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RTX 30 GPUs for gaming laptops are finally here

Nvidia unveils the mobile version of the superb RTX 30 GPU

The worst kept secret in gaming – that Nvidia would upgrade its RTX 20 series of laptop GPUs to match the desktop RTX 30 range – is finally out of the bag.

There will be three flavours of RTX 30 GPU for use in gaming laptops. The entry-level RTX 3060 Max-Q with 6GB RAM, the RTX 3070 Max-Q with 8GB RAM and the RTX 3080 Max-Q with either 8GB or a whopping 16GB of RAM.

That last one is especially impressive, as it’s 6GB more RAM than on the desktop version, though that may be to compensate for deficiencies in other areas. Bluntly, you can’t expect GPUs with a mobile form factor designed for the battery and heat diffusion concerns of laptops to match the performance of a desktop chip, and it seems likely that the extra RAM is to try and counter that.

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That said, Nvidia did say that the upcoming Lenovo Legion Slim 7 with its RTX 3060 GPU offers 1.3 times the power of the PlayStation 5, so it’s clear that these laptops won’t be any slouch in the conventional sense. The accompanying slides stated that the 3060 would offer over 90fps with ultra detail at 1080p, with the 3070 and 3080 offering the same treatment at 1440p. Frankly, we can’t wait to get a few in to test.

Impressively, Nvidia says these chips offer twice the power efficiency of the previous generation, which is quite important for portable systems. The company also took the opportunity to introduce Dynamic Boost 2.0 which uses artificial intelligence to move power between the CPU and GPU, and WhisperMode 2.0, which lets players set the amount of noise they’re happy with with the GPU setting performance levels accordingly.

The best news of all, however, is the price, which is somewhat lower than you might be expecting if you’ve ever tried to buy a RTX 20 powered laptop. RTX 3060 laptops will start at $999 (~£733), with RTX 3070 models coming in at $1,300 (~£954). If you want a RTX 3080 laptop with 16GB of video RAM, you’re looking at spending at least $2,000 (~£1,468).

Laptops with RTX 3080 and 3070 GPUs will begin shipping this month, with RTX 3060 machines coming later in the year.

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