One thing we can count on no matter the brand name on the video cards that gamers and enthusiasts buy for their computers is that each successive generation will offer increased performance. NVIDIA is no exception to this and the company often has some of the best performing video cards on the market in some price classes.
Remember that stonking NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M Fermi GPU and the Clevo gaming notebook it was expected to first show up in? The Clevo D900F is now up for sale, and if you've in the region of $2,959 lying around waiting for a Core i7 based 17-inch monster notebook, you probably won't be disappointed. Everything from a 2.66GHz Core i7-920 through to a 3.33GHz Core i7-980X Extreme are on offer (factor in an extra $856 for the latter), together with some Xeon quadcores, as well as up to 12GB of DDR3 memory.
The NVIDIA GTX 470 and GTX 480 video cards are already fast by all accounts with very impressive performance. When you take those already fast video cards and then overclock them, you squeeze even more performance out of the cards.
NVIDIA have announced their first Fermi-based GPU intended for notebooks, in the shape of the GeForce GTX 480M. Described as "DirectX 11 done right for notebooks", the GTX 480M has a dedicated Tessellation engine that apparently boosts performance 5x over that of competing mobile GPUs, and three times more CUDA cores than the previous generation of chips.
NVIDIA haven't been particularly upfront about their mobile plans for the Fermi GPUs but, according to a premature product page from gaming notebook maker Eurocom, it looks like we can expect some movement in June 2010. Eurocom are listing an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480M Fermi GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory as arriving that month, a 40nm chipset that will add $380 to their 18.4-inch X8100 Leopard notebook.
I have been a PC gamer for a long time and when NVIDIA first rolled out its SLI technology, I was pumped to see the benefits that you got in video games using multiple cards. Over the years, NVIDIA has improved the tech and you can use up to four of some of the companies cards in SLI today.
One NVIDIA GTX 480 graphics card is potent; two are impressive and three, in SLI setup, is probably overkill for all but the most avid (and deep pocketed) of gamers. So, what do you call four GTX 480 boards in a single machine? CyberPower Inc. have apparently been experimenting with the EVGA GTX 480, showing a new quad-card rig on their Facebook page.
Early adopters beware: if you were planning on picking up one of NVIDIA's new Fermi-based GeForce GTX 480 or GTX 470 graphics cards when they go on sale later on this month, you could end up getting a less capable card than expected. According to leaks out of graphics cards manufacturers, lower than expected 40nm yields at NVIDIA's suppliers have prompted the company to block those cores with problems; as a result, the GeForce GTX 480 will only have 480 cores and the GTX 470 just 448.