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NVIDIA: there's nothing 'Ultra' about Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks unless you add Kepler

Sharif Sakr
04.23.12
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This is a vaguely awkward message for NVIDIA to be putting out. On one hand, the company is best buddies with Intel and is hoping to see its next-gen GPUs bundled with a large portion of the Ivy Bridge notebooks that will ship this year. But to reach that target, it must risk irking Chipzilla by emphasizing the limitations of Ivy Bridge's integrated graphics. That's exactly what happened at a recent presentation, when NVIDIA told us there'll be "nothing Ultra" about the performance of a regular Ivy Bridge Ultrabook because the integrated HD 4000 graphics will only handle around 43 percent of current games. By contrast, if you add in a GeForce GT 640M you'll find that 100 percent of current games are playable with frame rates over 30fps and high detail settings, including Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, Crysis 2 and many others. If you leave the lightweight Ultrabook spec behind and combine Ivy Bridge with a GT 670M GPU then you can go even higher -- as we just discovered in our review of the MSI's GT70 gaming laptop. Fortunately, Intel was pretty magnanimous about HD 4000 when it briefed us, and readily accepted that enthusiasts will still want discrete graphics, so we don't imagine the slide above will cause too many hurt feelings.

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