Want the power of a desktop gaming PC and the portability of a laptop? While NVIDIA and AMD have been offering discrete graphics chips for notebooks for years, up until now they’ve generally been less powerful than desktop graphics cards.

Now NVIDIA is changing things: the company’s most powerful laptop graphics solution to date is identical to its most powerful desktop chip in pretty much most of the ways that matter.

We should start to see gaming laptops with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics this year. Just don’t expect them to be cheap… or small.

gtx 980_01

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 features 2048 graphics cores, support for 7 Gpbs memory, and support for overclocking, in case you want to squeeze even more performance out of the graphics processor.

For the first time, NVIDIA is also providing users with the ability to control the fan, allowing you to adjust the speed to balance noise and performance.

The desktop version of the GTX 980 graphics card has a 165 watt TDP. NVIDIA says the mobile version should be a little lower due to some optimizations. But clearly you’re going to need a fan to help keep things cool and a big battery if you want to get more than a few minutes of run time. So don’t expect to see this graphics processor in thin-and-light ultrabooks anytime soon.

A number of PC makers including MSI, Asus, Aorus, and Clevo have already announced plans to launch notebooks with GeForce GTX 980 graphics… and all of those systems have 17 inch displays.

The Asus GX700VO even has a removable water cooling system that attaches to the back of the laptop.

asus gx700

It would probably be cheaper to buy a gaming desktop than any of these notebooks, but it’s a lot harder to move a desktop from one room to another or carry it with you when you leave the house.

These new laptops could make decent desktop replacements though: among other things, NVIDIA says systems with GTX 980 graphics should be able to support gaming across 3 full HD displays. The company says laptops with the new GPU will also be the first with the recommended specifications for Oculus Rift virtual reality applications.

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10 replies on “NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 brings desktop-class graphics to (big) laptops”

  1. I find the timing odd, I’m already not buying a desktop 980TI, because Pascal GPUs will pay for themselves simply by a sizable reduction in my electric bill, so its worth waiting, unless your GPU is really really old.

    And as far as laptops go, certainly I wouldn’t even consider buying one without Pascal, cause that lends itself naturally, while a 980 with its TDP and power draw is just really stretching it…

    Just give me an ultrabook with a Thunderbolt port into which I can hook a little box with a 980TI GPU or next year’s Pascal GPUs…

    That way, I can carry it / hook it up when I need a big GPU and otherwise, I’m not needlessly burdened with a heavy, clunky monster of a laptop.

  2. So this will probably be the GTX 990M based on the current Maxwell naming conventions? 970M is very similar performance-wise to the desktop 960. 980M is similar in performance to the desktop 970. It only makes sense that this desktop 980 class mobile GPU thus be the 990M. Calling it a 980 would just confuse the heck out of everyone who already owns a 980M (since they’ve been on the market since last year).

    1. Nope. They’re just leaving out the M. This is the first laptop chip that’s the same as the current desktop chip. No M required.

      1. Interesting. I still find that confusing. Now we will see laptops with the 980 and the 980M side by side. No one smells a marketing issue there?

        1. The issue will be solved when the user scrolls on participating manufacturers pages or retail sites and sees the 980m laptops are cheaper than the ones with the 980.

  3. Holly…you know what. That Hoover Dam cooling hump is huge! How could you seriously say “but it’s a lot harder to move a desktop from one room to another or carry it with you when you leave the house.” I know you were snickering when you wrote that? That set up is morto grande! to carry it around from room to room or when you leave the house, you might as well be lugging a pc sff tower with your peripherals, minus the screen.

    1. You realize that cooling device has nothing to do with the GPU?

      That’s a water cooler for the upcoming Skylake unlocked laptop CPUs

      1. I guess the joke was lost in translation Grant. I’ll try harder next time.. 🙂

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