Nvidia's GeForce GT 700M Series brings Kepler goodness to gaming laptops, offering a claimed six-fold performance boost over Intel's HD4000 integrated graphics processor.
Nvidia has officially launched its latest mobile graphics processor family, the GeForce 700M Series, offering improved performance for gaming laptops.
Based mostly on the Kepler GPU family, the GeForce 700M Series - announced on the 1st of April but not, we're assured, an April Fools gag - is comprised of six distinct entries: the 'mainstream' GeForce GT 720M, GT 730M and GT 735M, and the high-end GT 740M, GT 745M and GT 750M.
Key features common to all six models include support for Nvidia GPU Boost 2.0, which allows the chip to adjust its clock speed through a wider range to boost battery life or improve performance, and a revised implementation of Nvidia Optimus, which allows an integrated graphics chip to take over during lightweight work with the GeForce discrete GPU only firing up when something meatier like a game is launched. Each will also come with the GeForce Experience software, which allows optimised defaults for popular games to be instantly downloaded and applied - and which forms a central part of the Project Shield game streaming system, which the new GeForce 700M chips should fully support.
Naturally, the key feature Nvidia wants to concentrate on is performance: compared to an Intel HD4000 graphics processor integrated into an Ivy Bridge CPU, the lowest-end GeForce GT 720M boasts a 2.5x performance increase in common games under moderate settings, which increases to 3x for the GT 730M, 4x for the GT 740M, 5x for the GT 745M and almost 6x for the GT 750M. According to Nvidia's own internal testing, that translates to up to 90 frames per second in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, around 65 frames per second in Skyrim, 66 frames per second in Batman: Arkham City, and a perfectly acceptable 48 frames per second in the demanding Battlefield 3 - although, it must be remembered, this is all with 'moderate' or equivalent settings at a resolution of 1366x768.
The precise specifications of each GeForce 700M Series chip will depend largely on the individual implementation from each original equipment manufacturer (OEM): Nvidia has indicated that it is happy for OEMs to use either GDDR5 or cheaper DDR3 memory throughout the range, including with the top-end GeForce 750M, and can adjust clock speeds away from stock in either direction. Preliminary indications are that the performance models are all based on the Kepler GK107 GPU, with the mainstream models choosing either a GK208 - which drops the memory bus from 128 bits to 64 bits - or, in the case of the entry-level GT 720M, a modified Fermi-based GF117 processor.
All models are available now, Nvidia has claimed, with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba all named as OEMs looking to bring out GeForce GT 700M Series laptops in the coming months.