Alongside Intel’s new mobile 10th Generation H Series processor launch, Nvidia has announced that its GeForce RTX Super GPUs are coming to laptops.
The GeForce RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super, in particular, are making the jump from desktop to laptop, and will be in your favorite mobile machines later this spring. In addition, improved Max-Q technology will ensure that performance increases across every price tier, and in thin laptops as well as in chunkier ones. Most of the major PC makers already announced their new gaming laptops that will carry these new GPUs—check out our exhaustive rundown here.
Reaching RTX Super Speeds on Mobile
On the desktop, the GeForce RTX Super series arrived as something of a surprise in July 2019. (See our reviews of the GeForce RTX 2070 Super and GeForce RTX 2080 Super desktop cards for much more background.) The Super versions of the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 delivered better performance than the original graphics cards at a lower price point. It was something of a course correction for Nvidia, lowering the eye-watering costs of its top-of-the line GPUs to something a bit more palatable. In practice, Super-izing the GeForce RTX 2070 turned it nearly into an RTX 2080, at a lower price than the original stock model.
The RTX Super cards were, essentially, upticked versions of the originals that added a nice percentage increase, but they didn’t reinvent the platform. In our testing, we saw gains on different applications between 7 and 15 percent compared to the non-Super versions, and again at a lower price. For more details on how exactly Nvidia achieved this, head over to our reviews of the desktop cards mentioned above. This band of Super cards also includes the GeForce RTX 2060 Super, which will not be making its way to laptops, at least for the time being.
With laptops, you don’t directly pay in full for a GPU as you do when buying a desktop graphics card, but these mobile versions of the GeForce RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super GPUs will deliver better value to laptops nonetheless. It’s shifting the whole stack, and you will be able get in the GeForce RTX door with RTX 2060-bearing laptops starting at just around Rs.1,60,000. The GeForce GTX 1650 represents the low end of the current hierarchy, and laptops with that basic gaming GPU will sell starting at around Rs.1,00,000. Laptops based on the two RTX Super GPUs should remain roughly equivalent to the price tiers of existing laptops using the non-Super RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 chips.
Doubling Down on Efficiency: Max-Q, Dynamic Boost
I’ve written an in-depth explainer on Max-Q, so familiarize yourself if you’re unsure what the term means. In short, it’s Nvidia’s way of down-tuning some of its higher-end GPUs so that they can run efficiently and cool enough in slim laptops. With lower output potential, they don’t generate as much heat, and need less cooling—a good fit for laptops that don’t have room for more thermal hardware.
This allows Nvidia to pack as much power inside a thin laptop as possible, which is partially why gaming laptops are so much sleeker these days than they used to be. Other aspects of Nvidia technologies also fall within the purview of Max-Q for laptops, as you’ll see as you read on. Note that these don’t apply retroactively to old Max-Q machines—there are physical hardware changes in upcoming laptops that enable these advances.
Today, Nvidia is claiming that it has doubled the efficiency of Max-Q with several advancements. This isn’t referring to efficiency as pure performance, but effectiveness and battery life. One major key is something called Dynamic Boost.
Prior to Dynamic Boost, the wattage of a system remained static—the CPU used a set, certain amount, and the GPU used a set, certain amount. If one segment of a game required more out of the GPU at a given time, it only had so much wattage to give, while some was simultaneously being allocated to the CPU that it didn’t need at that moment. The GPU could have utilized the wattage in that moment because it was being taxed more by the game, while the CPU sat on power it didn’t need, essentially leaving it on the table.
Dynamic Boost addresses that lost potential. It detects whether a game is straining the processor or the GPU more, and automatically allocates wattage accordingly. This should allow the GPU to call upon more of the machine’s total power, pushing the frames it may have otherwise been unable to. It works in reverse, as well, if a game (or section of a game) is more CPU-bound.
Nvidia says there should be some fairly meaningful gains from this development, of between 5 and 10 percent depending on the game and the hardware. That’s not necessarily going to propel you between performance tiers, but considering it’s basically free added performance, it’s a nice deal.
Even More Battery Life
Next up is Advanced Optimus. Optimus itself is not new, existing for years as a technology that allowed your laptop to automatically switch between its integrated graphics and its discrete Nvidia GPU. Now, it’s more efficient, and it works with G-Sync for the first time. Dynamic Display Switching, as it’s called, allows G-Sync to kick in on the fly even while Optimus is still active. This can be used in screens as advanced as 4K-resolution 120Hz panels.
Important note is that GeForce RTX GPUs will also continue coming to creator-focused laptops, not just gaming models. These potent GPUs are good not just for gaming, but also for powering 3D-based applications used by creative professionals. The Nvidia Studio moniker is used for these laptops, and more are on the way.