Buyer beware: Nvidia has at least 28 variants prepared for the mobile RTX 3000 GPU stack
Nvidia’s reworked Max-Q branding is meant to offer laptop OEMs increased configurability that is not limited only to power specs, but also includes a set of specific technologies like Dynamic Boost 2, WhisperMode 2, Advanced Optimus, DLSS support etc. Thus, OEMs are now free to choose whatever Max-Q features they want to integrate with their laptop models, but are also encouraged by Nvidia itself to clearly specify the chosen features and power limits in the official specs. Unfortunately, most OEMs are not transparent enough and provide as little information as possible. If that is not confusing enough, the latest mobile RTX 3000 review roundups reveal that end users need to be aware of no less than 28 possible mobile GPU variants.
ComputerBase went ahead and compiled the full list with corresponding TGPs and clocks, then VideoCardz also organized all variants by theoretical TFLOP speeds. ComputerBase also notes that OEMs can allow for additional 5, 10 or 15 watts through the Dynamic Boost 2 feature, leading to a maximum TGP of 165 W for the RTX 3080, 140 W for the RTX 3070 and 130 W for the RTX 3060 SKUs, meaning that, in actuality, there are even more variants. The Max-Q variants continue to offer the lowest TGPs, clock speeds and memory bandwidth, but we also see substantially more Max-P variants now.
One of the more concerning aspects is emphasized through the TFLOPS chart that shows some wild processing power variations, to the point where some RTX 3060 Max-P versions are actually faster than the base RTX 3080 Max-Q variant, which will be included by default on premium builds with higher costs. So end users must now keep in mind that premium does not necessarily mean best performance, and also remember to check our laptop reviews before making a purchase.
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