New MX-Series GPUs By Nvidia – The GeForce MX250 & MX230 Launched!

With the launch of their new GeForce RTX and GTX Series GPUs already, it was time for NVIDIA to update their low-end GPUs as well, and that time has finally arrived. Quietly published on Nvidia’s official website are the MX-series of the notebook GPUs. Nvidia’s GeForce MX230 and GeForce MX250 have just been announced and should be available soon, which happens to be April for the latter GPUs. Both of these Pascal GPUs will eventually replace Nvidia’s current gen GeForce MX110/130/150 GPUs.

The new MX-Series GPUs are intended to deliver better graphics power than the current gen Intel integrated GPUs, but will still slot below the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti gaming GPUs as the previous generation. The GeForce MX-Series GPUs are only meant to suffice for basic games and 3D acceleration. They will mostly be found in thin and light laptops that can’t house large cooling mechanisms. The two new GPUs will most likely begin to show up in new laptops soon, as Nvidia has just made them public.

The new GeForce MX250 and GeForce MX230 will compete against integrated Vega GPUs by AMD, which are rather powerful for basic gaming. It is believed that the new GeForce MX250 could be a renamed MX150, which would explain most of Nvidia’s performance scores. Nvidia is saying very little about the new GPUs, the official specifications don’t include anything about clockspeeds, CUDA cores, ROPs, etc. These are certainly cut-down GP108 parts, similar to the previous gen MX150. So we’re probably looking at 384 (or fewer) CUDA cores at various different frequencies, attached to GDDR5 over a 64-bit memory bus.

Instead, NVIDIA only confirms a basic set of features for the GPUs -:

  • Both GPUs use GDDR5 memory.
  • Both feature GPU boost functionality.
  • Both are based on the company’s old Pascal architecture.
  • Both GPUs use the PCIe 3.0 interface.
  • List of supported standards -: DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL 4.6, and OpenCL 1.2.
Anigma TechTypical MX250Typical MX230
CUDA Cores384384?
ROPs1616?
Boost ClockVariable(Lower than MX250)
Memory TypeGDDR5GDDR5
Memory Bus Width64-bit64-bit
VRAM<=4GB<=2GB
GPUGP108GP108
Manufacturing ProcessSamsung 14nmSamsung 14nm
Launch Date02/21/201902/21/2019

NVIDIA’s low-end GPUs such as the MX-Series have typically been half a generation or so behind their leading parts, so the new MX250 and MX230 are no exceptions this time as well. Leaving this aside, as the previous MX130 based on Maxwell (GM108) was sometimes paired with the slower GDDR3, so this is actually a big step up for these parts. Still, clock speed is going to mostly decide the performance scores, as these low-end parts tend to ship with a wide variety of clock speeds depending on what a laptop manufacturer needs and wants to provide.

NVIDIA for its part does offer their “GeForce Performance Score”, but since these values are relative to a floating target – In this case, Nvidia claims performance increases of 3.5X and 2.6X for the two new GPUs respectively compared to Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 iGPU, as tested on a Core i5-8265U CPU, which is one of Intel’s most recent ‘Whiskey Lake’ family processors. Though, Nvidia has not published what games or workloads it has used to arrive at those figures. There is also no solid information of how the new GPUs stack up against their predecessors.

Of course, it’s important to note that laptop GPU performance of the same product can vary by the OEM. Just like the GeForce MX150, the MX250 is expected to also come in two variants: One with a 25W TDP and one with a lower-performance 10W TDP.

Though, Intel is not gonna fall behind if the performance number of Nvidia’s low-end GPUs are only 2-4 times better than their current Gen iGPU. Intel is working on a major overhaul of its graphics capabilities, following the hiring of the former AMD graphics chief, Raja Koduri. Also, Intel has made no secret whatsoever of its ambitions in the integrated and discrete GPU markets and could turn into a third player soon. The upcoming Gen 11 iGPU is rumored to be much more powerful than the current Gen 9 GPUs that have not been upgraded significantly in the previous years.

Based on NVIDIA’s previous release cadences for their low-end laptop GPUs, we can expect to see these new processors show up in laptops in the very near future. As always, these parts are like to be paired with Intel U-series processors.

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