Nvidia's New Laptop GPU is Basically Just Its Top Notch Desktop One

By Gerald Lynch on at

There was a time when settling for the portability of a gaming laptop over a desktop tower meant that you'd have to accept the compromise of lower frame rates and resolution settings, leaving the "Ultra" graphical bells and whistles tantalisingly out of reach. Nvidia is today effectively drawing a line under that way of thinking – it's announced that its super-powerful GTX 980 desktop GPU is leading the charge at the front of its laptop push this year.

Not to be confused with its pared-down namesake the GTX 980M (where the "M" had previously been used as an identifier for "mobile" laptop chip sets), Nvidia is claiming an "industry first" by putting the desktop card in a whole range of gaming laptops (including the crazy water-cooled ASUS ROG GX700).

You should effectively get performance on a par with a GTX 980-equipped desktop gaming machine, which is not to be sniffed at – using Nvidia's battery-friendly Maxwell architecture, the GTX 980 has 2048 CUDA cores and 4GB of video RAM with a base clock speed of 1.1GHz. Built with plenty of overclocking headroom in mind, Nvidia will also be providing simple overclocking software in with any laptops equipped with the card, meaning the elusive 60fps / Ultra settings laptop goal could be within reach, hassle free.

As for laptops carrying the card? As well as the aforementioned ASUS ROG GX700 monster, Gigabyte, Clevo and MSI will all be putting out backbreaking "portable" machines carrying the card. The 18-inch MSI GT80 sounds particularly outlandish – it's squeezing two of the new cards in.