The GPUs offer enhanced performance for media-rich HD, 3D, Web, and gaming applications and enhanced battery life.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Nvidia announced the
GeForce 500M series of notebook graphics-processing units, designed to power
laptops featuring next-generation Intel Core CPUs, known as Sandy Bridge.
The GPUs offer enhanced performance for media-rich HD, 3D, Web and gaming
applications, as well as enhanced battery life-courtesy of Nvidia's
Optimus technology, which enables extra-long battery life by switching on and
off the GPU so that it runs only when needed.
At the high end, the new GPUs include the GeForce GT 540M,
GeForce GT 550M and GeForce GT 555M, which offer more than four times the
performance of integrated graphics and twice the DirectX 11 performance of the
competition, according to Nvidia. The GeForce GT 520M and GeForce GT 525M, which are geared
toward mainstream users, offer more than twice the performance of integrated
Acer, Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Medion,
MSI, Samsung, Toshiba and others announced GeForce 500M-based systems at CES
this year, and Nvidia's Optimus technology is now designed into more than 80
percent of 500M Series notebooks.
The GeForce GPUs offer 3-D Vision technology support for
immersive 3-D environments, DirectX 11 support, PhysX physics engine support
for experiencing games with more realistic physics effects, Nvidia's CUDA architecture
support for general-purpose GPU computing applications, and Verde notebook
drivers for improved system stability and performance.
"GeForce GT 500M GPUs, combined with Optimus technology,
enable the most versatile laptops ever created," said Rene Haas, general
manager of Nvidia's notebook business. "Pairing a great GPU with a strong
CPU delivers optimized notebook performance for consumers."
A recent report from Strategy Analytics concluded that Nvidia is
well-positioned to take advantage of the emergence of high-performance
smartphones and tablet devices in 2011, as described in "Apps Processor
Profile: Nvidia Can Earn One Billion Dollars from Tegra in 2014," from Strategy
Analytics. The research firm predicted that in 2011 alone, Nvidia's Tegra 2
product, a mobile dual-core CPU, could generate up to $300 million in revenue
for the company.
Strategy Analytics noted that the performance bar in
smartphones is rising quickly and that many of the smartphone operating systems
have already started to appear on tablet-like devices, placing greater demands
on the CPU. According to the study, smartphone operating system requirements
are rapidly increasing. Nvidia is one of the few companies that has a
market-ready dual-core processor to serve these demands.
"Strategy Analytics estimates that every one percent extra market share gained
by Nvidia in Android smartphones will contribute an additional $15 million to
Tegra 2 revenues in 2011," said Sravan Kundojjala, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.
"We expect the first-generation LTE (Long-Term Evolution) smartphones and
tablets to widely feature stand-alone applications processors, which will favor
Nvidia. However, in the long-term, baseband-integrated applications processors
will gain market share, and Nvidia may have to acquire a baseband company in
order to effectively compete."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.