Today we’re having a look at desktop vs. laptop computer graphics efficiency, a review of a topic we last covered over a year ago when Nvidia released their very first mobile GeForce RTX GPUs. The original examination was prompted by Nvidia’s confusing naming plan, where laptop and desktop GPUs have the precise same name but definitely feature vastly different performance.
Using hardware readily available in early 2019, we discovered that the desktop RTX 2070 was on typical 19% faster than the RTX 2070 mobile chip at 1080p. This distinction expanded to a whopping 42% difference when comparing the desktop RTX 2070 to Nvidia’s low power RTX 2070 Max-Q variant. Ever since we have actually seen refreshes to laptop and desktop hardware. On the graphics side, Nvidia has actually launched the RTX Super series for desktops and more recently laptops. This newest wave of 2020 gaming laptops utilizes Super GPUs at the high-end, in the kind of the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super which we’ve evaluated currently. We’re also seeing new CPU options through Intel’s 10th-generation, and the return of AMD to video gaming laptop computers with Ryzen 4000.
Knowing what you are getting nevertheless, is as puzzling as ever. In 2020, you can buy laptop computers that feature “ RTX 2070 Super GPUs inside, however sometimes you’ll get a Max-Q variant, often you won’t. This continues across the whole line, from listed below the GTX 1660 Ti right as much as the greatest option, the RTX 2080 Super. To some consumers that aren’t as knowledgeable about Nvidia’s GPU line-up, at a glimpse it looks like these laptops are providing the same GPU and for that reason the very same efficiency as what you’d receive from a comparable desktop gaming PC. But that’s far from the case. Let’s take the RTX 2070 Super as an example. While both the desktop and laptop variants utilize the very same physical GPU– the exact same 12nm TU104 die total with 2560 CUDA cores is really there– other elements are really different. The desktop card includes a 215W power limitation, which allows the GPU to clock at 1770 MHz increase or higher. The laptop variant has a power limitation anywhere from 80 to 115W, with boost clocks in between 1155 and 1380 MHz. That means that simply based upon ranked clock speeds, the desktop card can clock 28% greater in the best case, and potentially over 50% greater if we compare it to the most affordable power mobile setup.
Memory configurations can likewise vary. The base design is once again comparable, both variants provide 8GB of GDDR6 memory on a 256-bit bus. But if you get a low-power Max-Q mobile variation of the RTX 2070 Super, you’ll see just 11 Gbps memory, compared to 14 Gbps on the desktop. This lowers memory bandwidth in addition to featuring lower clock speeds.
We could happen with examples across the rest of the line-up, but you get the point. Nvidia feels that by utilizing the same physical GPU with the same variety of shaders, they can brand their laptop GPUs the same as they do on the desktop. This is in spite of significantly different power targets, clock speeds and ultimately efficiency.
With that, we’re going to decipher in today’s examine the specific performance distinction you can concern anticipate between Nvidia’s desktop and laptop computer GPUs of the very same name, covering all options from the GTX 1660 Ti up through to the RTX 2080 Super. Ideally, this will make it much clearer next time you’re purchasing a new video gaming system, knowing what level of efficiency you’re getting.
Before We Begin: Test Notes
Like our previous contrasts in between desktops and laptop computers, this isn’t developed to be a direct GPU comparison where we lock down the desktop platform to the very same specs and level of efficiency you’d get from a laptop. There’s no CPU downclocking or power restricting, this is designed to be a realistic comparison between desktop and laptop platforms. This indicates that yes, the desktop PC will likewise have a more powerful CPU with much better cooling, and faster memory. That’s how these systems are normally configured in the real life, so these outcomes will show you the actual distinction in between a video gaming laptop and desktop, not in between a gaming laptop computer and an odd gimped desktop.
With that said, we haven’t gone all out with our desktop test system to definitely crush gaming laptops. Our desktop platform for this test is configured with a relatively modest Intel Core i5-10600K, 16GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory with XMP made it possible for. We chose these parts to approximately match what is on the deal in many gaming laptop computers: normally you get an Intel six-core CPU like the Core i7-10750H at many affordable cost points, while 16GB of memory is a common starting point as well.
On the laptop computer side, our normal test notes apply. We configure all laptop computers we check with dual-channel memory, decent airflow into the coolers, and set them to equip power settings. The outcomes you’ll see in the charts are an average of numerous systems with the same setup. You can inspect the full list of laptop computers we evaluated here.
Let’s start the standards with Red Dead Redemption 2, the very first of six video games we’ll explore thorough prior to revealing a summary of the 18 games we checked for this comparison.
The very first thing you’ll note here is that together with each CPU and GPU configuration there are power limitations, which reveal the maximum continuous power draw we saw from these elements. For laptop computers, usually both the CPU and GPU will run right as much as this limit forever, so that could suggest 45W on the CPU and 90W on the GPU. With our desktop platform, how close a CPU or GPU comes to reaching the limit will depend on the game and its utilization.
While the RTX 2070 Super is listed here with the desktop variation as 215W, in numerous games its actual power usage is lower.
Back to Red Dead Redemption 2, running at 1080p on High settings with the Vulkan renderer, you might have discovered immediately that we have 3 desktop setups sitting at the top of the chart.
The RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super provide breakaway efficiency, but even the RTX 2070 is available in partially ahead of the fastest laptop configuration we’ve checked in 2020, which comes geared up with a Core i9-10980HK and RTX 2080 Super Max-Q performing at 90W.
Moving down the chart we have the RTX 2060 desktop config in the middle, delivering a little more efficiency than the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q. In this test, the desktop RTX 2060 is only 4 percent ahead of the RTX 2060 for laptop computers, which as we’ll be concerned see is an outlier. On the other hand, the GTX 1660 Ti is relaxing 8 percent ahead of its laptop equivalent.
Next up we have Control, which is one of the most GPU demanding titles in our suite, we’re not even close to being CPU limited here, particularly on laptops. Starting from the bottom you’ll see that the desktop GTX 1660 Ti surpasses the laptop version by 14 percent, enabling it to likewise slot in ahead of the lower power RTX 2060 configurations. So if you get a laptop computer with an 80W RTX 2060, you aren’t quite at the level of a desktop GTX 1660 Ti.
One up the desktop stack is the RTX 2060 that retreats from the fastest laptop computer setup of this GPU, to the tune of 13%. The RTX 2060 desktop is notably faster than the RTX 2070 for laptop computers, and RTX 2070 Super Max-Q. In reality, the RTX 2060 is delivering closer to RTX 2080 Super Max-Q type efficiency, fitting right alongside those GPUs.
Then for the high-end things, it’s a little a bloodbath for the laptop computer variations. Our desktop RTX 2070 GPU is 30 percent quicker in this title, pulling well ahead due to its much greater maximum power limit of 175W versus 115W. The Super desktop GPUs compared to their 90W Max-Q equivalents in laptop computers, the margin grows to over 40 percent in favor of the desktop design.
In Metro Exodus you can also expect to see big margins between the laptop computer and desktop GPU variants, which grow at each successive action. The GTX 1660 Ti for desktops is 14% faster than the laptop computer model. Then for the RTX 2060, it’s 17%faster. For the RTX 2070, we’re as much as 31% faster. It’s 41%for RTX 2070 Super vs RTX 2070 Super Max-Q, and 35% for RTX 2080 Super versus RTX 2080 Super
Max-Q. These are considerable margins in favor of desktops, particularly at the high end. The efficiency distinction for a card like the RTX 2070 is, rather frankly, absurd given they both have the exact very same name, no Max-Q branding here.
The 115W power limitation for the laptop computer GPU doesn’t enable it to get back at close to the desktop card and really, it’s hard to say the laptop computer design is delivering true RTX 2070-like performance.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an intriguing case in that this game is likewise heavy on the CPU, to the point where at 1080p, our high-end configurations are CPU minimal and deliver approximately the exact same efficiency. But what you’ll likewise see, even for the lower-end models, is that the desktop GPUs in the mix with the Core i5-10600K, provide much greater 1% low performance than the laptop models.
Take the RTX 2060. Looking at typical frame rates, the desktop card is 18 percent faster than the laptop variant at 115W. However, if you compare 1% lows, the desktop platform is 35% faster as the CPU has the ability to maintain better with the requiring areas of the benchmark pass. There are a lot of circumstances like this throughout modern video games where desktops don’t just have a big GPU advantage in video games, but a big CPU advantage as well.
Battleground V is another video game where you’ll get far more consistent frame times with a desktop PC than you will on a laptop computer. The 1% low of our desktop system with an RTX 2060 is almost as high as the average frame rate you get with the very same GPU in a laptop.
Obviously, on top of that we see much greater typical frame rates. The RTX 2060 is 16 percent quicker on average and this grows with higher end setups.
The final game we wanted to comment on is Borderlands 3. This is another game where the top four desktop configurations sit at the top of the chart, and where even a GTX 1660 Ti desktop coupled with a Core i5 processor is able to outperform a decent RTX 2070 gaming laptop computer.
Like Red Dead Redemption 2 was an outlier on the lower end of efficiency margins, Borderlands 3 is a bit of an outlier the other method, with over a 25% advantage in the RTX 2060 class to the desktop platform.
Efficiency Breakdown on 18 Games
The performance breakdowns below will highlight the distinction between desktop and laptop computer GPUs across a variety of games. With the GTX 1660 Ti, we’re taking a look at the desktop version being 14% faster on average when looking at average frame rates.
GTX 1660 Ti Desktop vs. Laptop
In some titles like GTA V, that margin is simply low single digits. In others like Hitman 2 and Borderlands 3, the distinction is closer to 20%. But throughout our testing, usually, the laptop computer GTX 1660 Ti isn’t quite at the level of the desktop card.
RTX 2060 Desktop vs. Laptop computer (115W & & 80W)
Successive is the RTX 2060, comparing the desktop card to the fastest laptop computer configuration offered today, with a 115W power limitation. The desktop card is on average 18% faster, which is a considerable difference in between the variants offered they both have the exact same name. This is frequently the difference between listed below 60 FPS and above 60 FPS with a title like Control.
And comparing the desktop RTX 2060 to the lower power 80W version of the RTX 2060 for laptop computers, the margins are larger, at 32% in favor of the desktop card. With such a large distinction, it’s a bit silly to call the much slower RTX 2060 80W the exact same name as the desktop card that can take in up to two times the power.
RTX 2070 Desktop vs. Laptop computer (115W, Max-Q 80W & & Max-Q 90W)
In the RTX 2070 class, when screening with a more contemporary set of games, the desktop card is now around 25% faster on average, with particularly large gains in titles such as Borderlands 3, Shadow of the Burial Place Raider and Control. And when putting the desktop card up against the low power 80W Max-Q variation of this GPU, the difference is very considerable, with the desktop card pulling ahead by 38% on average.
For the RTX 2070 Super we just currently have information for low power Max-Q laptop computers that let the GPU run up to 90W. In these circumstances, the desktop card can be found in 35% faster usually, putting the low power model to shame. In the most GPU requiring titles of recent years, the desktop PC can pull ahead by 40 to half in some instances, so this Max-Q design really is not providing RTX 2070 Super-like performance.
RTX 2080 Desktop vs. Laptop (Max-Q 90W)
Comparable story with the RTX 2080 Super. Margins are a little smaller than with the RTX 2070 Super, but still, the desktop version is 29% faster than the laptop Max-Q alternative running at 90W. At times, the margin can be as high as 50%.
Desktop to Laptop Computer Equivalents
This begs the concern, where do the laptop computer GPUs actually align in regards to the desktop GeForce line-up? We’ve seen that laptop GPUs like the RTX 2070 are very far from their desktop equivalent …
Let’s take a look. In terms of efficiency, the RTX 2060 at 115W is most like a GTX 1660 Ti from the desktop line, plus the inclusion of ray tracing support and tensor cores which the GTX 1660 Ti doesn’t have. This means that anything below the RTX 2060 115W, consisting of the 80W model and laptop computer GTX 1660 Ti, is more in line with lower-end GTX series GPUs that we didn’t test in this evaluation.
The RTX 2070 for laptops at 115W beings in between the GTX 1660 Ti and the RTX 2060. Here we can see the GTX 1660 Ti for desktops is 5% slower on average, however, we’ll also discuss the RTX 2060 is about 10% faster, so it’s closer to 1660 Ti than it is to RTX 2060. Meanwhile the Max-Q variant of the RTX 2070 is well within GTX 1660 Ti territory and is, in fact, slower usually.
Then right at the top of the stack, the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q delivers roughly comparable efficiency to the desktop RTX 2060, although it is quicker in some titles. Regardless of this, at no stage does the 2080 Super Max-Q outshine the desktop RTX 2070 and in the worst cases gets easily beaten. This then puts the RTX 2070 Super Max-Q listed below the RTX 2060.
What We Learned
When adequately exploring how the GeForce desktop line compares to the mobile, it’s clear that even when 2 GPUs have the exact same name, you simply won’t get desktop-class performance from the laptop item. The desktop cards are 15 to 35% faster depending on the comparison, and the inclusion of brand-new Super GPUs into the line appears to be expanding the gap.
This implies that each laptop GPU really delivers the efficiency of a desktop GPU numerous rungs below in the line-up. An RTX 2070 for laptop computers more closely aligns with a GTX 1660 Ti for desktops. The RTX 2080 Super Max-Q is in line with an RTX 2060. And so on.
Now, there is absolutely nothing basically wrong with the GeForce GPUs you get on video gaming laptops … and they also occur to be the best you can get. Both AMD and Intel have actually been absent from the mobile PC video gaming market for rather some time.
Present gaming laptop computers can deliver decent 1080p efficiency on the go; while the 1660 Ti or RTX 2060 for laptops might not accumulate well versus desktop cards, in numerous games you’re getting at least a 60 FPS experience with Ultra-type settings. In some titles, you’re taking a look at well above 100 FPS.
Considered that some of these laptops come in at less than 5 pounds and are extremely portable, the efficiency on offer is remarkable sometimes and even a modest mid-range system is extremely capable in today’s games. For us, the main concern at stake here is that Nvidia will not separate mobile GPUs and continues to count on desktop-equivalent identifying. Perhaps saying there’s a mere RTX 2060 in a $ 3,000 video gaming note pad wouldn’t go down well (a desktop with the same GPU can be built for a third of the cost). Calling that GPU an RTX 2080 Super rather, utilizing that expensive silicon, and slapping on “ with Max-Q Design” branding at the end may equal more sales.
Nevertheless, when you’re just beginning in the PC video gaming environment, all the jargon and names can be complicated. One could argue it’s always been like this (other than it hasn’t), and the majority of the time when graphics chips have actually not lined up exactly between desktop and mobile, GPUs have actually received various names or a corresponding mobile classification.
In our opinion, a happy medium would be to go back to the M calling scheme. RTX 2070M. RTX 2060M. Easy to comprehend, the M right away symbolizes to purchasers that the GPU isn’t the exact same as the desktop card, but resides in the same efficiency class as the desktop GPU relative to others in the line-up.
Ultimately, we hope you have actually learned where a video gaming laptop computer will slot in compared to a desktop PC you may be more acquainted with, or vice versa. There’s no right or incorrect answer as to whether you ought to purchase a video gaming laptop or video gaming desktop given they serve completely various markets and use cases, however it is nice to know the actual distinctions inefficiency on the deal, not just performance presumptions made based upon element names.