Wednesday January 30, 2019

Check Clockspeeds and Benchmarks Before Buying a Gaming Laptop

Nvidia RTX-equipped gaming laptops are out, and both Nvidia and their retail partners are heavily promoting them. But before you jump on one, remember that Nvidia (and AMD) have a long-running habit of using somewhat deceptive branding for their laptop GPUs. As TechSpot points out, the mobile RTX 2080, 2070, and 2060 are not necessarily equivalent to their desktop counterparts. While they appear to use the same silicon as the desktop variants this time around, which hasn't always been the case, mobile RTX GPUs ship with significantly lower clockspeeds than desktop cards. The desktop RTX 2080, for example, features a base clock of 1,515 Mhz, while the standard mobile version runs at 1,380 Mhz. Meanwhile, the RTX 2080 "Max-Q" variant only runs at a base speed of at 735 MHz and boosts to 1095 Mhz under ideal conditions, which a laptop isn't necessarily going to have. Nvidia's Turing architecture is relatively power efficient, meaning these laptops are likely to perform well, but don't expect desktop performance from a laptop graphics card carrying the same name. Thanks to tordogs for the tip.

With so much leeway in terms of what speed to clock cards at, it’s easy to see how performance could vary across different laptops with Nvidia's RTX series cards. The lesson here, again, is to pay close attention to the actual clock speed of the GPU in the machine you’re considering purchasing.