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Wait...wait...wait...for the AW M18x to be released. While I wait for this beast to hit the market, I would like to know what the best GPU option is. Both of these cards get great reviews but here are some points I have found. Nvidia seems to have the best driver support but tends to produce more heat and the AMD runs a little cooler and does not offer 3D support (although the M18 may not support 3D). It seems to me that driver support is very important for the future of you rig. I will be using my lappy for basic gaming, web browsing, and movies. Here is the comparison chart: Comparison of Laptop Graphics Cards - Notebookcheck.net Tech

Also, here is an AW M18x slideshow: YouTube - Alienware M18x "Avenger"

Edit: I know the 485M has not shown up, but all indicators point to it becoming available.

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I wonder how much extra will they ask for a pair of 485M...

Probably a pair of Kidneys...

:D

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I wouldn't necessarily say nVidia has better driver support. There are tons of people frustrated with their drivers, just as many if not more than AMD. Both companies are on nearly even footing with regards to driver quality. However, for linux and certain applications, nVidia has better compatibility and performance. Gaming performance is nearly identical for both cards but the 485M consumes a lot more power and costs a lot more. Yeah you can output 3D via hdmi 1.4 but how often will you do that? If you see yourself doing it often, then go for nVidia. Personally I think 3D gaming is a gimmick.

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A lot of the third-party 485m's people are buying are actually *built by dell*. None of dell's current line have them though, so I am 100% certain we will eventually see the 485m as an option sooner rather than later. This may well be the reason for the delay, even.

For the development and game dev I do, my only option is nvidia. I prefer AMD, no doubt, but I cant stand using sketchup/udk/unity/etc at sub par performance any more.

Also, more importantly, I have no fucking idea where this myth has come from that nvidia has better drivers. They don't. They never have. They never will. Nvidia have had woeful driver support ever since the geforce 8xxx series.

No one seems to remember all the troubles huh? If anyone is curious, here are some terms to google for: "NV4 disp error", "Nvidia restart PC", "Nvidia driver melting graphics cards", etc...

AMD's engineering department is more than double the size of Nvidia's. They spend more money and more resources on building their drivers. Nvida, on the other hand, spends that same money bribing game developers to make their game work around nvidia's problems (they call it "the way its meant to be played") and part of this agreement is they cannot optimize for AMD or intel.

The only benefit to nvidia's drivers is the larger game support for multi-gpu, and even this is dwindling fast. It has been repeatedly shown however that AMD multi GPU (crossfire) performance is now far superior to nvidia since the 6xxx series.

Even the microstuttering on ATI's products are less pronounced.

If all you are doing is gaming, go AMD. And dont look back. If you are doing any kind of Dev work, you may have to go to nvidia. I know for one that sketchup performs much much faster on nvidia.

-Ash

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A lot of the third-party 485m's people are buying are actually *built by dell*. None of dell's current line have them though, so I am 100% certain we will eventually see the 485m as an option sooner rather than later. This may well be the reason for the delay, even.

-Ash

We can only hope your right. The fact that they offer the 485M SLI as an option, even if one was to chose 6970M, is good for the M18x overall. The stronger the sales the better the driver support, and the sooner they may push v2. Ash great info. rep+1

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Ati and Nvidia go back and forth. I have had both before and Ati drivers since they introduced Catalyst have been very dependable and it seems most of the time each subsequent driver release yields more performance. Nvidia, I've had cards from Ati and Nvidia that were in same class and the Nvidia seemed to have better performance out of box. Nvidia on some occasions have made driver updates that caused blue screen errors, a nightmare I had with a HP HDX 18 I had only about 2 years ago, their latest release is better today on my brothers HDX with no blue screen errors but he does have crashing in some Directx 9 games. Nvidia performance has been ahead with their desktop cards for awhile now. Now Ati is AMD and currently on desktop cards has blurred the lines between both companies in their top single card dual gpu series against Nvidia's latest top single card dual gpu. The last revison of Ati's mobile series was faster than Nvidia's. But the last revision of Nvidia's desktop series was faster than Ati's. This year and the latest series of both there is some real competition now as both company's performance get closer and closer. Only time and actual data will show who's ahead of whom.

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They're close enough that it doesn't really matter (in terms of performance) imo

...But Quadro vs. FirePro is a completely different story

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To add to this discussion, check out noteboookcheck's recent 6970M Xfire vs 485M SLi review: Review GeForce GTX 485M SLI vs. Radeon HD 6970M CF - Notebookcheck.net Reviews

Conclusion:

Without a doubt, the performance of these dual-GPUs, the most powerful mobile systems on the market, is excellent by notebook standards. Any game that is currently available will run smoothly, even with maximum graphics settings and various visual enhancements (AA and AF). High resolutions in the region of 1920 x 1080 are also no object.

Despite its markedly lower price, the Radeon HD 6970M CF comes amazingly close to its Nvidia counterpart; the GeForce GTX 485M SLI is only around 6% faster across all the benchmarks (1920 x 1080, ultra settings). So in terms of price-to-performance ratio, the Radeon HD 6970M CF is clearly the better choice, but the GeForce GTX 460M SLI offers somewhat more consistent performance, a lower error rate, more mature drivers and superior image quality. It also has more additional features.

The two GeForce GTX 470M GPUs had a more difficult time of it. While the GeForce GTX 485M SLI was out in front by 33% overall, the Radeon HD 6970M CF, which comes at a similar price, also beat it by some margin. As for the GeForce GTX 460M SLI, we can no longer recommend it, as a single GeForce GTX 485M can match it for performance (GTX 485M SLI +62%).

However, because of the numerous issues and disadvantages associated with dual-GPU systems, you should consider very carefully before you buy. As well as the pretty exorbitant energy consumption, there is the high temperature and noise production to bear in mind, as well as the issue of micro-stuttering. Dual-GPU notebooks are also bulky and heavy; they are desktop replacements, not really suitable for mobile use at all.

The price is also a major factor - an equally powerful desktop PC with comparable hardware (e.g. a GeForce GTX 570) can be got for only a fraction of the cost (about three times less), including a monitor. Therefore our advice has to be: either stick with a notebook with a single GeForce GTX 485M or Radeon HD 6970M, or go straight for an actual desktop PC.

I don't agree with their assertion that one should ONLY go for a single GPU and instead opt for a desktop if you want higher performance. A lot of us have no problem at all carrying around a 12-14 lb notebook and appreciate the added portability with that kind of power. I like to take my M17x-R2 from one room to another, can't exactly do that with a desktop. Second, at first they say the 460M SLi is a great solution only to later say it's outdated and the performance sucks--they should make up their minds. But nonetheless, the most important point of this verdict was that the 6970M Xfire is the better buy vs 485M SLi.

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Brian I completely agree. The cards are so close the higher price on 485m sli for a 6% performance increase for most of us doesn't warrant the 485m sli over the 6970m crossfire.

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Plus the difference is something that can be eliminated with better drivers...

Exactly and AMD loves to release them almost monthly! Usually with better performance with each revision.

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To add to this discussion, check out noteboookcheck's recent 6970M Xfire vs 485M SLi review: Review GeForce GTX 485M SLI vs. Radeon HD 6970M CF - Notebookcheck.net Reviews

Conclusion:

I don't agree with their assertion that one should ONLY go for a single GPU and instead opt for a desktop if you want higher performance. A lot of us have no problem at all carrying around a 12-14 lb notebook and appreciate the added portability with that kind of power. I like to take my M17x-R2 from one room to another, can't exactly do that with a desktop. Second, at first they say the 460M SLi is a great solution only to later say it's outdated and the performance sucks--they should make up their minds. But nonetheless, the most important point of this verdict was that the 6970M Xfire is the better buy vs 485M SLi.

And they're still using older drivers for both cards. The 6970M CFX system should have used the 11.4 drivers while the 485M SLi system should have had the 270.51/270.61 drivers. Both would offer some performance increases and be a better indicator of the performance differences between the two setups really is at this point.

EDIT: What StamatisX said basically

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I would wager the 485m will pull out much further in front at higher resolutions. 1080p is still CPU limited. For my resolution of 2560x1440, the difference will be huge and I predict in nvidia's favor.

-Ash

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I haven't checked beyond 1200p, but does the desktop fermi do any better at higher resolution? If it doesn't, then 485M won't either.

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does the desktop fermi do any better at higher resolution? If it doesn't, then 485M won't either.

No. In fact, the ATI cards perform better the higher the resolution.

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Deciding between 6970 and 485 in CF on 1080p (relatively low res by desktop standards) really is splitting hairs IMO.

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I looked over some benchmarks from Tom's Hardware for the 460 vs 6870 and it seemed almost dead even. Considering the 485M is based on GF104 which is the same core as 460 but has similar shader count/cuda cores as 560 Ti (sans the optimizations, less memory b/w and much lower core clock) it's real performance is near the desktop 460 where as the 6970M is similar the to 6850/6870 (clocks are lower than 6870). With the newest 11.4 driver set, I'd bet money the 485M/6970M run neck and neck at 2560x1600.

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Hmm, this is good info brian. If I can get some reliable sketchup and unity3d tests with the 6970m xfire's, I would definately choose AMD.

-Ash

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I'm gonna get 6970M crossfire. I'm set in my decision. But I would like to know the result of the bench and testing you are requesting Ash. Does anyone know anyone with a already released 6970M crossfire? Like a Clevo?

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I gotta be honest, I'm willing to spend the extra money for performance since I'm likely already dropping around 4 grand on this thing. I'd love to know if the extra money is worth it by the time they launch because right now it looks like the ATI offering is just a better value.

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Is there any hope of an update for the 485 anytime soon? They've been out for what, like 5-6 months already? :77:

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The 485M was originally written on the R3's tech specs page and then removed. I'm guessing for whatever reason, Dell decided not to use it. They'll probably wait on a cheaper GTX 580 and use that is my guess. BTW guys, someone over on NBR got an IBM thinkpad, put in 2920xm and found they could not adjust the TDP or multipliers. Hopefully this won't be the case with the M18x but we'll see..this new lockbit crap from Intel has me worried.

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If we pay to have out multipliers adjustable we should be able to have them adjusted. Intel will be making a big mistake. If for tests 6970M x2 has latest 11.4 drivers and the 485m sli had it's latest drivers I would want to see benchmarks too before the M18x's release. If even with latest drivers Nvidia had the advantage it may sway me from the Ati cards, but without some data still seems the dual 6970M is a great set and a great value.

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The 485M was originally written on the R3's tech specs page and then removed. I'm guessing for whatever reason, Dell decided not to use it. They'll probably wait on a cheaper GTX 580 and use that is my guess. BTW guys, someone over on NBR got an IBM thinkpad, put in 2920xm and found they could not adjust the TDP or multipliers. Hopefully this won't be the case with the M18x but we'll see..this new lockbit crap from Intel has me worried.

Multi should be fully adjustable.

If the rest of the SB crew is any sign, I wouldn't count on being able to adjust TDP.

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