NVIDIA Mobile GeForce GTX 10-Series Review: Pascal Notebooks Slay Benchmarks

NVIDIA's GeForce 10 Mobile Architecture

As we mentioned earlier, NVIDIA was able to bring Pascal to mobile platforms with very little, if any, compromises. For all intents and purposes, the mobile GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1060 are identical to their desktop counterparts, save for their form factors. The mobile GeForce GTX 1070, however, has a few more active CUDA cores (2048 vs. 1920) than its desktop counterpart, but somewhat lower clocks.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile notebooks

Enabling more cores, but lowering the clocks allows NVIDIA to use lower operating voltages on the mobile GeForce GTX 1070, which in turn reduces overall power consumption and thermal output.

Because all of these GPUs reside on MXM modules, there are obviously board-level differences. And their display output configurations will vary from machine to machine as well, but they’re effectively in the same class as desktop GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 cards. They offer similar performance, all of the same features, and the same memory configurations – including bleeding-edge 10Gbps GDDR5X in the case of the GTX 1080.

Due to the fact that these mobile Pascal-based GPUs are nearly identical to their desktop counterparts, we’re not going to rehash all of the technical details again here. For more in-depth coverage of Pascal, the GeForce GTX 1080, GeForce GTX 1070, and the GeForce GTX 1060, we suggest checking out our launch coverage of those products.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile perf

We’ll get to more specific benchmark numbers shortly, but this slide will give you an idea as to what we’re dealing with here. Mobile Pascal offers up to a 76% performance increase over comparable Maxwell-based GPUs, in similar power envelopes. We’ve been saying how efficient Pascal is in virtually all of our recent GPU coverage – and this is what all of that efficiency means to mobile platforms.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile power

In addition to Pascal’s power efficiency, discussing how NVIDIA was able to cram desktop-class GPUs into notebooks is worth exploring. Not only is the company carefully binning the chips, and using those that operate at the highest clocks, with the lowest voltages, but it has optimized power delivery at the board level as well. Mobile Pascal variants employ Dual-FET power supplies with multi-phased controllers, and traces and capacitance have been tuned and optimized throughout the PCBs as well.

We should also mention, that despite the relatively high default clocks, mobile Pascal-based GPUs are easily overclockable, using existing utilities like MSI’s Afterburner. We actually witnessed a mobile GeForce GTX 1080 running Doom at over 2GHz during our briefing.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile batter boost

There are also some new features to mention that are arriving alongside these GPUs. NVIDIA has optimized BatteryBoost to provide smoother frame delivery and new G-SYNC panels are coming too. The new BatteryBoost algorithms control frame rate timing directly in the GPU now, and as a result it offers more even frame metering and smoother gameplay. Previous implementations of BatteryBoost limited framerates earlier in the pipeline and was somewhat dependent on CPU performance, which could result in some larger-then-expected performance differences from frame to frame.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile gsync

There are also some new G-SYNC compatible displays coming to notebooks equipped with mobile Pascal. There are 120MHz displays on the way, along with additional 1440p displays as well.

geforce gtx 10 pascal mobile oems

Virtually every major notebook manufacturer plans to introduce products built-around NVIDIA’s mobile GeForce GTX 10-series. This is just a sampling of the manufacturers listed on the slide above.

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