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Mobile GPU Comparison: GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: Various

Metro 2033, Lost Planet 2 and DiRT 3

Metro 2033 (DirectX 11)


 

Metro 2033 is one of the best looking PC games in years.  By utilizing some advanced DX11 features as well as impressively high-quality shading routines this title pushes our graphics in ways we haven't seen since the first days of Crysis.  

 
 
 
 


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Both systems have a bit of trouble running this game at these settings though the Radeon HD 6990M is able to juuuusttt edge out the GTX 580M.

 

Lost Planet 2 (DirectX 11)


 

Featuring support for DirectX® 11 and DirectX 9, Lost Planet 2 delivers its Akrid-infested world in even greater detail. Through DirectX® 11 features, smoke will have lifelike volume and depth, water surfaces react realistically to player interaction and bullets, and level bosses are rendered with more detail than ever before.

The primary purpose of Test B is to push the PC to its limits and to evaluate the maximum performance of the PC. It utilizes many functions of Direct X11 resulting in a very performance-orientated, very demanding benchmark mode.

 
 

 

Lost Planet 2 Test Settings

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Again the Radeon HD 6990M is a bit faster in our Lost Planet 2 testing and is able maintain a much higher minimum frame rate.

 

DiRT 3 (DirectX 11)


 

A continuation of the Colin McRae series, but without his name, DiRT 3 is one of the top racing games in the world and offers stunning imagery along with support for features of DirectX 11.  

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DiRT 3 is one of our favorite racing games currently available and surprisingly based on the game's history, the NVIDIA GTX 580M outperforms the HD 6990M.

November 2, 2011 | 07:58 PM - Posted by Flayed Banana (not verified)

If this test is about the Nvidia GTX 580M and the Radeon 6990M then why do the screenshots from Lost Planet say Nvidia GTX 460? Wrong pictures or problems with the game?

November 3, 2011 | 10:10 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

No, those are just older screenshots that we used to demonstrate the game we were using. We don't take new ones each time we test the game.

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November 3, 2011 | 05:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Its unfair the testing specs for the AMD Radeon HD 6990M setup, 500Mhz makes a difference. Test with even specs or forget it.

November 3, 2011 | 10:10 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Not really true, though I did comment in our first page that the difference may skew things just slightly. The fact is with frame rates typically 40 or less, the CPU bottleneck is minimal on all of these titles.

December 3, 2011 | 11:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

wrong, Deus Ex, for example, is CPU bound and that's why the GTX580M is able to keep up with the 6990M. A CPU bound game will see big performance gains from a higher CPU clock.

November 3, 2011 | 08:43 AM - Posted by Alterac (not verified)

What Driver versions were you using for the testing?

November 3, 2011 | 10:12 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Ah, sorry about that! We were using the new 285.64 driver from NVIDIA.com on the GTX 580M and the 11.10 drivers that shipped with the M17x from AMD on the HD 6990M.

November 3, 2011 | 10:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

how could you use nvidia drivers when they dont work on alienware.. and dell only have 269.03. even doing an nvidia update refers you back to dell for drivers.if you manage to get the nvidia drivers to work, tell me how.

November 3, 2011 | 12:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The Verde drivers on NVIDIA.com install on the Alienware system. Download and install, not hard buddy!

November 3, 2011 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

^ this.

November 3, 2011 | 01:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Um, crappy equivalent card comparison using a 560 Ti. A 460 GTX would be the best case, but the GTX580M is really closer to an 8800GT. And as for the 6990M, compare it to a 6850 at best.

Just going by Tex fill rate and Mem Bandwidth. I'm currently running an old 275GTX with better specs than the 580M.

Now, get out of the graphic card companies pockets and start telling it like it really is. They want us to believe we are paying $400+ for something better than a $50 graphics card.

Otherwise, nice article.

November 3, 2011 | 02:40 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Umm...R U SERIOUS? An 8800 GT? You so crraazzzyy!

November 4, 2011 | 11:42 AM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

I just got done listening to the podcast and this portion was of interest to me as I have had my M17X with a 6990M for about a month or so now. I have a primary system and pretty much use this laptop for my "sitting in the living room with my wife but still gaming" system =D.

The 6990M makes gaming on a laptop an actual possibility without having to always find the lowest possible setting to play games with. While I can't play BF3 on ultra settings in multiplayer, I can play on High and still be 50 FPS+ and have an enjoyable experience. I personally don't see the value in a 300+ nvidia tax for the same performance. Good Article and I'm sure there are others out there who have been on the fence about this choice that might have a clearer decision to make.

November 6, 2011 | 01:36 AM - Posted by w chris (not verified)

Just an FYI just because you have the 580m or 6990m does not mean you have optimus or amd's equivelent. Example clevo resellers such as sager and others do not have optimus with these cards, and possibly other high end cards.

November 9, 2011 | 01:36 PM - Posted by sotoa

I just heard the podcast this morning too and a couple of reasons why I ordered the 580m on my Sager NP8170(P170HM) yesterday.

1) 3D only possible with Nvidia (or at least on these current ones)
2) Drivers are usually better from Nvidia (although AMD is getting real close lately)
3) PhysX
4) Optimus > AMD's Switchable Graphics solution (although I can't do Optimus on this 120Hz screen)
5) Bought it because I didn't hear your podcast in time >:(

Is it really, really worth the premium? Maybe not, but I have price guarantee till end of this year and I'm hoping Nvidia will do the right thing.

November 9, 2011 | 02:53 PM - Posted by w chris (not verified)

No optimus or amd switchable graphics on any sager/clevos from my understanding.

November 9, 2011 | 04:30 PM - Posted by sotoa

Ryan,
You might want to check the ram on the 580m. It should be 2GB, not 1.5GB.

November 10, 2011 | 09:44 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Battlefield 3 is a processor friendly game.

The GTX 580m machine had a more powerful processor than the 6990m machine.

Perhaps that could have been a deciding factor on the BF3 outcome. I don't think the 6990m would be that much worse on Ultra than the 580m.

November 13, 2011 | 02:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What would you guys prefer? I have been searching for a while now, and trying to find out whats the best graphic card to buy.

Nvidia GTX 580M
Intel Core I7 2760qm

Next:

ATI HD 6990M
Intel Core I7 2860qm

It's one of those two that i'm planning to buy, but which one is best at running BF3 on ultra..? The price for the two setups is exactly the same..

November 14, 2011 | 06:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just bought one of these over in Australia

Our models are slightly different to the US spec, but I have to say..... what a beast !!

It runs Battlefield 3 with no issues - HDMI out looks great on a plasma tv. Massive battery life.. Good on ya dell !

I also got the 6990, 256 SSD - I will get an external SSD later if the internal gets full and plug in through ESATA port. Alienware backpack.

November 16, 2011 | 09:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

So you would prefer the HD 6990m?

And is is on ultra your 6990M is running without issues

What cpu do you have ? :)

November 21, 2011 | 09:47 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yep - For the price

I think the settings are all on high and it runs great

I have the 2.4Ghz CPU

I also play it using my HTC smart phone as a WIFI hotspot, then connect the 17x to it wirelessly , it runs well- even on the 32 vs 32 maps.

sometimes laggy but sometimes not - read sniper shots accross the map.!

November 22, 2011 | 05:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I take that back, I have the graphics set on Custom, all ULTRA and on, except for PRE alaising which is off.

November 23, 2011 | 11:28 AM - Posted by sotoa

The 580m's memory is still incorrect on the chart.

January 3, 2012 | 12:01 PM - Posted by Bewbreage (not verified)

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January 16, 2012 | 12:38 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

you're lying check the dell site yourself at least in Canada its still a $300 difference, and we all know that with identical systems, the 6990m would beat the 580m in most catigories, for a far cheaper price, and the added features of the 580m are really not that desirable especially for $300+

February 1, 2012 | 09:50 AM - Posted by Goldberry (not verified)

Hey guys i only play 1 game and that is World of Warcraft Cataclysm: Pls tell which GC would be suitable for online gaming the GTX 580M or the HD 6990M as im planning to run WOW in Ultra Settings Tyvm in advance.

February 4, 2012 | 09:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

the GeForce GTX 580m is now $300 more then the 6990 in the alienware.ca site

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