This is how Nvidia does its trick with notebook GPUs

According to the latest information, Nvidia is simplifying the classification of RTX 30 chips for laptops. Is that a good idea?

Introduced at CES 2021 specifically for gaming notebooks, the RTX 30 Series chips can take the portable gaming experience to the next level with more powerful ray-tracing and enhanced DLSS technology. Everyone is counting on a successful market start, with the players in the gaming notebook market immediately launching a full product family conquest for the hearts of the players. However, according to the latest information, there will be a bit of a problem here right before the first date.

Even when announcing the big notebook manufacturers, it was not necessarily possible to know which versions (Max-Q or Max-P) would be installed in their machines of different sizes and looks. Yet NVIDIA at the time set the stage for the GTX 10 Series Max-Q releases quite precisely: they were made for extremely light and thin laptops that created a quasi-new gaming notebook category.

BatteryBoost and WhisperMode software support has been developed for this hardware offering, and NVIDIA has also formulated specific hardware design requirements for its partner manufacturers. In other words, it was not possible to launch a Max-Qs configuration.

Well, it looks like the separate paths of the Max-Q and the full-speed Max-P are now converging, and we won’t know which one works specifically for the notebook I purchased. According to the latest information, NVIDIA has a fairly flexible approach to chip configuration in the RTX 30 series; it is entirely up to notebook manufacturers to choose which configuration to choose for a given GPU.

As you can see in the table, the key factor here is GPU Subsystem Power, which can be an interval rather than a specific value. So e.g. ASUS or MSI may decide to set a minimum or maximum (perhaps intermediate) consumption limit depending on the capabilities of the motherboard power supply or cooling system. Based on this, players may encounter such “oddities” that e.g. set to 115W, the RTX 3060 laptop can outperform the RTX 3080 configuration, which manages a much restrained 80W frame.

In 2018, the first Max-Q laptops were introduced

By the way, this might not be a problem on its own, the first graphics chip of the GTX 1080 Max-Q release showed similar differences compared to the Max-P versions. What’s new in this story is that neither NVIDIA henceforth marks the specific GPU with the known addition, nor does notebook manufacturers have to indicate what power consumption GPU is running on the machine. We will only see: RTX 3080 Mobile GPU; however, it doesn’t really matter if it was integrated in Max-Q or Max-P way.

A clock difference of up to 40% between the minimum and maximum TDP can be measured, so it would be appropriate to display additional information. With the new gaming laptops with 240 and 360 Hz displays, the difference will be immediately noticeable and we would not be in a position to face it only after the purchase.


Source: PC World Online Hírek by pcworld.hu.

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