Graphics Performance

In 3DMark, the GTX 1080 is comfortably CPU-limited in Sky Diver and runs at well above 200 FPS, which is why the GT73VR doesn't perform any better than a GTX 1070 laptop. In Fire Strike, this laptop is marginally (8 percent) faster, a margin which increases to 21 percent in the demanding Time Spy test. As expected, the GTX 1080 is 32 percent faster than the GTX 1070 when looking purely at the graphics score.

A large number of games released over the past few years are easily playable on the GTX 1080 at 1080p. Titles like Grand Theft Auto V, for example, run at nearly 100 FPS with near-maximum settings. When games are running at such high frame rates, it's easier for them to become CPU limited, which is why we see only 10 to 15 percent better frame rates on the GTX 1080 relative to the GTX 1070 in games already running above 60 FPS on both GPUs. In many circumstances, you won't get any real benefit from a 10 FPS performance gain at 100 FPS.

In more intense games, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider, it's clear that the GTX 1080 is roughly 25 to 30 percent more powerful. This is a title that hits 50 FPS on the GTX 1070 at maximum quality settings, but achieves 63 FPS on the GTX 1080, which is a decent uplift. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided we saw similar results.

For budget conscious buyers, the GTX 1070 model will be perfectly adequate for gaming on the included 1080p 120Hz G-Sync display, and the increase to a GTX 1080 will only provide a small benefit. For those who are thinking of buying a model with a 4K display, moving to a GTX 1080 could be the difference between playable and unplayable frame rates.

In case you're wondering, the GTX 1080 is at least 50 percent faster than the GTX 1060, and often more like 90 percent faster in GPU-limited games.

The cooler in the GT73VR is very effective, and at low usage it operates essentially silently. Even when just the CPU was stressed in AIDA64's CPU/FPU stress test, temperatures barely reached 70°C with reasonably quiet fan operation. This makes the GT73VR a great workstation for high-performance CPU tasks like video rendering, and there's plenty of room for overclocking here.

With a GPU and CPU load, temperatures were once again great: around 77°C on the CPU and 82°C GPU. Here the GT73VR is moderately loud but not deafening, and still quieter than the Alienware 15. At these mid-range fan speeds there is clearly room for small amounts of CPU and GPU overclocking.

If you want to push the GT73VR to its limits, pressing the 'max fan speed' button causes system temperatures to drop by more than 15°C under heavy load, at the expense of extremely loud fan noise. With the GPU running comfortably under 70°C, there is plenty of overclocking headroom (provided you can get enough power into the components).

It should be noted that I didn't extensively attempt to test the overclocking performance of this laptop due to time constraints.