Nvidia launches its fastest laptop GPU

The GeForce GTX 280M offers a 50% performance boost over earlier Nvidia GPUs

Nvidia Corp. has launched a new graphics chip for laptop computers that it says is its fastest to date.

The GeForce GTX 280M offers 50% better performance than previous Nvidia GPUs, said Brian Burke, an Nvidia spokesman. It includes 128 cores and delivers 562 gigaflops of performance, the company said. It was announced at the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The performance may have been helped by an improved manufacturing process, said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, a Tiburon, Calif.-based consultancy. The chip is manufactured using a 55-nanometer process, whereas a 65nm process was employed for other recent Nvidia chips.

The new process may also help the GPU draw less power, Peddie said. To further extend battery life, the 280M can switch between using a separate graphics card and an integrated graphics processor, according to Nvidia.

The GTX 280M is aimed at gaming enthusiasts and those who use demanding multimedia applications. It supports SLI (Scalable Link Interface), which allows two GTX 280M-based cards in a laptop to work together to scale graphics performance, Burke said.

The GPU will be available in laptops through PC makers, Nvidia said. It is designed to work with Windows, Linux and Macintosh systems.

The company also launched the GeForce GTX 260M and GeForce GTS 160M GPUs for laptops, which have fewer cores. All the cards support SLI and Nvidia's PhysX technology. The company did not provide information about pricing.

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