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Buyer beware: Nvidia has at least 28 variants prepared for the mobile RTX 3000 GPU stack

Most OEMs are not transparent enough in regards to the exact GPU SKU used in the RTX 3000 laptops. (Image Source: Nvidia)
Most OEMs are not transparent enough in regards to the exact GPU SKU used in the RTX 3000 laptops. (Image Source: Nvidia)
The ridiculous number would not really be a problem for end users if OEMs actually respected Nvidia's guidelines and provided clear info with the official specs. Unfortunately, very few OEMs are currently doing this, and we are seeing wild spec variations that allow lower-priced SKUs to outperform higher-priced variants.
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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.

 

Buy the Alienware m15 R3 gaming laptop with Nvidia RTX 2080 Super GPU on Amazon

(Image Source: VideoCardz)
(Image Source: VideoCardz)
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Bogdan Solca
Bogdan Solca - Senior Tech Writer - 1464 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2017
I first stepped into the wondrous IT&C world when I was around seven years old. I was instantly fascinated by computerized graphics, whether they were from games or 3D applications like 3D Max. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction, an astrophysics aficionado, and a crypto geek. I started writing PC-related articles for Softpedia and a few blogs back in 2006. I joined the Notebookcheck team in the summer of 2017 and am currently a senior staff writer mostly covering processor, GPU, and laptop news.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 01 > Buyer beware: Nvidia has at least 28 variants prepared for the mobile RTX 3000 GPU stack
Bogdan Solca, 2021-01-27 (Update: 2021-01-27)