With the complete launch of the Pascal-based GTX-10 series family (1080, 1070, 1060 and Titan X) for the desktop market, NVIDIA’s next move is rather obvious – to bring the Pascal family to the laptop market.
Where NVIDIA’s previous modus operandi has been to release scaled-down versions of their desktop GPUs for laptops that comes marked with a “M” denotation (e.g., GTX 970M would be based on a desktop-class GTX 970), the graphics chipset maker will bring the full Pascal performance to laptops this time. That’s right, desktop-equivalent GTX 10-series GPUs for laptops. Not scaled-down “M” versions of yesteryears. We haven’t had the chance to do any benchmarking on a laptop with a Pascal GPU, but preliminary test results show that game performance on the GTX 10-Series is easily within 10% of their desktop GPU equivalents.
At a press event in Bangkok, NVIDIA executives gave us a few reasons why the technology company is doing this now.
The first being that the Pascal architecture is a fantastic piece of innovation that allows for great overhead performance with excellent power efficiency. NVIDIA is confident that this will at last allow laptop makers to make powerful gaming notebooks that doesn’t sacrifice mobility and form factor. In fact, NVIDIA told us that Pascal-based notebooks can be as thin as 18mm and as light as 1.8kg.
Secondly, NVIDIA is a big proponent of Virtual Reality (VR). The GTX 10-series are powerful enough to run immersive VR experiences, and small and light notebooks basically become portable VR solution that allow VR enthusiasts to take their VR experiences with them anywhere, anytime. A gaming notebook that can play VR content, with a Zen-like design also won’t look out of place in your living room, unlike cumbersome and bulky computers – which also add some validity to the last reason in the next paragraph.
Gaming notebooks have come a long way in just a few short years. Once just a niche within PC gaming, now they have become a major gaming platform in their own right. Today’s gaming notebooks from makers such as Razer, ASUS and MSI are equipped with desktop-level technologies, have the performance to drive ultra-quality settings at beyond 1080p, and are of course built on the only open gaming ecosystem in the world – the PC. NVIDIA reasoned that Interest from gamers has surged as the experience has improved on gaming notebooks. This has resulted in gaming notebooks getting close to the install base of the Xbox One, with a yearly sales growth rate that far exceeds it – NVIDIA is confident that gaming laptops will be the world’s most popular gaming platform eventually.
As it is, most major gaming notebook makers have already committed to launching GTX 10-series laptops, and they include Sager, Gigabyte, Lenovo, MSI, ASUS, HP, Acer, Razer, Alienware, EVGA, Origin and even local boys, Aftershock.
We can’t wait to start testing these notebooks.
GTX 10-Series for Laptops
- The GTX 10-series for laptops will come in three variants (1080, 1070 and 1060) just like their desktop counterparts, and will outperform Maxwell-based laptops by nearly 75%.
- While the desktop and laptop version of the GTX 1080 GPU shares the exact same number of CUDA Cores (2560) and Boost Clock (1733 Mhz), the GTX 1070 and 1060 are quite different.
- The desktop GTX 1070 comes with 1920 CUDA Cores and a Boost Clock of 1683 MHz, the notebook version comes with 2048 CUDA Cores and a 1645 Mhz Boost Clock.
- Likewise, the desktop GTX 1060 comes with 1280 CUDA Cores and 1708 Mhz Boost Clock, the notebook version comes with the same number of CUDA Cores but with 1670 MHz Boost Clock
- NVIDIA explained that having more Cores, but at a slower clock speed gives better power efficiency to suit the design of laptops’ form factor. Hardcore enthusiasts need not worry too much anyway, as Pascal laptops can have GPU offsets in excess of 300 Mhz.
- In terms of TDP (or Thermal Design Power), it will be lower than desktop Pascal cards but NVIDIA doesn’t want to reveal the exact specification. NVIDIA will leave the thermal design to their OEM partners – so some laptops will just be better at thermal and power efficiency than others.
- These notebooks will have G-SYNC displays and will be capable of running a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Select notebooks will also feature 2560 x 1440 resolution displays for larger screen real estate, which will be the next popular default resolution on both desktops and notebooks.
- They will come with a new BatteryBoost that not only improves battery life, but will also improve game smoothness due to the its new ability to control frame rate variance directly at flip time, nearly eliminating stutter previously caused by CPU interruptions. This reduces both frame-to-frame noise, as well as CPU-induced hitching in games. The new BatteryBoost will also benefit older Maxwell-based mobile GPU.