply
  • noeldillabough - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I have to agree with you, while I LOVE my X220, the 768p screen is a sore spot. Its beautiful, IPS clear etc, but not enough pixels.

    Next machine will be a high res 12" laptop with an ivy bridge and HD4000 graphics (discrete graphics cards on laptops are on their way out)
    Reply
  • kkwst2 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Yes, it is actually what keeps me in the T series rather than the X series. While the X panels are much higher quality, I can't work effectively with the pixel count.

    Hoping for over 1000 vertical pixels in an X series notebook within a year.
    Reply
  • JojoKracko - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I'd second this, but I'd be talking to Alienware, whatever fool is still putting glossy crap screens in the new Asus G75, and MSI as well.

    A $1500 or more gaming laptop SHOULD REALLY HAVE A GOOD SCREEN when the top quality parts only add $100 to the total price.

    Make it a frickin' option at least and see what kind of response you get. And I mean a REAL OPTION. Allow it to be added to the BASE MODEL, not ONLY TO THE $2500 version. Yeah, I'm talking to you fAlienware!!!

    fAlienware LOL. WHY have I not seen it written like this before?!?
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Hell - my old 15" laptop from 2005 had a 1280 x 800 screen. I'd take the extra 34 pixels over this 768p crap. Reply

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