Nvidia’s big announcement during its CES 2019 press conference yesterday about mobile RTX GPUs for gaming laptops was an expected one. As the company has always worked to find a perfect combination of power consumption, heat production and a way to fit a desktop graphics chip into the notebook.
Nvidia has used its Max-Q tech to reduce power consumption and made sure that these RTX chips can fit inside slender designed laptops, meaning that manufacturer has worked closely with Nvidia on thermal and acoustic design to make as efficient as possible but it does not ensure that the performance will be on par with desktop variants of RTX series.
As an Nvidia representative did clarify that performance out of mobile RTX will not be the same as we would get on the desktop and if being fair it is usually the case for laptop fitted graphics chips. Saying a lot of factors influence the performance drop, but heavily depending on the fact you are playing and the CPU you are using. Nvidia estimates about a 25% performance drop from the maximum you can get on a desktop RTX.
As far as comparison among the laptops goes, Nvidia says that RTX 2080 Max-Q can achieve 20% more performance and 40% more efficiency than the last generation’s 1080 Max-Q, and almost the same can be said about RTX 2070 Max-Q. Comparatively, the RTX 2060 offers a larger 50% performance boost over GTX 1060, meaning more bang for the buck in the midrange gaming.
Also, Nvidia’s promise of groundbreaking ray-tracing lightning effect (simulating the true behavior of light to bring real-time, cinematic-quality rendering to the most visually intense games) plays a big part in performance drop on laptops. This requires a lot of horsepowers and if the desktops chips are not powerful enough to support this huge effect of realism without the compromises, then laptop chips are very much less likely to.
RTX cards also enable what’s known as deep learning super sampling, or DLSS, which is an artificial intelligence-powered version of anti-aliasing that improves resolution without compromising on performance. In addition, each new RTX-equipped laptop will also include Nvidia’s G-Sync technology to allow the screen to vary its refresh rate the rendering rate of GPU reducing the stuttering and screen tearing.
The mobile RTX 2080 and other RTX 20- variants suggests that we are not very far away from the moment where gaming primarily on laptops will involve minor performance drawback. But it is still very impressive that something that could barely be achieved on the last generation of desktop GPU is now available on a 15-inch laptop.
Prices of these laptops are still a big problem as most gamers are not using RTX chips yet, let alone buying 2000$ to 3000$ laptops only to get a mobile version of GPU. But prices will come down soon and who knows fancy new graphics chips might become a mainstream model.