updated 09:10 am EST, Wed January 13, 2010
GeForce 300M uses 40nm, more shaders
Although it outlined some products at CES, NVIDIA has now formally detailed its GeForce 300M graphics line. The new series still uses a DirectX 10-level (OpenGL 2.1) architecture but is more efficient, in some cases using as many as 50 percent more shader (visual effect) cores. The series continues to provide full hardware video decoding and supports general-purpose computing like CUDA and OpenCL.
While no ultra-high end chipsets are included in the early launch, the high-performance line includes the GTS 360M and GTS 350M. Both of these are drop-in replacements for the 260M and 250M and are primarily slight clock speed increases; they still have a similar 96 cores and video memory up to 2GHz. They should be the only 300M series parts that support PhysX acceleration for certain games.
The most significant updates target the mid-range and small or thin designs like the Alienware M11x. The GT 335M makes the largest leap in performance of the entire series and carries 72 cores and up to DDR3-speed 1,066MHz memory. Below it, the GT 330M and GT 325M have the same 48 cores as NVIDIA's previous middling models and are primarily clock speed boosts versus the older GT 240M.
Two budget models, the 310M and 305M, replace the 210M and 105M. Either has 16 cores and is primarily a speed increase.
Notebooks with the newer graphics will have varying ship dates but should arrive in the near future.