Gaming Performance

We've seen that as far as Futuremark is concerned, the AMD Radeon HD 6990M and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M are essentially comparable. 3DMark doesn't tell the whole story, though, and we've seen graphics hardware perform well in it and then go belly up in actual benchmarking situations. Maybe our game testing will break the stalemate?

At least in our "high" preset, the two tend to trade blows, though when the GTX 580M wins it wins big, blowing past the Radeon in STALKER, Mafia II, and surprisingly DiRT 2, where the Radeon puts in an unusually poor performance. The 6990M is still totally playable in every case, but the GeForce is always at least on par with it.

The gap closes a bit in our "ultra" testing suite, but still generally favors the GeForce in multi-GPU settings while the single GPU solutions perform roughly on par with each other. Meanwhile, our multi-GPU solutions are oftentimes faster than our gaming desktop, and that's not too shabby. For users that want a desktop-level gaming experience in a notebook and are willing to pay for it, SLI and CrossFire look ready and able to provide it.

Application and Futuremark Performance Heat and Noise
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  • The Crying Man - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Would it be possible to make the Radeon bars red and the Nvidia bars green in your charts? It's pretty minor, but it messes up my ease of reading knowing these companies have their colors.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Done -- I'll send you your bill later.
  • The Crying Man - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Thank you kindly.

    So uh... do you accept monopoly c notes?
  • therealnickdanger - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Real Benjamins are probably worth less... ;-)
  • yelped - Monday, October 17, 2011 - link

    OK, I just have to arrange a government loan before I go bankrupt.... :)
  • GTRagnarok - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Nvidia's pricing of the GTX 580M is ridiculous.
  • mclazer - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Yeah, it was what kept me from pulling the trigger for a while on the m17x... i wanted the 120hz screen and they wont sell it with the 6990 (I dont care about 3d).

    Dell is selling the model with 120hz screen for 300 bucks less now though.. so I went ahead and ordered one finally after considering the m18x and m17x.

    It kinda sucks that the system that would be able to take advantage of a 120hz screen the most (m18x w/ SLI) doesnt have it as an option.
  • prophet001 - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    This is exactly what I had been wanting to see. As far as comparing the m17 to the m18, another difference is the reduction in the pixel density. I don't understand why Alienware would put this monitor in this laptop.

    Anyway, thank you again.
  • AlexRain1973 - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    The one thing that 580M stands out from the 6990 is their Overclocking capabilities, I've seen what the guys are doing in NBR M18x Forums and it's simply destroying AMD due to the fact that the Nvidia's BIOS is flashable and currently we've seen up to 35% Overclock! that's pretty crazy! It can achieve that due to the Video BIOS and the ability to be able to leverage higher voltage.

    That's where the extra 300 goes ;) (Remember this isn't a consumer type system, it's 100% enthusiasts)

    Righ now, the M18x with 2920/2960 and 580M SLI Setup with Mod BIOS makes for the fastest laptop in the planet, ahead of Clevos with Desktop CPU!
  • Meaker10 - Friday, October 14, 2011 - link

    Good overclocks, just a shame the card is throttling itself.

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