Gaming laptops are nearly on par with desktops

3 min read


If you’re a gamer on the move constantly, you’re probably looking at investing in a new, shiny gaming laptop. You’re going to have to sell a few organs to get one in your bag, so why not wait a few months to get the absolute best? That’s because Nvidia has just revealed a new batch of mobile gaming chips, and they’re pretty powerful.

If you’re a little confused, don’t stress. Yes, Nvidia launched a brand new range of mobile GPU’s just a few months ago. The older  800-series was the reason why the desktop cards completely skipped the 800-series naming, and now it seems like even Nvidia wants to forget about it. The mobile 900-series is edging closer and closer to desktop performance, thanks to the new Maxwell architecture.

For instance, the new GTX 980M delivers around 75% of the performance of the bigger, desktop version of the 980. That’s a staggering achievement when you think of the form factor, and it again comes down to Nvidia’s new baby. Maxwell is more efficient, draws less power and dissipates less heat. All the buzzwords you need for a mobile chip.

The GTX 980M will ship with a 1038 MHz base clock, 1536 CUDA Cores and up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The smaller GTX 970M is still pretty impressive, turning down the base clock to 924 MHz, 1280 cores and up to 3GB of memory. Both chips will feature a memory speed of 2500MHz.

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Nvidia claims to be closing the gap between laptop and desktop performance, and Maxwell has definitely made strides in delivering. While desktop cards still benefit from major overclocking performance gains, the stock mobile chips definitely make a good case for themselves. The 900 mobile series is also 40% more battery efficient than the fairly new 800-series, which makes it an even better choice if you were planning to take the plunge soon.

The 900 mobile series will also ship with all the new bells and whistles of the desktop version, such as DirectX 12 support, new Nvidia Anti-Aliasing support and the exciting Voxel Global Illumination technology that is set to change the way lighting is rendered on PC. The new chips will also benefit from BatteryBoost, which keeps games playable when the laptop is not directly connected to power. That’s pretty important for a laptop, but something that is still fairly new.

Laptops with these new chips have already hit shelves overseas, so expect some locally fairly soon. Prepare your wallets in the meantime – these won’t come cheap.

Last Updated: October 8, 2014

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

  • Johan Fourie

    Closing the gap in performance. Let’s hope they can do the same regarding the size of desktop cards.

    • HvR

      The size is the main reason why the mobile cards/setups are still so bloody expensive.

      • Johan Fourie

        Also a gap they can try and close 😛

    • Admiral Chief 0


    • geel slang

      Why? I would rather have a good cooling system. Do you want a smaller PC?

  • Jedi Consular Kromas

    Yeah … closing performance at R40k a decent machine vs R15k Desktop equivalent. Ill stick to desktop.

    • Matthew Holliday

      laptops cant do top end.
      expecting them to is just silly. they simply do not have the space for the cooling to match up against top end tech and overclocking.

      however a R13k laptop could match up against a R10k desktop reasonably well.

  • Captain JJ Underleyened

    Until you need to upgrade.

    • Matthew Holliday

      this i think is my main concern.
      you cant just stick a new graphics card in one, like you would a desktop…

      • Captain JJ Underleyened

        Exactly. As it stands, pc really just is great value for money.

  • MakeItLegal

    great news , means when i upgrade in 2 years with my laptop , i will hopefully be able to get a sweet ass deal , while the console peasants deal with their out of date technology

    • CypherGate

      “Console Peasants” Still will end up playing great games regardless of how bad you think the graphics are on console. Consoles still outputs great graphics even in 2 years time.

      • MakeItLegal

        a King is not expected to entertain a peasent :0

        Happy thursday

        • b1nd3r

          Hate to say it but laptops and consoles are pretty much the same thing compared to hardware.

          • MakeItLegal

            Perhaps how ever a laptop is still a must functional device with a wealth of features above and beyond basic gaming requirements …. And u say this when u play bf 4 on a laptop ? The horror

          • b1nd3r

            Out play you on my shitty laptop 😛 and i wasnt disagreeing with you, just correcting. the hardware between most consoles and an average laptop now days are the same thing they last last on average for about 2-3 years before there relevance is gone.

  • Sir Rants A Lot Llew

    I can’t agree with the statement 100%.

    Yes they are nearly on par performance wise. But affordability? No ways are they anywhere near on-par.

    A R6K gaming PC would cost R10k+ in laptop format (If not R15k+). So I absolutely get that the performance is nearly on par but until such a time that the prices are on par between eachother I will not even consider buying a gaming laptop over a pc.

    The fact that gaming laptops are so much more expensive and that they are not quite as modular and upgradeable as a PC really gets my back up. Shorter lifespan and more expensive just because it’s portable? No thank you.

    • Double-O-Six and a half

      And portability is even a stretch…

      I have an Alienware M17R4, beautiful machine, (cost a bomb way higher than the estimates above) but by the time you put the power brick (in fact it’s more like a bale of bricks), a mouse, headphones and so on, you’re lugging around close on 10-12Kg… The number of times the airlines have bitched at me trying to get a 12 kg bag into their precious 8kg max overhead lockers exceeds my ability to count beyond fingers and toes…

  • Matthew Holliday

    its a fair statement.
    not quite, but nearly.

    I just built my rig, then the day after i put it together, i see a del for a laptop with an i5 and an 870m for R2000 more than my rig cost. granted it benchmarks a little under my new rig, but still, almost as good for R2000 difference is almost nothing in terms of laptops.

  • MakeItLegal

    i got a laptop for about 10k Asus , runs fifa 15 fine , more than happy

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