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MSI justifies keeping people in the dark about NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPU wattages, despite there being up to 70 W TGP differences between RTX 3080 cards

The MSI GS66 Stealth has an 80 W version of the RTX 3080 GPU, but its website does not reveal that. (Image source: MSI)
The MSI GS66 Stealth has an 80 W version of the RTX 3080 GPU, but its website does not reveal that. (Image source: MSI)
MSI has defended its decision to omit GPU wattages from its new NVIDIA GeForce 30 series gaming laptops, despite the considerable differences in performance between some GPUs of the same name. Apparently, MSI believes that it would be unable to inform people that one RTX 3080 GPU has an 80 W TGP, while another has a 150 W TGP. Its justification has left us unconvinced, though.
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Currently, XMG is the only company informing people of the GPU wattages that its gaming laptops have. NVIDIA claims that it has encouraged OEMs to do so following the elimination of Max-Q branding, but that encouragement appears to have fallen on deaf ears so far. Max-Q branding was a useful way of distinguishing lower wattage cards from higher wattage ones, but this is no longer the case with the RTX 30 series. To their credit, some retailers are listing RTX 30 series cards as Max-Q where appropriate, but MSI has taken the weird stance of defending why it has done the opposite.

In its latest MSI Insider video, representatives claim that it would be too complicated to list the RTX 30 series GPUs' various wattages. Apparently, MSI believes that it sells too many laptop configurations to list the TGP of each RTX 30 series GPU accurately. In our opinion, its justification is not helped by one representative confusing Max-Q and Max-P branding during the video, leading to other representatives correcting him.

However, there are two reasons why this sounds like an excuse from MSI, more than anything else. On the one hand, MSI included a list of TGPs for RTX 30 series GPUs in its video. As the screenshot below shows, huge TGP differences exist between supposedly identical cards. This is true across the RTX 30 series too and is not restricted to one model. There is a 55 W spread across the RTX 3060, for example, and a 70 W one for RTX 3080 cards.

So, MSI knows the RTX 30 series cards' TGPs, but it has buried the details ninety minutes into a two-hour video. Similarly, NVIDIA has published the wattage differences between RTX 30 laptop GPUs on its website, but finding them is a convoluted process.

On the other hand, MSI's slide contradicts its claim that it sells too many configurations to report TGPs across its portfolio accurately. All the laptops on its list have one TGP per GPU, while the GS66 and Creator 15 only have GPUs with 80 W TGPs. Hence, it is not the case that MSI sells a laptop with a 60 W RTX 3060 in one region and a 115 W RTX 3060 in another. 

Ultimately, we are unconvinced by MSI's justification here. Even publishing that slide on its website would help people, to an extent. As it stands, it is unclear from MSI's website if a laptop with an RTX 3080 GPU has a 150 W TGP or an 80 W TGP. When this difference equates to a performance gap of over 70% in many metrics, it is imperative for OEMs like MSI inform customers of what they are actually buying.

(Image source: MSI)
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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4167 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 01 > MSI justifies keeping people in the dark about NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPU wattages, despite there being up to 70 W TGP differences between RTX 3080 cards
Alex Alderson, 2021-01-28 (Update: 2021-01-28)