Acer Jumps the Gun, NVIDIA Launches Kepler: Meet GeForce GT 640M
3/13/2012 by: Theo Valich
NVIDIA has informed us that Acer has put the Acer Aspire Timeline M3 Ultrabook for sale early, and the company decided to lift the embargo early for the mobile part.
World, meet Kepler - the GeForce GT 640M
This makes the very first graphics chip based on the Kepler architecture a mobile one, and an impressive one to boot. The Acer Aspire Timeline M3-581TG is a 15.6” Ultrabook with a full sized keyboard. The M3 fits Intel’s Ultrabook restrictions but still has a lot of performance in a portable package which allegedly can last eight hours or more on battery power.
Acer Aspire Timeline M3-581TG on a bed at Hyatt Regency Santa Clara... less than two miles from NVIDIA HQ, one of locations where Kepler was born.
The M3 is based on an Intel Core i7-2637M (1.7GHz dual-core, 4MB of L3 cache), 4GB DDR3-1333, 256GB SSD, a mere 3-cell Li-Polymer battery and star of the show - the GeForce GT 640M 1GB. The GT 640M 1GB is based on the chip known as the GK107, and we are talking about 384 cores operating up to 625MHz. From the screenshot above, you can see that the standard clock rate is 405 MHz for the GPU. When idling, the GPU dips to 135MHz to conserve power, while the memory is operating at 910MHz in DDR mode i.e. 1.8 billion transfers per second, resulting in video memory bandwidth of 28.8 GB/s.
As you might expected, this Kepler GPU part is built using TSMC's 28nm process, which enabled NVIDIA to put a discrete GPU in an Ultrabook form factor.
The power of Kepler results with enjoyable framerate gaming in an Ultrabook. Now Acer, why only one USB 3.0 port?
The image above shows the thickness (or the lack of thereof) of the new Acer Aspire Timeline M3 Ultrabook. In less than 20mm, i.e. about 75% of a quarter, Acer crammed three USB ports, high-speed HDMI (full name is HDMI 1.4a 3GHz, and as a side note - seriously HDMI Licensing LLC, can you make a more complicated and engineering name than this one? Wait, don’t answer that - we don’t want “HDMI 1.5v3 6GHz Turbo”).
Sadly, out of those three USB ports, only one is USB 3.0, which we feel is a bit of a letdown. Acer should have included two USB 3.0 ports. Also, if you put your USB 3.0 device in a USB 2.0 port, Windows will alert you to that fact that “You can improve the speed of your device by connecting it into SuperSpeed USB port. For the list of ports, click here.”
Given that we have only just received the proper drivers from NVIDIA, we will bring you a more detailed review soon. The original drivers were invalid and were showing incorrect clocks, such as the 405 MHz for the GPU and 810 for the shaders. As we previously disclosed, GeForce GT 640M has a unified clock of up to 625MHz and these were our experiences with Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (Full details: 95-107fps), F1 2011 (Full Details: 37fps), and Skyrim, which did not stutter as much - 27-34 fps with details on Ultra.
A detailed review is forthcoming.
NVIDIA, NVDA, Kepler, NVIDIA Kepler, GK107, Acer, Acer Aspire, Acer Ultrabook, Acer Kepler, Kepler Ultrabook, GeForce, GeForce GT 640M, GeForce 640M, GT 640M, 28nm, TSMC, NVIDIA Ultrabook, GeForce Ultrabook, Samsung, CES 2012, GeForce GTX 675, 1GB, 2GB, GDDR5
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