Gaming: What the GTX 480M Should've Been

I don't make any effort to hide my disappointment with NVIDIA's misbegotten GeForce GTX 480M: trying to cram a chip that was already hot and inefficient by desktop standards into a notebook was ludicrous. Thankfully the era of the 480M has passed, and the era of the 485M is upon us. On paper the 485M is promising, with only AMD's Radeon HD 6970M to really oppose it. We'll be looking at a laptop with that chip soon enough, but it's unlikely to bridge the gap between HD 5870 and the GTX 485M.

At our "high" preset, the GeForce GTX 485M is able to handle all of our games at up to the P170HM's native resolution of 1080p with power to spare, often dwarfing the Mobility Radeon HD 5850 and 5870. The 480M also remains largely outclassed here: this is the chip we wanted the 480M to be.

At 1080p the difference is only more pronounced. Keep in mind that the Quadro 5000M in the HP EliteBook 8740w is the workstation equivalent of the GeForce GTX 480M, and is basically run roughshod over by the new chip. In fact the only instance where the 480M SLI solution makes a major difference in playability is in our grueling Call of Pripyat test: the 485M is otherwise the king of the hill.

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  • TyphoidMary - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Is it just me, or is the way nVidia maps its chips to its model names one of the universes great imponderables? Why did they pare the desktop GF104's, but not the notebook chips? This would seem to give the shaft to anyone who bought the desktop parts. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    So the GF114 is a full GF104 "plus enhancements". I'm not entirely sure what the big difference is; I think it's really just a respin of GF104 with some tweaks to improve clocking and power. So in a sense, GF104 and GF114 are much closer than GF100 and GF110. Now, why a 480M or 460M are nothing at all like the desktop 480 and 460 is another matter entirely. Reply
  • blanarahul - Thursday, March 29, 2012 - link

    Another peculiar thing. All laptop Graphic Cards have 2-3 times more memory than they need. In this case 1 GB was more than enough but they had to give it 2 GB for marketing. Reply
  • Jambe - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Is a matte plastic and/or matte paint finish prohibitively expensive? Being super-serious here.

    I do not want gloss on my laptop at all. The only place it is tolerable is on the screen. Seriously, the hand-rest area should be entirely matte. That thing looks gross.
  • JarredWalton - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    The coating (if I'm not mistaken) is a rubberized paint similar to the ASUS G73/G53 series. In person, those smudges don't show up so much, but flash photography does bad things to them. I've got the little brother P150HM and it's a matte plastic (or coated plastic) surface. Reply
  • Kaboose - Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - link

    The Only thing i have noticed about the finish on my G73 is that it will show white smudges if you get a little something on it and try to rub it off, I touched it with "Cheeto" fingers and once i rubbed off the cheesey goodness it left a little white smudge, besides that however I love the rubberized feel! Reply
  • bennyg - Thursday, March 03, 2011 - link

    The rubberised finish on the palm rests on my g51j is something special, don't know if it's what's on the g53/g73 but it's great. The finish is still factory-flawless when you give it a good rub with a hard cloth and it's still comfortable after hours on end.

    All the glossy plastic though makes me postal. Worse though is the double-sided adhesive tape used under the grille at the top of the keyboard. I better not ever get any dandruff...
  • MobiusStrip - Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - link

    Glossy on the chassis is tacky, but a glossy screen is a deal-breaker. This fad is the most moronic regression in computing ever.

    The sham claims of "deeper blacks" and "richer colors" don't even hold up to common sense. With everything covered in a sheen of reflection, you have anything but those attributes. Even in a totally dark room you have reflections covering the screen, because the screen illuminates YOU.

    So unless you're buying a computer to use as a mirror, avoid glossy screens.
  • DooDoo22 - Monday, February 28, 2011 - link

    Why have you not drawn any comparisons to this unit and the MBPs that use the same processor? Is it because you have not gone through the new MBPs yet? Reply
  • sean.crees - Tuesday, March 01, 2011 - link

    Not every notebook review needs an apple plug.

    I'm sure Anand will do a review of the new MBP's soon, and you can see all the comparisons you want then.

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