Conclusion: Bring On the GeForce 600Ms

While there's a decent amount of the kind of branding chicanery we've come to really dislike in the 600M series, we have a feeling most of those rebranded chips are going to wind up being brushed aside. They're not liable to be as profitable as the 28nm GPUs once yields get up there, making them less compelling for NVIDIA to sell, and they're holdovers in terms of thermal requirements that are liable to be less compelling for OEMs. In fact, without giving too much away, the list of OEM wins in our reviewer's guide that are under embargo pretty much confirms it: the bulk of the systems on our list are using the 640M on up.

Of course, what's really telling is what's missing from the list: a GeForce GTX 680M. It's tough to complain too much about the GeForce GTX 580M getting a second wind as the GTX 675M (naming shenanigans notwithstanding); the top end of mobile graphics has actually been pretty healthy since the GeForce GTX 485M and AMD Radeon HD 6950M launched. But given that the Kepler-based GK107 powering a good chunk of the 600M series possesses only a quarter of the shader power of its big brother, we expect another Kepler GPU will fill in the gap.

At the same time, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a cut down GK104 to materialize as the GTX 680M; the desktop GTX 680 only has a TDP of 195 watts, and some careful binning and pruning of clocks (keep in mind that the desktop card is running the GPU at 1GHz and the power-hungry GDDR5 at a staggering 6GHz) could theoretically produce a competitive top-end notebook GPU. It wouldn't be unheard of; NVIDIA's crammed cut down GF100/GF110 Fermi chips into notebooks with a 100W TDP, and the GTX 680 is already very close to that level. Give NVIDIA some time to make a bunch of money selling all the GTX 680 cards they can to early adopters and then we're likely to start seeing trickle down parts, including our presumed GTX 680M.

Regardless, we do have a pair of very compelling products on the table right now: the GK107 powering the GT 640M, 650M, and GTX 660M, and the 28nm replacement for GF108 at the bottom of the list. (Again, note that this isn't a straight die shrink as there are other changes.) We've already seen that the GeForce GT 640M can produce the kind of gaming experience NVIDIA claims in our own testing, and it stands to reason there's a decent amount of performance waiting to be unlocked by a jump to GDDR5 in higher-end parts, not to mention pairing the GPU with a faster Ivy Bridge (non-ULV) processor. Meanwhile, the 28nm Fermi part provides a substantial jump in performance for the bottom end of the list, allowing for a halfway decent replacement for the terminally awful GF119 (GT 520M/520MX) that's taken up residence in a few popular notebooks.

All that remains to be seen is how AMD is going to respond. With the low idle power draw of the Southern Islands chips, AMD at least has some of the pieces in place, but they really need something that competes directly with Optimus—not just on the switching technology, but on reference driver updates as well. Meanwhile, Turks is already getting long in the tooth and would likely need a die shrink to stay competitive with the 600M series. That's before we even talk about the abnormally popular 6400M series, which will hopefully just be obsoleted entirely by both Ivy Bridge's IGP and the GeForce GT 620M. But Cape Verde and Pitcairn both bode well for the mobile market; the 7750's 55W TDP makes it an excellent candidate for mobile deployment, while Pitcairn can have its clocks shaved just enough to make a formidable top-end notebook GPU. Either way, with the entirety of the current Radeon HD 7000M series just being rebrands of the 6000M (all the way up to the 7690M), AMD will need to step their game up. Hopefully as we get closer to the Ivy Bridge launch we'll see what they have in store.

The NVIDIA GeForce 600M Lineup
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  • jigglywiggly - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    summary of article
    everything is rebadge except 680m
    except we dont know anything about it >.>
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Right. Except, none of the 28nm parts are rebadges, and only a few 40nm parts will have a 600M name (and will likely be short lived). Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Saturday, March 24, 2012 - link

    Summary last page large paragraph:
    Nvidia wins big.
    AMD is way behind, is still behind, going further behind. AMD needs to step up, especially with drivers.
    Reply
  • mentatstrategy - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    AMD never makes the best drivers for their hardware - you have to go 3rd party for better drivers... main reason I never bought AMD/ATI - you make good hardware but, you don't know how to make drivers for it? Nvidia FTW Reply
  • SInC26 - Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - link

    The GTX 680M, GTX 660M, GT 650M, GT 640M, GT 630M, and GT 620M are not rebadges.
    I'm personally looking forward to the GT 640M w/ GDDR5 in the Dell XPS 15 refresh.
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    the mobile chip marketing is so f'ed up it's not even funny.

    My only hope is a GTX 680M (not really a 680 of course) brings with it the new power efficiency we see in the 680GTX and at least boosts performance up a healthy 30% from a 580m would make it a winner in my book regardless of name BS.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    A huge mess, indeed. Fermis in 40 and 28 nm and Keplers, all named almost similar and (almost) none of them with hard specs. Yeah, sounds like one big family... Reply
  • Wreckage - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Optimus alone makes NVIDIA's mobile lineup superior to AMD. Until AMD can catch up, people should avoid their mobile chips Reply
  • Wolfpup - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Optimus and other switching technologies are horrible, and I wish Anandtech would quit pushing them. Driver weirdness, stability issues, worse performance....

    I and quite a number of others I know intentionally buy notebooks WITHOUT optimus.
    Reply
  • prdola0 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    This is totally false. Where did you see that Optimus would have performance reduced by ANY amount? There is no such thing. Optimus does not reduce performance. There is also no driver weirdness and stability issues. Where did you get that? I've been working with an Optimus system for more than a year now and the performance was flawless. Reply

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