Nvidia's GeForce 400M Series Roids Up Notebook Graphics of All ClassesS

Nvidia gave us a taste of what its Fermi-based notebook graphics cards would be like with the GeForce GTX 480M, but now it's time to meet the whole family. That's seven Fermi GPUs, running the gamut from face-melting to face-singeing.

What makes these graphics special? It all comes back to Fermi, which was built to support those juicy DirectX 11 graphics you're so excited about. But maybe more importantly, they're coming at a time when Nvidia's Optimus graphics-switching technology has been picked up in broadly. That means that solid graphics aren't going to automatically destroy your battery. At least, not quite as fast.

Nvidia's promising 40x better performance than the previous generation of GeForce—though that's based on a mystery amalgamation of a number of different benchmarks and internal tests—and the new lineup will support CUDA, 3D Vision, and PhysX. The real competitor isn't old Nvidia GPUs, though. It's Intel's integrated solution, which according to Nvidia handles game play and photo retouching 5x slower than the new GeForce hotness.

At the low end of the spectrum is the GeForce GT 415M, featuring 48 processor cores, and up to 512Mb memory. You can expect to pay about a $50 premium for it versus rig with integrated graphics. The top-end GeForce GTX 470M, by contrast, comes loaded with 288 cores, up to 1Gb memory, and 1.25 GHz memory clock. No benchmarks are available yet, but we're expecting plenty of pep when Nvidia's PC partners—basically everyone except HP—start announcing their fall line-up. [Nvidia]