introduction of the 400M series of mobile GPUs would bring about a slew of hot new laptops to drop into our gaming boudoirs, but we are in fact left facing more of the same. Externally, anyhow. The chipmaker rolled out the green carpet for a set of upcoming machines in London today, but they were refreshes, rather than overhauls, of current hardware. The big news is to be found within, as the new GTX 460M has made a home inside the updated ASUS G53, Toshiba Qosmio X505, and MSI GT663. The common thread among these three is that they're all big and hefty, and all emit a subtle vroom sound every time you touch them. What we learned from NVIDIA today is that the GTX 480M will remain an exotic (you might even call it quixotic) GPU reserved for large-screen gaming stations, the GTX 470M will similarly be an enthusiast part, and the GTX 460M will be the company's big play for the mainstream performance market. It also became clear that even the third GPU in the company's mobile hierarchy will need quite a bulky cooling setup (and a proportionately huge charger) to do its job, but NVIDIA's promises of much-improved performance might just make it worthwhile.
As to the more sane among us, there was a selection of pleasingly thinner machines, like the ASUS N53 and Acer Aspire 5745, which make do with the lower-specced GT 420M and GT 425M graphics chips. Those are expected to be NVIDIA's biggest sellers, and the video demo after the break of the 425M churning through StarCraft II is certainly appealing. We should note, however, that the latest (though definitely not greatest) Prince of Persia game was also on tap on one of these machines and its frame rate gave us a delightful old-timey feeling any time we entered combat with its emulation of stop-motion animation. So, as ever, it's looking like great graphics will require great rigs, but we can probably expect a decent -- not game-changing (get it?) -- leap in performance among the lighter options as well.