Nvidia has been shaking up the way they do things with regards to their Pascal range of GPUs. The company revealed and launched three cards in the series within just a few weeks of each other, and they’re seeking to keep the momentum up with notebooks. And this time, instead of some long marketing build up and hiatus after desktop launches, notebook manufacturers are ready and waiting with GTX 10 powered mobile devices. And they’re out now.
Pascal is looking to take laptop gaming to a new frontier, and to progress that Nvidia has launched three graphics chips for manufacturers to make use of. The GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 will all be available in your preferred laptop variant starting today, without the telling “M” suffix attached. Sticking with their late GTX 980 laptop chips from last year, these Pascal chips are identical to their desktop counterparts in most ways. Nvidia doesn’t want to separate the market down that line anymore, and instead offer a uniform batch of products that can be compared like for like.
That means you won’t be looking at a GTX 1080 in a laptop and wondering whether it actually matches only a GTX 1070 in terms of performance. Nvidia claims that given the cooling and factory overclocks, the laptop chips can keep up with their desktop counterparts (with a roll off of around 10%). There are some differences though, with the mobile chips in particular not able to hit the same clock speeds as the desktop versions in most cases.
That’s somewhat offset intelligently by specification altering, where Nvidia is putting more effort in raw processing over higher clocks. The GTX 1070 used in laptops, for example, features a full 2048 CUDA Cores, while the desktop version only clocks in at 1920. It’s still slower in the laptop, but that goes hand in hand with power efficiency and stability while still delivering the right amount of performance.
You can expect manufacturers to go crazy with some designs, especially now that Nvidia has opened up factory overclocking capabilities to them. Expect some massive laptops with insane cooling blocks mounted on them (or something to that effect), while slimmer, more practical models dial back the clocks to keep things below melting point. We have Marco in Taiwan right now checking out some of MSI’s own laptops, so expect more on that soon.
Last Updated: August 17, 2016