Hot on the tail of Intel's new laptop processors, Nvidia has announced Super editions of its mobile RTX GPUs. On top of that, new technical goodies are on the way that could make the upcoming RTX Super-powered laptops some of the most interesting mobile gaming machines to date.
The desktop versions of the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super (opens in new tab) provide a good performance boost over their non-Super siblings, and the same should be true for the laptop versions. I'll hold off giving the silicon the thumbs up until I've tested a few systems myself, but I'm definitely excited to see what these laptops can do.
The update to the Max-Q side of things that is actually the more interesting news to me. For context, Max-Q is a system of controlling the power draw and thermals of the GPU so as to hit the sweet spot between performance and heat production. It's particularly important when it comes to thin and light laptops.
There are five technologies that sit under the new Max-Q umbrella: Dynamic Boost, low voltage GDDR6, Advanced Optimus, next gen regulator efficiency, and DLSS. We've already talked about the improvements made to DLSS here (opens in new tab), but it's going to be interesting to see what this can do in the laptop gaming space.
Of these new features, Dynamic Boost will probably have the greatest impact on games. Essentially, it monitors the power draw and performance of the GPU and CPU together, and can shift power to the GPU from the CPU when needed the most. This should improve framerates, particularly in games that are GPU bound.
Advanced Optimus, meanwhile, replaces the initial, rather crude, Optimus system with a dynamic display switch that can quickly shift between the CPU's integrated graphics and the laptop's discrete graphics to improve battery life and also better support the likes of G-Sync.
Nvidia is keen to get its ray tracing GPUs in more machines as well, and says the sweet spot for RTX 2060-powered laptops will be $999. Note that these aren't laptop RTX 2060 Supers, which have not been announced, just the regular type. Five RTX 2060 laptops to look out for on this front are: Acer Nitro 5, Asus ROG G512, HP Omen 15, Lenovo Y540, and the MSI GF65 Thin, with apparently many others on the way as well.
Laptops using the Super GPUs and/or the new take on Max-Q are due out this month, with the usual suspects all present and correct—Acer, Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, to name but a few. There will be non-Super laptops that use the new Max-Q technology too, which makes this a major refresh.
In terms of pricing, Nvidia was keen to point out that there will be laptops available from $699. And while that doesn't get you an RTX 2080 Super, rather a GTX 1650 powered machine, there's still a concerted effort to make more affordable machines across the board, including that focus on $999 RTX 2060 systems.
It's worth noting that both Intel and AMD are going to be in this market now as well, which should hopefully make for some interesting price points. If you're in the market for a new laptop, I'd hang on for a month at least, to see how this all shakes out. Stay optimistic though, it looks like laptops are about to get a lot better.