Nvidia’s Maxwell graphics offer improved notebook performance and efficiency
Nvidia has announced two new notebook graphics cards that provide close to desktop levels of performance on the move. The new Maxwell GPUs don’t just narrow the gap between desktop and laptop graphics, but also provide improved efficiency and dynamic resolution rendering.
Nvidia’s notebook graphics offerings have been steadily improving over the years, with the last-gen Kepler GPUs providing around 60 percent of the performance found in their desktop counterparts. The new Maxwell notebook solutions, known as the GeForce GTX 970M and 980M, further up the ante, with the company claiming that the new cards provide 80 percent of the performance of equivalent top-tier desktop GPUs.
The updated architecture introduces two new features that aim to improve graphics quality and boost battery efficiency. First up is what the company calls Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) – a technology wherein the GPU renders a game at 4K resolution, before scaling down the image to match the native resolution of the notebook (assuming it's not packing a 4K display). According to Nvidia, DSR leads to significantly better image quality when compared to solutions that render straight to 1080p.
The second big addition, known as Battery Boost, allows the user to pick a desired frame rate between 30 and 60 frames per second, with the software throttling the CPU, GPU and memory with that goal in mind. This means that the components aren’t running at full capacity when they don’t need to be, leading to improved battery performance.
Aside from these technologies, the new cards boast better anti-aliasing and lighting performance than previous-generation cards, and Nvidia claims that they’re capable of running select titles at up to 2,500 x 1,400 on ultra settings.
If that sort of power appeals, then you can get your hands on 970M and 980M-packing machines sooner than you’d think, with a series of machines from Asus (G751), MSI (GT72, GS70 and GS60), Aorus (X7) and CyberPower (Fangbook Edge) all available today with the new cards.