Mobile Nvidia Fermi details emerge

Laptop maker Eurocom has unwittingly staggered into the tech spotlight after spilling the beans about Nvidia’s next-generation mobile GPU a month before its release.

After being tipped off by an eagle-eyed reader, the guys over at Engadget found a GeForce 480M listed in the graphics options menu for Eurocom’s W870CU Cheetah laptop. Although the menu listing has now been deleted from Eurocom’s site, The TechReport has taken a full screenshot of it here.

According to the listing, the 480M will be an option for Eurocom’s forthcoming W880CU Cheetah 2 laptop, with stock expected to arrive in June. No details about the number of stream processors, or even the clock speeds, were revealed, but the listing did say that the 40nm chip would come on an MXM module with a whopping 2GB of GDDR5 memory.

Perhaps the most interesting specification, however, is the TDP, which Eurocom said was a massive 100W – over double the power consumption of a quad-core Core i7 820QM CPU. That’s certainly stretching the definition of a mobile GPU to the limits in terms of power consumption, and that GPU is going to need some serious cooling too.

This shouldn’t be a problem inside the large Cheetah chassis, though. The current W870CU case has room for three hard drives, and can happily cool a GeForce GTX 285M with a TDP of 75W, so there’s clearly plenty of room for the necessary cooling equipment.

It doesn’t look like the new chip will be a cheap upgrade either. The W870CU comes with a Radeon HD 5870 by default, but the menu said you would have to add another $380 CAD (£245.10) to get the GeForce GTX 480M. That said, gamers will need plenty of GPU horsepower if they want to play games at the W870CU’s native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 on the 17.3in screen.

Although we have no information about the other specs of the chip, Nvidia has previously knocked the stream processor count on mobile GPUs to half that of their desktop counterparts. As such, it’s quite possible that the GeForce GTX 480M will be based on the rumoured GF104 chip, which is reported to have 256 stream processors.

Nvidia declined to comment on the rumour, saying that it couldn’t discuss unannounced products.