NVIDIA RTX 30 Series Laptop GPUs Launch – But Mind Your TDPs
The best way around the ongoing desktop hardware shortage is, obviously, to buy a gaming laptop instead! (Or follow my questionable advice to sell your GPU and make 2021 the year of DOSBox gaming on integrated graphics. Either one.)
On the mobile front the new Geforce RTX 30 Series laptops just dropped via a number of new SKUs from the usual suspects, but there’s this little thing about Max-Q and TDPs this time around. With the RTX 3080 and 3070 GPUs for notebooks there won’t be a Max-Q specification, though 3rd generation Max-Q is part of the deal. Make sense?
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptops page showcases the technologies that make up the latest incarnation of Max-Q, calling it “a system wide approach to deliver high performance in thin and light gaming laptops”. We now have to start thinking about the available performance of a given GPU based on TDP limits, making this feature independent of any specific branding this time (i.e. RTX 2080 Max-Q vs. RTX 2080).
As NVIDIA explains:
“Every aspect of the laptop, chip, software, PCB design, power delivery, and thermals, are optimized for power and performance. Our 3rd gen Max-Q technologies use AI and new system optimizations to make high performance gaming laptops faster and better than ever.”
The technologies making up this 3rd gen Max-Q are (quoting NVIDIA):
- Dynamic Boost 2.0 – New AI-powered Dynamic Boost 2.0 automatically delivers the needed power between the GPU, GPU memory, and CPU for a larger performance boost than ever before. The AI networks in Dynamic Boost 2.0 manage power on a per-frame basis, so your laptop is constantly optimizing for maximum performance while you’re gaming and creating
- Whisper Mode 2.0 – WhisperMode 2.0 delivers a new level of acoustic control for gaming laptops. It’s been reengineered from the ground up and custom built into laptops at a system-level. You pick your desired acoustic level, and WhisperMode 2.0’s AI-powered algorithms manage the CPU, GPU, system temperatures, and fan speeds to deliver great acoustics and the best possible performance
- Resizable BAR – Resizable BAR is an advanced PCI Express feature that enables the CPU to access the entire GPU frame buffer at once, improving performance in many games
- DLSS – NVIDIA DLSS delivers a massive performance boost at the same power by using the Tensor Cores to do groundbreaking AI rendering
Yes, resizable BAR – everyone’s favorite new/old PCI Express feature – is available with the new RTX 30 Series notebook GPU platforms
Technically-minded people who read websites like this probably won’t have any trouble seeking out TDP info about a GPU, provided that all vendors follow NVIDIA’s recommendation – “we strongly encourage OEMs to list clocks and other technologies a laptop supports” (via Tom’s Hardware). But even with technical disclosures about a given model’s specs this 30 Series launch has the potential to create confusion for average consumes, as there will be multiple performance levels available with the same product name.
For a look at what to expect from these RTX 30 Series notebook GPUs, check out Notebookcheck’s RTX 3070/3080 performance testing. They also offer this handy chart to help understand the differences between the notebook and desktop versions of each GPU: