Computex 2012 Show Floor: Ultrabooks with Discrete GPUsby Jarred Walton on June 5, 2012 9:16 PM EST
We’ve already seen one Ultrabook with a discrete GPU—Acer’s TimelineU M3—but that was an “old” Sandy Bridge Ultrabook. At Computex 2012, several more Ultrabooks sporting discrete GPUs have shown up, including an apparently updated version of the M3. Interestingly—or perhaps not?—we have yet to see any Ultrabooks sporting AMD discrete GPUs; if you happen to know of any, drop me a note! Here’s the short list of known specs for the upcoming “gaming Ultrabooks”:
|Upcoming/Announced Ultrabooks with Discrete (Switchable) Graphics|
|Maker||Ultrabook Model||Discrete GPU||Screen size||Screen res.|
|Acer||M5-481TG||GeForce GT 640M LE||14”||1366x768|
|Acer||M5-581TG||GeForce GT 640M||15.6”||1366x768|
|Asus||UX32VD||GeForce GT 620M||13.3”||1920x1080|
|Gigabyte||U2440N||GeForce GT 630M||14”||1366x768|
|Gigabyte||U2442N||GeForce GT 650M||14”||1600x900|
The Acer M5 models appear to be Ivy Bridge updates of the previously reviewed TimelineU M3, only this time they should be available in the US. In typical Acer fashion, they’ll have 14” and 15.6” Ultrabooks with the larger unit sporting a slightly faster GPU. Gigabyte also has two models; this time both are 14”, with the higher-spec unit using a Kepler GT 650M and sporting a 1600x900 LCD while the U2440N goes with a bog standard 1366x768 LCD and a GT 630M.
Wrapping up the list for now is the ASUS UX32VD, which we’ve already discussed previously. It has the smallest LCD size at just 13.3”, but it also has the highest resolution LCD. On the GPU side, ASUS also sports the lowest performance GPU of the bunch, the GT 620M. Based on the 28nm GF117 core, a shrink of the Fermi GF108, power use should be substantially lower than chips like the GT 525M while delivering similar (25MHz higher) clock speeds.
Above are some NVIDIA-provided images of several of the laptops from their Computex booth. What’s not clear is whether the GPUs are all 28nm versions or if some of the models are 40nm chips. Given we’re looking at Ultrabooks, we suspect all of the laptops are using NVIDIA 28nm GPUs. We’ve detailed the various 600M SKUs previously, but in the case of the GT 640M LE and the GT 630M used above, there’s no word on which of the two chips is being used.
Just to recap, GT 640M LE is available in a 28nm GK107 model as well as a 40nm GF108 model, making for a wide disparity in expectations as Kepler should be both faster and use less power. GT 630M isn’t quite as bad, as both the 40nm GF108 as well as the 28nm GF117 shrink are supposed to run at up to 800MHz. We’ve asked NVIDIA for clarification on the GPUs and will update as necessary.
Update: NVIDIA responded to our questions and confirmed that all of the above Ultrabooks are using 28nm GPUs, as expected.
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bhima - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - linkIn an ultrabook form factor the 650m would be a really awesome GPU. Can actually play games at 1600x900 with that... the other cards not so much.
Rand - Tuesday, June 5, 2012 - linkI'd be worried about the heat and noise though, many ultrabooks already sound like a jet taking off under load even without a discrete GPU. Adding more heat to dissipate is going to exacerbate the problem.
1ceTr0n - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkSounds like your an engineer that makes them. Care to elaborate?
Spunjji - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkDoes it? Sounds to me like he's just making inferences based on logic.
MrSpadge - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkJust plain common sense. You've got to get rid of the heat somehow, and currently there's no other option than higher air flow to combat higher heat generation.
damianrobertjones - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkIt would be nice for these machines, while on battery power and everything set to max battery, to have a fan that actually stops ever so often. It's almost as if they're not bothered as it's a part that'll eventually fail. Cha-ching
damianrobertjones - Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - linkI have a feeling you know exactly what Rand was trying to say! Of the Ultrabooks I've tried (HP Folio, Samsung 9, Tosh Z8300) the fan hasn't stopped so adding a dedicated gpu will increase the damn fan noise,.
What's so difficult to understand about that?
P.s. It's 'you're' not 'your'.
Manyhigh - Monday, June 11, 2012 - linkDidn't you forget about the S-series?