Ah rebadging, graphics card companies' dirty little not-so-secret. They may call it refreshing, but cynics use the less-flattering term to describe boards that get a itty-bitty upgrade -- along with a brand-new name that looks better on spec sheets.
Nvidia has gone to this well again, taking its GeForce GT 435M mobile graphics, bumping up some clock speeds, and -- voila -- it now has the GT 540M. It comes with the same number of CUDA cores -- 96 -- and the 128-bit memory interface that the 435M has, but through the "refinement" process has been tweaked to deliver slightly better performance.
Specifically, the processor clock speed has been bumped to 1344MHz, the graphics clock speed to 672MHz, and the memory clock speed to 900MHz; in comparison, the GT 435M has 1300MHz processor clock speed, 650MHz graphics clock speed, and 800MHz memory clock speed. How much that translates in terms of performance boost will be revealed with some benchmark testing, but the educated guess is not much.
According to Engadget, the first laptop sporting the new GeForce GT 540M is the Acer Aspire 4741G, which can be offered in a number of configurations, though Engadget has learned of one that includes an Intel Core i5-480M processor, Blu-ray drive, and a 14-inch screen. Expect to see it pop up soon on a number of other midrange notebooks, though now you won't be fooled into thinking it's a spanking new video card.