Two new laptop GPUs launched in NVIDIA’s low-end MX line. This classification of products is designed to slide above the GPUs found on typical laptop CPUs by a wide enough margin to justify an extra chip, but not enough to be endorsed as part of their gaming line.
As such, pretty much the only performance number that NVIDIA provides is an “up-to” factor relative to Intel’s HD620 iGPU as seen on the Core i5-8265U. For reference, the iGPU on this specific CPU has 192 shader units running at up to 1.1 GHz. Technically there exists some variants that have boost clocks up to 1.15 GHz but that extra 4.5% shouldn’t matter too much for this comparison.
Versus this part, the MX250 is rated as up to 3.5x faster; the MX230 is rated at up to 2.6x faster.
One thing that I should note is that the last generation’s MX150 is listed as up to 4x the Intel UHD 620, although they don’t state which specific CPU’s UHD 620.
This leads to a few possibilities:
- The MX250 has a minor performance regression versus the MX150 in the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 had significant driver optimizations in at least the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 that they tested back then is significantly slower than the i5-8265U
- They rounded differently then vs now
- They couldn’t include the previous “up to” test for some reason
Unfortunately, because NVIDIA is not releasing any specifics, we can only list possibilities and maybe speculate if one seems exceedingly likely. (To me, none of the first four stands out head-and-shoulders above the other three.)
Like the MX150 that came before it, both the MX230 and MX250 will use GDDR5 memory. The MX130 could be paired with either GDDR5 or DDR3.
Anandtech speculates that it is based on the GP108, which is a safe assumption. NVIDIA confirmed that the new parts are using the Pascal architecture, and the GP108 is the Pascal chip in that performance range. Anandtech also claims that the MX230 and MX250 are fabricated under Samsung 14nm, while the “typical” MX150 is TSMC 16nm. The Wikipedia list of NVIDIA graphics, however, claims that the MX150 is fabricated at 14nm. While both could be right, a die shrink would make a bit of sense to squeeze out a few more chips from a wafer (if yields are relatively equal). If that’s the case, and they changed manufacturers, then there might be a slight revision change to the GP108; these changes happen frequently, and their effects should be invisible to the end user… but sometimes they make a difference.
It’ll be interesting to see benchmarks when they hit the market.