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Nvidia GeForce 800M Line of Notebook GPUs Shine

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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April 1, 2014

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GeForce-GTX-880M

Nvidia has announced it’s all-new GeForce 800M line of notebook GPUs that deliver more power while consuming less electricity. They are the GeForce GTX 880M, 870M, 860M and 850M. Lower down the totem poll are the GeForce 840M, 830M and 820M based on Nvidia’s older 28nm Fermi microarchitecture. They have said that the 800M series can be up to a staggering 60% faster than the 700M line of cards.

Nvidia boldly claims that their two most powerful GPU stars, the GeForce GTX 880M and 870M, will play top games like Metro: Last Light, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts at 1080p resolution at ultra image quality and at a reasonable 30 frames per second. Not too surprising since they are both based on Nvidia’s 28nm Kepler microarchitecture making the colossus desktop GeForce GTX Titan Black their big brother. The GeForce GTX 880M weighs in with a hefty 4GB of GDDR5 memory, 256-bit bus, 1536 processor cores and a 954MHz baseline GPU clock.

According to Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 870M which sports their 28nm Kepler microarchitecture will allow notebooks to be as thin as 0.82 inches. These notebooks will be able to run top games at a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels 30 percent faster than three years ago. This means we can look forward to gaming notebooks that are thinner, lighter and more capable.

For those into lashing two GPU’s side-by-side only the GeForce GTX 880M, 870M and 860M are suitable for a SLI dual-GPU set-up.

FEATURES

The GPUs in all these models offer the same set of features.

Battery Boost Power Management

A new driver-level performance manager that automatically starts when the notebook is unplugged. It controls the notebooks’s CPU, GPU and memory and will automatically reduce screen brightness, resolution, image quality and frame rate in an effort to reduce the amount of power it draws from the battery thus allowing you to play longer. While frame rates may be reduced the target is 30 frames per second.

ShadowPlay

A video-capture technology that has been in use on Nvidia’s desktop GPUs now makes it’s way to their notebook GPUs. Gamers will be able to record their gaming sessions in real time at up to 1080p resolution. The software always has the last 20 minutes of gameplay captured which can be permanently saved by hitting a hotkey. You can use the manual mode to get it to record as much gaming as you like though. If the GPU is Kepler in nature, it will save the file using h.264 video encoder. In the Maxwell architecture based GPUs the h.265 codec will be used.

ShadowPlay can also be used to broadcast your gaming sessions on the Twitch video platform for others to watch. Gamers who have a GeForce 700M or GeForce 600M-series GPU will also be able to use this feature later this month when Nvidia releases a new version of it’s GeForce Experience software suite.

GameStream

GameStream lets you stream a game from a host PC with a GeForce GPU over your wireless network to a compatible device like Nvidia’s Shield handheld gaming device. You can also output Shield’s video to your HDTV using an HDMI cable.

Optimus

Nvidia’s Optimus technology is all about saving power and has been around for some time. If the applications you are running don’t require the GPU it channels all the processing workload to the CPU. When you start a game Optimus will automatically assign the rendering of graphics to the GPU.

Not Even Close

With it’s announcement of the 800M line Nvidia didn’t lose the opportunity to blast it’s canons over the bow of Intel’s integrated graphics. Nvidia claimed that 85% of games are unplayable with Intel’s HD Graphics 4400 processor and that 75% are unplayable with the Intel Iris 5100 integrated GPU. It should be noted that Nvidia defines ‘playable’ as 30 frames per second at a resolution of 1366 by 768 with no major visual degradation.

Nvidia went further in their take down of Intel’s integrated graphics by revealing their progress in the performance-per-watt department. They stated that a computer equipped with an Intel Core i5-4210U and playing Elder Scrolls at 1080p resolution with medium image quality will only generate 10 frames per second while the CPU and integrated GPU combined will consume 15 watts. Use the same computer equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 840M and you’ll get 30 frames per second with only 17 watts consumed. Three times the frame rate for only an extra two watts.

Nvidia have released yet another solid product line that will ensure notebook gamers can jump into the gaming fray with their desktop gaming brethren.

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