NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M refreshes mobile graphics midrange (update: hands-on pics)

Uh oh, just as we thought NVIDIA had moved beyond its penchant for rebadging hardware, here comes the vanguard of its 500M mobile GPU series -- which happens to be specced nearly identically to what's already on offer in the 400M family. The GT 540M chip maintains the same 96 CUDA cores and 128-bit memory interface as the GT 435M, but earns its new livery by cranking up graphics and processor clock speeds to 672MHz and 1344MHz, respectively, while also taking the onboard memory to a max speed of 900MHz. Power requirements have been kept unchanged, mind you, and NVIDIA itself admits it's exploiting the maturation of the production process to just throw out some speedier parts. China gets the GT 540M immediately, courtesy of Acer, while the rest of the world should be able to buy in at some point next month. Jump past the break for the full press release.

Update: We've managed to track down the particular Acer model that'll mark the GT 540M's debut, it's called the Aspire 4741G. The option we saw came equipped with a 2.66GHz Intel Core i5-480M processor, 4GB of RAM, a 640GB HDD, a Blu-ray disc drive, and a 14-inch screen up top. There's not much, aside from the new top cover design, to really distinguish this from the rest of Acer's Aspire line, with the keyboard in particular being the very same one that we've witnessed on Timeline series machines for over a year now -- comfortable, well spaced, but exhibiting quite a bit of flex around the Enter key. See more of it in the gallery below.

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NVIDIA GeForce 540M GPU launching in China

Today we introduced the GeForce GT 540M notebook GPU, the first GPU in our GeForce 500M family of notebook GPUs.

OEMs are launching these Optimized notebooks with GeForce GT 540M GPUs and dual-core "Arrandale" CPUs in order to hit mainstream price points sooner, ahead of Huron River dual-core platforms that will not be released until later in 2011. It is available immediately in China from Acer, and will be available worldwide next month.

With GeForce GT 540M, we are taking an already proven architecture and using the maturity of the manufacturing process to create GPUs with higher clock settings while staying in the same power envelope. As a result, the GeForce GT 540M delivers a significant increase in fill-rate and memory bandwidth, which ultimately translates to better overall performance.

GeForce GT 540M GPUs are DirectX 11 done right, and like all GeForce GPUs, they support the differentiating features that set our GPUs apart from the competition, including: NVIDIA Optimus technology, PhysX, 3D Vision, 3DTV Play, CUDA, and Verde drivers to keep your notebook optimized for tomorrow.