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Hardware  » cheapest laptop with nvidia 650-680m card.

10 posts found

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2094

OP  7/19/12 12:41:04 AM#1

Wondering if anyone knows.  Looking for under 700 bucks.


Novice Member

Joined: 7/13/04
Posts: 222

A lost gamer looking for the MMO of his dreams.

7/19/12 12:45:52 AM#2

Best bet is to go to newegg.  I doubt though you will find a laptop for 700 dollars that has the graphics card you want.  I could be wrong, but last time I looked, the high 600 series cards were anywhere from 14-1800 dollars for the laptop.


Novice Member

Joined: 10/06/11
Posts: 338

"A fool learns from his own mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others."

7/19/12 12:49:29 AM#3

my Asus with only a 560m cost me $1000 at best buy


Novice Member

Joined: 2/17/11
Posts: 76

7/19/12 1:04:57 AM#4

Forget Newegg.. Their prices aren't what they used to be. <- Some of the best gaming laptops you will find at lower prices than the actual retailers. I bought my Sager from them for what might have cost me 200 to 300 bucks more from the company itself. Well worth it. :)



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13958

7/19/12 9:16:12 AM#5

There are five cards in your stated range:  the GeForce GT 650M, GTX 660M, GTX 670M, GTX 675M, and GTX 680M.  The 670M and 675M are old Fermi rebrands, and you don't want that in a laptop.  The GTX 680M is the most expensive anything, and far more expensive even than AMD's top of the line Radeon HD 7970M.

That leaves the GT 650M and GTX 660M, which are two different bins of Nvidia's GK107 die.  For some reason, the GTX 660M seems to cost far more than the GT 650M, which makes me suspicious of the latter.  Often in laptops, different bins of the same die cost about the same; the clock speeds are different, but the lower clock speed versions are lower power consumption.

You know what else makes me suspicious of the GT 650M?  Check out the specs of the two cards:

The top bin GTX 660M is 835 MHz.  The lower bin GT 650M is "up to" 900 MHz.  Think Nvidia will make the latter card faster than the slower?

The next line gives the texture fill rate.  The GK107 die has 32 TMUs, so the texture fill rate should be 32 times the clock speed.  A clock speed of 835 MHz would give a texture fill rate of 26.72 GT/s.  Nvidia lists the GeForce GTX 660M as having a texture fill rate of 30.4--which would mean a clock speed of 950 MHz.  A clock speed of 900 MHz would give a texture fill rate of 28.8 GT/s, while the GT 650 only has a fill rate of "up to" 27.2 GT/s, which would correspond to a clock speed of 850 MHz.

Go down to the memory bandwidth.  GK107 has a 128-bit memory bus, which means that the memory bandwidth in GB/s will be 64 times the clock speed in GHz if it's GDDR5 memory, or 32 times the clock speed if it's DDR3.  The GeForce GTX 660M has memory bandwidth of 64 GB/s, which means a clock speed of 1 GHz.  The GeForce GT 650M can have either DDR3 or GDDR5 memory, and has memory bandwidth of "up to" 80 GB/s.  That would mean either 1.25 GHz GDDR5 or 2.5 GHz DDR3.  The former would be a terminally stupid choice for 2 GB of video memory in a low power card.  The latter would constitute a world record memory overclock, and by a large margin.

Confused yet?  That's kind of my point.  The standard GeForce GTX 660M specs are probably what Nvidia tells you they are.  But the GT 650M?  Nvidia won't say what that is, so it could be just about anything.  If you can find the exact clock speeds and the memory type, you're fine.

But they're probably playing a game where they'll either give the card GDDR5 memory and a low core clock speed (which cripples the card), or else a higher core clock speed and DDR3 memory (which also cripples the card).  The latter would be particularly troublesome.  Reviews of the desktop GeForce GT 640, which is based on the same GK107 die, found that the card was roughly even with a DDR3 version of a Radeon HD 6670, which will probably be only a little bit faster than Trinity integrated graphics paired with 1866 MHz memory.

What happens when you put the same chips in a laptop?  Everything gets clocked way down, but does the order of performance necessarily change?  Would a DDR3 version of a GeForce GT 650M outperform Radeon HD 7660G integrated graphics when paired with 1600 MHz DDR3 memory?  Probably.  By enough to justify having a discrete card in the first place?  Likely not.  If paired with GDDR5 memory and given an adequate core clock speed, the card should perform much better.

The upshot is that you can't just look for a "GeForce GT 650M" and assume that it will be good.  You need to find the exact specs, and that can be hard to do.  If it has GDDR5 memory and a decently high core clock speed (say, 800 MHz), then you're set and it will be a nice card.  But if you can't find both of those specs and the laptop seems cheap, it's probably cheaper for a reason--which probably isn't because Nvidia wanted to give you a great deal.

In contrast, look at the specs on AMD's laptop cards:

The Radeon HD 7770M, 7750M, and 7730M all use the "Cape Verde" GPU die, with two of the 10 CUs disabled.  The first two have GDDR5 memory clocked at 1 GHz.  The last one has DDR3 clocked at 900 MHz.  The core clock speeds are 675 MHz, 575 MHz, and 575-675 MHz, respectively.  If that last one sounds like too much wiggle room, the reason is that AMD lets laptop vendors clock it down to save on power consumption if they want to.

But there's none of this "up to" whatever nonsense or contradictory specs, which invites things like this:

There is "up to" 2 GB of video memory in some cases, but at this level of card performance, the difference between 1 GB and 2 GB doesn't particularly matter, and video cards will tend to state the amount of video memory, anyway.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2094

OP  7/19/12 1:25:36 PM#6

Right, I'm shopping for price first and foremost, so any help in that department would be great, I can inspect the results more closely later.


If you are pitching amd, that's fine, give me some notebooks 700 or less with gcards of comparable specs, hopefully of a make that I can research and find benchmark scores for. 


But I need actual links and stuff lol.



Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13958

7/19/12 2:10:25 PM#7

You're not going to find a GeForce GTX 660M for anywhere near $700.  You probably won't find any version of a GeForce GT 650M near $700, either.  If you want to stay within a $700 budget, you could try this:

Upgrade to an A8-4500M processor and a Radeon HD 7730M video card and it comes to $675.  The memory channels are mismatched and 1/3 of the integrated GPU is disabled, but that doesn't matter if you're getting a discrete video card.

It is a 5400 RPM hard drive and a 1366x768 monitor, but those are the sacrifices you make if you want a $700 laptop with a discrete video card that is faster than integrated graphics.

From the specs, I'm guessing that a Radeon HD 7730M would perform about as well as a DDR3 version of a GeForce GT 650M.  But that's just a guess.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/31/06
Posts: 2094

OP  7/22/12 8:36:04 PM#8
Only thing I've found so far says 640m is better than 7730, and I've already seen a laptop with 640m for 700 I think at office max or walmart. Might be what I have to go with.


Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13958

7/22/12 8:45:00 PM#9
Originally posted by adam_nox
Only thing I've found so far says 640m is better than 7730, and I've already seen a laptop with 640m for 700 I think at office max or walmart. Might be what I have to go with.

There are several different 640M cards, at least one of which is an old Fermi rebrand, and that's definitely not what you want.  So while it's plausible that there is one 640M that is faster than a 7730, you'd better check the specs carefully.  If it doesn't explicitly say 384 shaders ("CUDA cores" in Nvidia marketing-speak), it's likely the wrong card.  You'd best also check the memory type, too.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/07/12
Posts: 1

10/07/12 7:26:59 AM#10
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by adam_nox
Only thing I've found so far says 640m is better than 7730, and I've already seen a laptop with 640m for 700 I think at office max or walmart. Might be what I have to go with.

There are several different 640M cards, at least one of which is an old Fermi rebrand, and that's definitely not what you want.  So while it's plausible that there is one 640M that is faster than a 7730, you'd better check the specs carefully.  If it doesn't explicitly say 384 shaders ("CUDA cores" in Nvidia marketing-speak), it's likely the wrong card.  You'd best also check the memory type, too.

I know that this is an old thread but I too am looking for a 650m or 660m around $700.

I just wanted to say thank you to Quizzical for such an informative post. Thanks for taking the time to write such an informative article as I've learned quiet a few things from it.

I agree with you that Nvidia is being a bit sneaky with their wording.

Guess they purposfully gimp the same ship to so they can say that they are competeing in a lower bracket when they could just put full 660M into a lot of laptops...