Nividia announced it’s new Nividia Max-Q GPU laptop technology back at computex 2017. An innovation design approach aimed at creating a laptop as tin as 18mm and equipped with Nividia GTX 1060,1070 and 1080.
Nividia Max-Q designs enables manufacturers to put a GeForce GTX 1080 into slim chassis that would previously only accommodate a GeForce GTX 1060. But what exactly is Max-Q, and is it some kind of gimmick?
What is Max-Q?
In aerospace engineering, Max-Q refers to “point at which the aerodynamic stress on the spacecraft is at its highest”. In laptops that refers to the tweaks and optimizations for maximum operation efficiency that it would make with hardware manufacturers to create even slimmer and more powerful laptops.
One example of laptop with Nividia Max-Q technology is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501, a beast of a notebook with an Nividia GeForce GTX 1080 and a chassis that measured just 17.9mm thick.
How those it work?
To achieve this NVIDIA has applied the same Max-Q design philosophy to gaming laptops, operating them at their peak efficiency to deliver peak performance in thin laptops.
With all GPUs performance increases significantly with more power, but the rate of improvement greatly decreases as you reach the upper limits of a GPU’s capabilities. And in this phase of diminishing returns, significantly increased power usage necessitates the use of larger cooling solutions and faster, louder fans. Hence the need for large, bulky chassis and audible cooling solutions in the current crop of high-performance laptops.
By instead targeting the moment of peak efficiency, Max-Q laptops avoid these issues, enabling industry-leading GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1080 to operate in laptops as thin as 18mm. Ultimately, these new Max-Q laptops have the perfect balance between performance, power usage, and noise, running up to 70% faster than similarly-sized laptops. They’ll fit in most bags, they won’t break your back, and they’ll deliver a much-improved experience compared to previous-generation laptops.
Thanks to the efficiency, Nividia Max-Q laptops are quieter than most gaming laptops. In fact, all are targeted to run at a maximum of 40dbA, making them quieter than vast majority of gaming laptops. But if you’re looking for pin-drop quiet, you’ll want to try the new WhisperMode, which as the name suggests make your laptop whisper-quiet.
NVIDIA was open about how Max-Q designs were about peak efficiency and not peak performance, so an NVIDIA GPU with Max-Q isn’t quite as powerful as the Nividia Pascal GPU. But how much performance are you missing out on.
Here is benchmark results between MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro, which has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Nividia Max-Q GPU, against the Alienware 15 and its regular GTX 1070 GPU.
I also compared the Asus ROG Zephyrus and its Nividia Max-Q GTX 1080 GPU against the Razer Blade Pro and its regular GTX 1080 GPU.