Alienware Lowers Price on GTX 580M and Changes Our Opinion in the Process

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | November 7, 2011 - 01:16 PM |
Tagged: m18x, m17x, hd 6990m, gtx 580m, alienware

If you read our recent mobility GPU comparison using the Alienware M17x, you might have wondered why the price on the GTX 580M was $300 more than that of the Radeon HD 6990M when performance was so close.  Well, I guess you can no longer say we didn't do anything to help the consumers (you wouldn't say that, would you?) because today Alienware has dropped the price of the GTX 580M by $225!!

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It looks like Alienware and NVIDIA have listened to our feedback and decided to drop the price on the GeForce GTX 580M on the M17x, M18x and others - and by quite a bit!  As of this writing you can go to the Alienware.com website and now upgrade from the HD 6990M to the GTX 580M for only $75 - that is a $225 price drop compared to last week.  

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What does this do for our opinions and thoughts on the battle between the HD 6990M and the GTX 580M?  I think it makes the added benefits of the NVIDIA ecosystem (Optimus, 3D, Verde driver updates, PhysX) much more attainable and in my book well worth the additional cost.  With this price change, Alienware has really shifted my view on the mobile GPU of choice.

I am going to update my award from the Gold to the Editor's Choice for NVIDIA's GTX 580M for this specific reason - be sure to read the full review if you haven't already!  Happy gaming!

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The Alienware M17x Giveth

Mobile graphics cards are really a different beast than the desktop variants.  Despite have similar names and model numbers, the specifications vary greatly as the GTX 580M isn't equivalent to the GTX 580 and the HD 6990M isn't even a dual-GPU product.  Also, getting the capability to do a direct head-to-head is almost always a tougher task thanks to the notebook market's penchant for single-vendor SKUs.  

Over the past week or two, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Alienware M17x notebooks, one sporting the new AMD Radeon HD 6990M discrete graphics solution and the other with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M.  

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AMD Radeon HD 6990M on the left; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M on the right

Also unlike the desktop market - the time from announcement of a new mobile GPU product to when you can actually BUY a system including it tends to be pretty long.  Take the two GPUs we are looking at today for example: the HD 6990M launched in July and we are only just now finally seeing machines ship in volume; the GTX 580M in June.

Well, problems be damned, we had the pair in our hands for a few short days and I decided to put them through the ringer in our GPU testing suite and added Battlefield 3 in for good measure as well.  The goal was to determine which GPU was actually the "world's fastest" as both companies claimed to be.

Continue reading our comparison of the GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M mobility GPUs!!

Alienware asks why you shouldn't have CrossFire on a laptop

Subject: Mobile | October 18, 2011 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: alienware, Alienware M18x, 18.4, crossfire, hd 6990m

Why shouldn't you stick a pair of HD 6990M's in an 18.4" laptop, as long as you don't mind lugging around a 12lb laptop from power outlet to power outlet.  Seeing as just a few years ago 12lbs was not an uncommon weight for a laptop that does represent a great design on Alienware's part.  The comparison that AnandTech was most interested in was between NVIDIA's GTX 580M and AMD's 6990M to see who can hold onto the dual GPU mobile performance crown.  Who shall triumph?  Read on to see.

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"In our first run with the Alienware M18x, we sat down and took a look at the notebook itself along with NVIDIA's current top shelf mobile graphics part, the GeForce GTX 580M. We came away from the experience with mixed impressions of the M18x itself, a notebook that is by all means incredibly powerful but also seems to lose a lot of the balance that made the M17x R3 so desirable. On the other hand, the GeForce GTX 580M wound up being the fastest mobile GPU we'd yet tested, made only more formidable through the SLI configuration the M18x enables."

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Source: AnandTech

AMD Radeon HD 6990M Comes Screaming to Gaming Laptops

Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 11:49 PM |
Tagged: mobile radeon, hd 6990m, amd radeon, amd

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Few competitors love to one-up each other more than AMD and NVIDIA, and in that spirit the red team has today announced the release of its new Radeon HD 6990M just two weeks after NVIDIA claimed the limelight with its GTX 570M and 580M.

No, this isn’t a dual-GPU solution like the desktop version. Despite the name, the HD 6990M is not based off the Cayman architecture used in the HD 6990 but instead on Barts XT. According to AMD, the decision to use Barts XT rather than Cayman was based on power efficiency. Cramming Cayman into a notebook chassis, even one with an 18” display, wasn’t a viable option. Still, AMD claims that this new mobile GPU will be the world’s quickest, beating even NVIDIA’s new GTX 580M. 

The HD 6990M will be shipping with impressive specifications including a whopping 1120 Stream Processors with a clock speed of 715 MHz, bringing the compute power to 1.6 TFlops. This is paired to 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 900 MHz, making for memory bandwidth of over 115 GB/sec.

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Data supplied by AMD.

UPDATE (7/12/11 @ 10:00am): AMD contacted us to let me know the benchmark results we posted with this news release needed to be changed.  The NEW results from the presentation show the difference between the Radeon HD 6970M and the Radeon HD 6990M to be much less AND the difference between the HD 6990 and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M to be MUCH smaller.  I have asked AMD for an explanation here and we'll see what we get later today.

The company’s press material shows the HD 6990M defeating the already available HD 6970M by approximately 25% in a number of games. If the part performs as promised, it should indeed be a difficult for NVIDIA to defeat – but we’ll have to wait for a review before making a judgment.

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Data supplied by AMD.

Besides its blazing fast performance, the new GPU will offer the typical suite of AMD features including full support for DirectX 11, Eyefinity, Crossfire, HD3D, and driver-based power management features like PowerExpress and Vari-Bright.

Several laptops have been announced as available with the including the Clevo P170HM, P150HM and X7200, the Alienware M18x, and unspecified laptops from Eurocom. The HD 6990M should be available for order on the M18x as of today.

Source: AMD