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 graphics.
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."