Nvidia has launched its latest range of mobile graphics cards for gaming laptops, which use the company's latest Maxwell architecture for serious battery savings as well as improved performance
Nvidia has officially announced the GeForce 800m range of mobile graphics cards, which use the company’s new Maxwell graphics architecture for the first time to provide serious battery savings as well as improved performance over the outgoing models.
The mainstream GTX 850M and GTX 860M should see performance gains of between 40 and 60% over the outgoing 750M and 760M. The 850M is now a GTX variant, rather than simply GT, indicating it is capable of 1080p gaming. According to Nvidia, device manufacturers will be able to fit these chips into Ultrabook-class laptops less than 21mm thick, with Gigabyte, MSI and Razer models among the first to launch.
The more entry-level GeForce GT 830M and Geforce GT 840M will be capable of 30fps gaming at 720p, according to Nvidia. A combined CPU/GPU power draw of 17w is barely any more than an ultra low voltage processor using integrated graphics, and significantly less than a standard Intel mobile CPU using Iris integrated graphics. The company promises a 25% performance improvement over last year’s 7xxm graphics cards, and up to 250% better performance than integrated graphics.
All Maxwell-based chips will support Nvidia’s new Battery Boost technology, which promises up to twice the amount of battery power when gaming away from the mains. The system, which enables automatically when the power cable is removed, partly uses frame rate targeting to tell the GPU to only render the number of frames required to hit a specific target frame rate. It limits CPU and memory clocks as well as GPU frequencies, although the Nvidia representative we spoke to couldn’t go into details on how the system was able to limit CPU speed. The effects of Battery Boost will vary from game to game, with Nvidia suggesting Starcraft 2 could see a 50% improvement but more demanding titles like Crysis 3 seeing fewer gains.
The top-end GTX 870M and GTX 880M use the existing Kepplar architecture, but Nvidia has still managed to squeeze an additional 30%/15% extra performance than last year’s equivalent 7xxm cards. They should both be capable of playing the latest games at 1080p Ultra settings.
To coincide with the new models, Nvidia will also update its mobile GeForce graphics driver to add support for GeForce Experience. The company’s game optimisation app automatically pulls the optimum settings for your hardware from the cloud, configuring each game with one button for the best performance. Until now it was only supported on desktop graphics cards, but now GeForce 800m, 700m and some 600m owners will be able to use the feature.
Shadowplay, the hardware-based screen recording tool which is now bundled with GeForce Experience, is another new addition for mobile GPUs. It allows direct streaming to Twitch, or 1080p recording for editing and uploading to YouTube.
Although Nvidia hasn’t indicated prices for the new chips (it is leaving that job to the OEM manufacturers actually selling GeForce-powered laptops), they should be arriving here in the UK over the coming weeks and months.