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The mobile GeForce RTX 4080 is 35 percent slower than the desktop RTX 4080 and that can be problematic for consumers

The mobile GeForce RTX 4080 is 35 percent slower than the desktop RTX 4080 and that can be problematic for consumers (Image source: Nvidia)
The mobile GeForce RTX 4080 is 35 percent slower than the desktop RTX 4080 and that can be problematic for consumers (Image source: Nvidia)
The wide performance gap between mobile and desktop GeForce 40 is a strong case for reintroducing the "M" suffix to Nvidia's lineup of mobile GeForce RTX GPUs. The current naming convention of the GPUs could certainly be improved to better reflect their performance differences.

Prior to the GeForce 10 series, Nvidia GeForce GPUs for laptops would incorporate the "M" suffix to their names in order to differentiate between the mobile and desktop versions. The mobile GeForce 980, for example, would be marketed as the GeForce 980M. The chipmaker would eventually drop the suffix beginning with the GeForce 10 series because the mobile GPUs attained near performance parity with their desktop counterparts. Our 3DMark results below illustrate this between a laptop equipped with the mobile GTX 1080 versus a desktop GTX 1080.

Fast forward six years and the once minor performance differences between mobile and desktop GPUs have only been increasing. The latest mobile RTX 4080, for example, is around 30 percent faster than the mobile RTX 3080 but also around 35 percent slower than its desktop RTX 4080 counterpart when excluding any DLSS benefits across the board. The deficit is expected to worsen once lower TGP RTX 4080 laptops become available. This may prove to be problematic for shoppers expecting their newly purchased RTX 4080 gaming laptop to perform much closer to a desktop powered by the same GPU. Game developers might therefore want to consider differentiating between mobile and desktop GPUs for their minimum and suggested PC requirements.

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
58893 Points +45%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
40570 Points
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
22555 Points -44%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
20901 Points -48%
2560x1440 Time Spy Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
28133 Points +53%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
18441 Points
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
7494 Points -59%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
6907 Points -63%
3840x2160 Fire Strike Ultra Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
17122 Points +58%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
10815 Points
2560x1440 Time Spy Score
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
26494 Points +51%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
17601 Points
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
7260 Points -59%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
6922 Points -61%
2560x1440 Speed Way Score
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
7169 Points +54%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
4642 Points
2560x1440 Port Royal Graphics
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
17861 Points +53%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
11665 Points
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
10705 Points -8%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
86838 Points +54%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
56565 Points
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
32126 Points -43%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
28606 Points -49%
The Witcher 3
3840x2160 High Graphics & Postprocessing (Nvidia HairWorks Off)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
204 (183min, 183.55P1 - 227max) fps +69%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
120.6 (99min - 146max) fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
56.5 (49min - 61max) fps -53%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
44.4 fps -63%
1920x1080 Ultra Graphics & Postprocessing (HBAO+)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
254 (227min, 227P1 - 291max) fps +44%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
176.8 (159min - 192max) fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 (Desktop)
 
82 (70min - 90max) fps -54%
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
61.7 fps -65%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
1920x1080 Highest Preset AA:T
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
303 fps +72%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
176 (117min - 277max) fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
87 fps -51%
3840x2160 Highest Preset AA:T
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition
134 fps +60%
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Laptop GPU
Blade 16 Early 2023
84 (77min - 219max) fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile
XMG Ultra 17 Coffee Lake Refresh
29 fps -65%

One of the latest examples involves the PC requirements table for Forsaken as shown below. According to the table, the makers suggest a PC with GeForce RTX 4080 graphics for 2160p Ultra settings. Unfortunately for laptops, the mobile RTX 4080 will perform about 35 percent slower which would likely push the settings level to the middle "Recommended" tier instead. A customer buying an RTX 4080 laptop with the expectation of running the game at 2160p Ultra settings might then be disappointed by the end performance. Enthusiasts may be aware, but laymen are much less likely to know.

Official Forspoken system requirements. Buyers unaware of the wide performance gap between a mobile RTX 4080 and desktop RTX 4080 may be disappointed with the performance of their newly purchased laptop PCs (Image source: Square Enix)
Official Forspoken system requirements. Buyers unaware of the wide performance gap between a mobile RTX 4080 and desktop RTX 4080 may be disappointed with the performance of their newly purchased laptop PCs (Image source: Square Enix)

The above problem can be addressed by including a new row on the table specifically for laptop PCs. In this case, Square Enix should recommend a mobile RTX 4090 and mobile RTX 4080 for the "Ultra" and "Recommended" columns, respectively, since the mobile RTX 4090 shares the same number of pipelines and cores as the desktop RTX 4080 albeit at lower core clock rates.

Nvidia differentiates their mobile GeForce series from their desktop counterparts with the "Laptop" suffix in most of their marketing. It would be a good habit for game developers to do the same for their suggested system requirements to better aid laptop gamers.

DLSS 3.0 is the Nvidia wild card that can help a slower mobile RTX 4080 perform closer to a desktop RTX 4080 running with DLSS 3.0 off. The feature shouldn't be ignored as the boosts in frame rates are significant, but the list of games supporting DLSS 3.0 is short at the moment and it is known to introduce both artifacts and extra input latency that would otherwise not be there on a native resolution rendering. DLSS 3.0 on laptops versus desktops is worth a deeper exploration for a separate article.

Game developers often release their system requirements prior to launching their major titles. If you plan on purchasing a new gaming laptop with the intention of running the next big game, then it may be wise to dial down the recommended developer settings by a notch or two due to the notable performance deficits between the mobile and desktop GeForce 40 series.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 02 > The mobile GeForce RTX 4080 is 35 percent slower than the desktop RTX 4080 and that can be problematic for consumers
Allen Ngo, 2023-02-10 (Update: 2023-02-11)