Question How to choose a GPU for a laptop?

jorge_medion

Reputable
Jan 20, 2018
96
1
4,545
1
I am now looking and in a very short term finally purchase a new gaming laptop. Before moving to a decision I would like to discuss with you how to choose a correct GPU for a laptop? In my opinion there not much room to take a decision as for gaming laptops as GPU is a decisive factor having the biggest impact on performance.

As I can see there is not much variety of CPU and most of the times laptops with different GPUs have almost the same CPU, while I admit RAM and hard drive are also features to consider. However, considering the laptop has a CPU Intel Core i7-10750h, 16GB RAM and 512 GB SSD, what about the GPU? Having not much idea about specs I've found features such as: core speed, memory speed, memory bus width, max. amount of memory, DirectX.

Benchmarks and game tests comparisons helped me a lot as for how some GPUs perform in games compared to others (RTX 2060 vs GTX 1660, RTX 2070 vs RTX 2060, RTX 2070 vs RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 vs RTX 2060) but I wonder if when knowing a bit further about specs I can get a better idea about how a GPU performs compared to others. So which specs are useful to compare GPUs?
 
Look at Notebookcheck. They have a database of benchmarks for various GPUs. Just keep in mind:
  • Performance can vary wildly because of the configuration the laptop the GPU was in
  • NVIDIA's RTX 20 GPUs have a Max-Q version, which is a lower power version of the non Max-Q version
  • The RTX 30 GPUs no longer have a Max-Q version, but their TDP is configurable across a wide range. For example, the RTX 3060 can be anywhere from 60W to 115W. A 60W RTX 3060 isn't probably going to convincingly outperform a laptop RTX 2060.
    • Unfortunately laptop manufacturers are going to hide this information from you because you know, an RTX 3060 or whatever looks good.
Another thing to look at is the thermals of the laptop. Specifically the chassis thermals. Notebookcheck, if they did a review of the laptop, also looks for this. I consider chassis thermals more important than internal thermals because it identifies were hot spots are. I've had laptops where the keyboard got really toasty to the point where I couldn't game with it for long periods of time. As far as internal thermals go, obviously the lower is better, but don't expect something like < 80C unless you get a boat anchor desktop replacement.
 
Reactions: jorge_medion

jorge_medion

Reputable
Jan 20, 2018
96
1
4,545
1
Look at Notebookcheck. They have a database of benchmarks for various GPUs. Just keep in mind:
  • Performance can vary wildly because of the configuration the laptop the GPU was in
  • NVIDIA's RTX 20 GPUs have a Max-Q version, which is a lower power version of the non Max-Q version
  • The RTX 30 GPUs no longer have a Max-Q version, but their TDP is configurable across a wide range. For example, the RTX 3060 can be anywhere from 60W to 115W. A 60W RTX 3060 isn't probably going to convincingly outperform a laptop RTX 2060.
    • Unfortunately laptop manufacturers are going to hide this information from you because you know, an RTX 3060 or whatever looks good.
Another thing to look at is the thermals of the laptop. Specifically the chassis thermals. Notebookcheck, if they did a review of the laptop, also looks for this. I consider chassis thermals more important than internal thermals because it identifies were hot spots are. I've had laptops where the keyboard got really toasty to the point where I couldn't game with it for long periods of time. As far as internal thermals go, obviously the lower is better, but don't expect something like < 80C unless you get a boat anchor desktop replacement.
Thank you for your very useful information. The laptop I am now interested is: MSI GF75 Thin 10UEK: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/GF75-Thin-10UX/Specification

However the specs are rather confusing as for how powerful is the RTX 3060 and how good is compared with RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. I have read somewhere else that RTX 3060 max q exists and performance is disappointing, I am confused as you mentioned max q does not exist in this graphic card, probably it refers to a lower power GPU compared with RTX 3060 for laptops. I swear if this is the case for MSI GF75 Thin. I have read reviews and they say thermals is not a huge problem but exist. I am thinking about spending more money and go for RTX 2070 no matter is max q or not.
 
I have read somewhere else that RTX 3060 max q exists and performance is disappointing, I am confused as you mentioned max q does not exist in this graphic card, probably it refers to a lower power GPU compared with RTX 3060 for laptops. I swear if this is the case for MSI GF75 Thin. I have read reviews and they say thermals is not a huge problem but exist. I am thinking about spending more money and go for RTX 2070 no matter is max q or not.
NVIDIA officially doesn't have any Max-Q variants of the RTX 30 series. They list the RTX 3060 as having a TDP range between 60-115W (https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/gaming-laptops/compare/) and the supposed Max-Q variant is the 60W version.

Unless availability is a concern, I wouldn't go for a last-gen GPU.
 
Reactions: jorge_medion

jorge_medion

Reputable
Jan 20, 2018
96
1
4,545
1
NVIDIA officially doesn't have any Max-Q variants of the RTX 30 series. They list the RTX 3060 as having a TDP range between 60-115W (https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/gaming-laptops/compare/) and the supposed Max-Q variant is the 60W version.

Unless availability is a concern, I wouldn't go for a last-gen GPU.
With a description mentioning 75W maximum who knows... The thing is that RTX 3070 is way too expensive in laptops, at least in the place where I live. We are speaking above 2000€, but there are interesting laptops with RTX 2070 and 2060.
 

jorge_medion

Reputable
Jan 20, 2018
96
1
4,545
1
If you're going for a 2070 or 2060, then you should see if the 3060 is within your price range.
Sorry for the delay in my answer. This is being more difficult than expected. In addition to the MSI laptop GF75 thin 10UEK which supports up to 75W for the RTX 3060 I can afford the following laptop: (specs attached in the link)

Gigabyte Aero 17 KC: https://www.gigabyte.com/us/Laptop/AERO-17--RTX-30-Series/sp#sp

This laptop is more expensive in my country, but the specs says 105W for the RTX 3060. The specs is almost the same as MSI GF75 Thin, but CPU is i7-10870H instead of i7-10750H. As for the GPU, my biggest concern is if this Gigabyte laptop will ensure me that RTX 3060 will bring the best performance available for RTX 3060 laptop. That's very tricky and risky because is a big amount of money and I see there is a big difference in benchmarks between 60W and 105W. However, as I am not tech-savvy, I don't know if I am giving the correct interpretation of the specs so as I can understand that the MSI GF75 Thin is 60W (up to 75W according to specs) while Gigabyte Aero 17 KC is 105W.

* MSI GF75 Thin 10UEK: https://www.msi.com/Laptop/GF75-Thin-10UX/Specification
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS