Nvidia Corp (NASDAQ:NVDA) has started shipping its powerful RTX 30-series graphics chips for gaming laptops. However, a closer look at the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 reveals something strange.
RTX 3070 graphic chips faster than RTX 3080 in some instances
In some instances, the RTX 3070 could be faster than the RTX 3080 following benchmark runs that revealed that the RTX 3070 in the GP77 Leopard was slightly faster than the RTX 3080 in the GS66 Stealth. However, this was not a blowout but rather a case of some odd frames per second faster in benchmarks built into games such as Red Dead Redemption, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
This should not be happening, and it sounds like a big controversy, but the reason behind it isn’t something new. It is shadier than it should be because Nvidia is not adding the “Max Q” label anymore to more power-efficient, weaker variants of its laptop-grade GPUs, as a result, it is not easy to tell if you are receiving a full-fat GPU.
Interestingly the RTX 3080 in the GS66 Stealth is a Max Q variant having a 1,245 MHz boost clock with a maximum wattage of 95 watts. Unfortunately, customers might not know this by looking at the laptop box or retail sites selling the model.
Nvidia not transparent about the marketing of new GPUs
According to a NotebookCheck, there is a range of wattages one can set each RTX 30 series laptop chip to, but that depends on the type of laptop the manufacturer is selling. Most importantly, lighter, thinner gaming laptops use the dialed-back Max-Q version of the NVidia graphics chips for enhanced efficiency. On the other hand, others use those without Max-Q branding, which are reliable in delivering enhanced performance.
Fascinatingly, Nvidia is letting manufacturers treat graphic cards on a specification sheet as if they offer similar performance across all devices, which is not true. There is a lack of transparency regarding the marketing of the RTX 30-series GPUs compared to previous generations that used Max-Q chips, which could lead to confusion.