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Exclusive | Nvidia gave laptop makers a useless overblown GeForce MX450 3DMark score that has proven impossible to reach

Nvidia gave laptop makers a useless overblown GeForce MX450 3DMark score that has proven impossible to reach (Image source: Nvidia)
Nvidia gave laptop makers a useless overblown GeForce MX450 3DMark score that has proven impossible to reach (Image source: Nvidia)
(Update: Nvidia responds). Nvidia's in-house claims about the performance of its GeForce MX450 GPU are a whopping 60 to 70 percent higher than any retail unit we've tested thus far. Here is how the GeForce MX450 will actually perform when you buy one online or in-store.

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(June 23, 2021 update: Nvidia has responded with the following statement about the 3DMark score:

"The Firestrike score claimed in this article did not originate from NVIDIA, and does not reflect the performance of the MX450"

Our original article remains below.) 

Whenever a new processor launches, chipmakers like to show off their own in-house benchmark numbers and comparisons. These numbers are usually a bit higher than retail results since many are performed under optimal conditions with developer tools and without any overhead from laptop manufacturers. Sometimes, however, these chipmaker numbers can be absurdly high to the point where they can be misleading.

When Nvidia launched its GeForce MX450 series in early 2020, the chipmaker claimed a 3DMark Fire Strike Graphics and Time Spy Graphics score of 7498 and 1677 points, respectively. The Fire Strike score in particular caught our attention as this would rank the GeForce MX450 to be 25 percent higher than even a GeForce GTX 1050 laptop. These specific scores from Nvidia were communicated to laptop manufacturers only according to our laptop manufacturer source.

In reality, however, the Fire Strike score would turn out to be nothing but false in real-world testing conditions. After personally testing 7 different retail laptops each with GeForce MX450 graphics, all of them would score significantly lower in the same benchmark run by Nvidia. The MX450 GPUs in our tested laptops would be about 40 percent slower than Nvidia's in-house developer unit as shown by the comparison charts below. If end-users can't even get close to the performance numbers Nvidia are claiming, then those higher numbers from the chipmaker are arguably worthless.

The strangest part is that the DX12-based Time Spy score provided by Nvidia is actually attainable with the retail models we tested. Both our Lenovo ThinkPad T14 and Asus Zenbook 14 UX435EG retail units, for example, are within just 1 percent of Nvidia's Time Spy numbers. It appears that only the Fire Strike score from Nvidia has been significantly exaggerated.

We had reached out to Nvidia before publishing on the discrepancy, but they have yet to respond to our queries. The takeaway message here is that users should not expect the GeForce MX450 to outperform or even perform similarly to a GeForce GTX 1050 laptop in most cases despite Nvidia's initial claims. 

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3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
  (4935 - 6651, n=43)
6022 Points ∼100% +27%
HP Pavilion 15-eg0025cl
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4753 Points ∼79%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen2-20TD002MGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4611 Points ∼77% -3%
HP Envy 13-ba1475ng
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4571 Points ∼76% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen2-20W5S00100
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4506 Points ∼75% -5%
Xiaomi RedmiBook Pro 15
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-11370H
4435 Points ∼74% -7%
Asus Zenbook 14 UX435EG
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4371 Points ∼73% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen2-20W1S00000
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
4336 Points ∼72% -9%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen2-20TD002MGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
1975 Points ∼100% +2%
HP Pavilion 15-eg0025cl
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
1945 Points ∼98%
Asus Zenbook 14 UX435EG
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
1682 Points ∼85% -14%
MX450 Pre-Sample
NVIDIA GeForce MX450,
1680 Points ∼85% -14%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
  (1416 - 2130, n=11)
1672 Points ∼85% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen2-20W1S00000
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
1633 Points ∼83% -16%
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen2-20W5S00100
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
1086 Points ∼55% -44%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
MX450 Pre-Sample
NVIDIA GeForce MX450,
8950 Points ∼100% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad E15 Gen2-20TD002MGE
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
8296 Points ∼93% +1%
HP Pavilion 15-eg0025cl
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
8204 Points ∼92%
Xiaomi RedmiBook Pro 15
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-11370H
7983 Points ∼89% -3%
Average NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile
  (6744 - 8903, n=42)
7662 Points ∼86% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T15 Gen2-20W5S00100
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
6616 Points ∼74% -19%
Asus Zenbook 14 UX435EG
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
6524 Points ∼73% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen2-20W1S00000
NVIDIA GeForce MX450, i7-1165G7
6341 Points ∼71% -23%
Nvidia claims superior DX11 performance from the MX450 over the GTX 1050. In reality, we couldn't even come close to those Fire Strike numbers even after testing 7 different MX450 laptops currently in market
Nvidia claims superior DX11 performance from the MX450 over the GTX 1050. In reality, we couldn't even come close to those Fire Strike numbers even after testing 7 different MX450 laptops currently in market

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Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - Lead Editor U.S. - 4625 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2011
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.
contact me via: @AllenNgoNBC
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 06 > Nvidia gave laptop makers a useless overblown GeForce MX450 3DMark score that has proven impossible to reach
Allen Ngo, 2021-06-18 (Update: 2021-06-23)