The maximum GPU TGP listed on Nvidia control panel isn't always telling the truth
Nvidia Ampere GPUs for laptops have become notorious for their wide range of power levels even between GPUs of the same model name. A mobile GeForce RTX 3080, for example, may reach peaks of 100 W or 150+ W depending on the laptop. An easy way to know what TGP your Ampere laptop is targeting is to open up the Nvidia control panel and check the system information window. Our example below shows a target 165 W TGP for the mobile GeForce RTX 3070 in the Maingear Vector Pro gaming laptop.
Unfortunately, laptops will not always reach their target TGP levels meaning you might purchase a model advertising "130 W graphics" only to see the GPU draw noticeably less when gaming. We recently reviewed the aforementioned Vector Pro which ships with a 165 W TGP GPU when in reality we could not reach anything above 130 W no matter the application.
A second example is the ADATA XPG Xenia 15 which states a 145 W TGP GPU on its Nvidia system information window. However, we're only able to reach a board power draw of 125 W even when set to its maximum performance mode. The manufacturer has since confirmed with us that 125 W is the "true" target due to the thermal limitations of the ultrathin chassis.
Even so, many laptops do appear to reach their respective TGP levels as claimed by the Nvidia specifications. The Alienware x15 R1, for example, runs at a stable board power draw of 108 W which is very close to its 110 W TGP target.
The consequence of overestimating TGP targets is that some gaming laptops can perform slower than what the consumer may have been led to believe. It also blurs the line between some GPU models where certain GeForce RTX 3070 laptops can actually outperform certain GeForce RTX 3080 models by slight margins.