Yes, NVIDIA's naming scheme really is all over the place, but here's what you need to know: as of today, the fastest mobile GPU coming from Jen-Hsun Huang's team will be the GeForce GTX 485. That chip will be equipped with a 256-bit memory interface and GDDR5 RAM and succeed the GTX 480M as the king of the (relatively) mobile castle. Moving up in numbers, but not performance, the new GT 520M, 525M, 540M, 550M, and 555M represent very mild refreshes of their 400M series counterparts. We were initially unimpressed by NVIDIA's decision to keep things stagnant but for some more aggressive clock speeds at the same TDP envelopes, but a recent review of the earlier-launched GT 540M showed appreciable gains from its predecessor, so maybe these graphics gurus actually know what they're doing.

We've gathered some imagery of early units sporting NVIDIA's new graphics hardware -- notably paired with Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs -- in the galleries below, but we'll surely have more for you as we explore the halls of CES. After all, NVIDIA has an awesome 200 design wins combining its tech with Intel's latest, there should be plenty of previously unseen hardware for us to find. In the mean time, skip past the break to see a couple of benchmark runs showing off NVIDIA's new graphics processors.
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NVIDIA GeForce GT 500M family laptops

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NVIDIA GeForce GT 500M series laptops hands-on

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NVIDIA GeForce 500M Series GPUs Power Top Notebooks of 2011

Designed for the 2nd-Generation Intel Core Processor Family, New GPU Series Offers Category-Leading Performance and Features NVIDIA Optimus Technology

LAS VEGAS, NV -- (Marketwire) -- 01/05/2011 -- CES 2011 -- NVIDIA today announced the GeForce® 500M series of notebook graphics processing units (GPUs), designed to power laptops featuring next-generation Intel Core CPUs (Sandy Bridge).

GeForce 500M GPUs are expected to power some of the industry's best notebooks in 2011. The GPUs feature category-leading performance in media-rich HD, 3D, Web, and Gaming applications, as well as enhanced battery life, courtesy of NVIDIA Optimus™ technology. NVIDIA Optimus technology enables extra long battery life by switching on and off the GPU so that it runs only when needed.

The new GPUs being introduced today include:

* For performance users: GeForce GT 540M, GeForce GT 550M, and GeForce GT 555M with over four times the performance of integrated graphics and twice the DirectX 11 performance of the competition.
* For mainstream users: GeForce GT 520M and GeForce GT 525M offering over twice the performance of integrated graphics.

Only NVIDIA GPUs support NVIDIA Optimus technology, which enables extra-long battery life by automatically switching on and off the GPU so that it runs only when needed. Introduced less than a year ago, NVIDIA Optimus is now designed into over 80% of 500M Series notebooks across leading OEMs.

"GeForce GT 500M GPUs combined with Optimus technology enable the most versatile laptops ever created," said Rene Haas, general manager of notebook business at NVIDIA. "Pairing a great GPU with a strong CPU delivers Optimized notebook performance for consumers."

Only NVIDIA GeForce 500M GPUs offer:

* NVIDIA 3D Vision™ technology support for eye-popping immersive 3D environments
* DirectX 11 support for the most visually stunning gaming experiences
* PhysX™ physics engine support for experiencing games with realistic physics effects
* CUDA™ architecture support for general purpose GPU computing applications
* NVIDIA Verde™ notebook drivers for system stability and optimal performance
* Support for NVIDIA 3DTV Play™ software for delivering 3D content from your PC to a 3D TV

Acer, Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Dell, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Medion, MSI, Samsung, Toshiba and others announced GeForce 500M-based systems at CES this year, and represent a fraction of the over 200 design wins from leading notebook manufacturers for GeForce 500M GPUs. For more information on GeForce 500M Series GPUs, please visit www.nvidia.com.

About NVIDIA
NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to the power of computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Since then, it has consistently set new standards in visual computing with breathtaking, interactive graphics available on devices ranging from tablets and portable media players to notebooks and workstations. NVIDIA's expertise in programmable GPUs has led to breakthroughs in parallel processing which make supercomputing inexpensive and widely accessible. The Company holds more than 1,600 patents worldwide, including ones covering designs and insights that are essential to modern computing. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.

Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to statements as to: the benefits, features and impact of the NVIDIA GeForce 500M series GPUs and NVIDIA Optimus technology; and the effects of the company's patents on modern computing are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: global economic conditions; our reliance on third parties to manufacture, assemble, package and test our products; the impact of technological development and competition; development of faster or more efficient technology; design, manufacturing or software defects; changes in consumer preferences or demands; changes in industry standards and interfaces; unexpected loss of performance of our products or technologies when integrated into systems; as well as other factors detailed from time to time in the reports NVIDIA files with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, including its Form 10-Q for the fiscal period ended October 31, 2010. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on the company's website and are available from NVIDIA without charge. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and speak only as of the date hereof, and, except as required by law, NVIDIA disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.