Nvidia now requires laptop OEMs to mention RTX 30-series GPU specs

nanoguy

Posts: 1,025   +14
Staff member
Bottom line: Nvidia's change of philosophy with regards to RTX 30-series laptop GPU branding is a big win for gamers, even though it'll be a headache for OEMs that would be more than happy to keep you in the dark about which variant you're getting with a particular laptop.

You need not look further than our review of the GeForce RTX 3060 laptop GPU to understand that while it does offer great value, it comes in several configurations that make it very difficult for the average consumer to differentiate. We're talking about more than 70 different laptop models across various price points.

In the past, Nvidia used a somewhat acceptable approach that helped potential buyers base their decision on the branding seen on product pages of laptop OEMs. There were still many sub-variants to choose from, but people who wanted lower-power versions would look for "Max-Q" in the name, while enthusiasts who wanted the best performance would hunt for the "Max-P" versions.

With 2021 laptops, Nvidia made things more confusing by choosing to name all variants of a given RTX 30-series GPU the same, explaining that optimizations had been made at the system level on all laptops using the new GPUs. After giving it more thought, the company will now require all companies selling these laptops to be more transparent about their graphics subsystems.

In other words, while Nvidia used to encourage manufacturers to state clocks and power consumption on their product pages, now it requires them to do so. However, the Max-Q branding can still be used, albeit for different reasons, such as indicating support for Dynamic Boost 2.0, Advanced Optimus, and Whisper Mode 2.0.

Many RTX 30-series laptop listings have yet to be updated to reflect differences in the clock speed and total power consumption. However, manufacturers like Asus, Acer, Razer, Origin, MSI, Alienware, and Gigabyte have already updated some product pages, so things are moving in the right direction for consumers.

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m4a4

Posts: 2,615   +3,225
TechSpot Elite
Sounds good in a sense. Though I don't know if that will give the average customer any realistic/simple understanding of what's actually better (as we know OEMs will always try to make their stuff look better however they can)...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,344   +2,633
I mean this works.

But you know what might just do the trick as well without any specially enforced requirements Nvidia?

A good, logical naming scheme maybe? No? You want to just release 8 or 9 SKUs that all contain "3060" in the name just like you guys did with 2060 and just have vendors list inscrutable specs instead?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,471   +6,268
I didn't understand the difference between MAX-P and MAX- Q till I saw Linus mention it.

Why not just label it "3070 Performance" or 3080 "Balanced" something easier to understand???
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,229   +577
So for laptops, there is say a 3060, then a 3060 max q and a p version. The max p version would be the better of the 3?
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 413   +469
The manufacturers are counting on the fact that the average consumer won't know the difference. Even listing specs will he meaningless to most consumers. Only those of us that actually understand what the differences are care enough to pay attention. They will buy it to brag they have it, not because it's the best version of a given card. They only care that it's moar. (Did I spell that correctly incorrectly?)
 

gigantor21

Posts: 316   +531
TechSpot Elite
So for laptops, there is say a 3060, then a 3060 max q and a p version. The max p version would be the better of the 3?

Yes, the Max-P means "max power", so it should (theoretically) be running the GPU at its highest power setting. It's not an official designation, though, unlike Max-Q.

I hate how needlessly complicated this has gotten, because it is entirely for the OEMs benefit and not consumers.
 

rmcrys

Posts: 82   +77
There are two companies: Nvidia and AMD and without a doubt Nvidia ist the better one with more products, versions, performance and as an overall product.


But the goal is to sell and create confusion, you will hardly be able to tell if a mobile 3060 ti is faster or slower than an 3070 because it depends on the "max- something" and cooling.

So the best thing would be a speed index or 3070 "90W tdp minimum" so you'll know where you're at
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,075   +3,927
TechSpot Elite
I didn't understand the difference between MAX-P and MAX- Q till I saw Linus mention it.

Why not just label it "3070 Performance" or 3080 "Balanced" something easier to understand???
That would go against the tech industry's naming standards. It would make too much sense for consumers.
 

mattferg

Posts: 196   +189
Nvidia: *menaces Hardware Unboxed for talking too much about the specs*

Also Nvidia: *demands laptop manufacturers disclose the specs*

You feeling okay, bud

Pretty sure nVidia (albeit being completely wrong about this) were complaining Hardware Unboxed WASN'T talking enough about the RT specs, and was focusing on rasterizing too much. (of course, this was untrue)
 

fluffydroid

Posts: 48   +37
I would have preferred graphics card names like 3055M, 3060M, 3070M, etc. Before Pascal they used to add the M at the end to indicate the mobile version and just about everyone knew these were much slower vs desktop parts. Pascal had a much smaller difference (the golden age of laptops), but we are back to having large differences again. Whatever can be done to better communicate to consumers and reduce their confusion I favor.
 

veLa

Posts: 1,138   +783
I would have preferred graphics card names like 3055M, 3060M, 3070M, etc. Before Pascal they used to add the M at the end to indicate the mobile version and just about everyone knew these were much slower vs desktop parts. Pascal had a much smaller difference (the golden age of laptops), but we are back to having large differences again. Whatever can be done to better communicate to consumers and reduce their confusion I favor.

I was just thinking the same thing. There was a period where the difference was negligible between the desktop and laptop counterparts. Unfortunately, it only lasted for a generation.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 487   +533
I would have preferred graphics card names like 3055M, 3060M, 3070M, etc. Before Pascal they used to add the M at the end to indicate the mobile version and just about everyone knew these were much slower vs desktop parts. Pascal had a much smaller difference (the golden age of laptops), but we are back to having large differences again. Whatever can be done to better communicate to consumers and reduce their confusion I favor.

Exactly what I was thinking. This new convention Nvidia chose still sounds confusing. Why not just add M at the end and for example, for a 3060, name the power saving version 3060M, and the performance version 3065M.