If you’re a serious PC gamer and haven’t purchased a new gaming laptop within the last year it might just be time for an upgrade. Today NVIDIA officially announced its newest mobile graphics chips for laptops: The Nvidia GeForce 800M line.
These latest 800M notebook graphics processing units (GPUs) are all based on NVIDIA’s new “Maxwell” architecture as well as several GPUs based on updated “Kepler” architecture from last year. While the previous generation of GeForce graphics chips featured key Nvidia technologies that automatically maximize consumer’s notebook performance and visual experience such as NVIDIA Optimus, GeForce Experience and GPU Boost 2.0, the new 800M series will be the first GPUs to feature a new power management solution called “Battery Boost” which promises to deliver up to twice the amount of play time while on battery power.
The dirty secret of gaming laptops has been that your gaming laptop really needs to be plugged into a power outlet. High-performance graphics consume much more battery power than just browsing the web, and a typical PC gamer would be lucky to get 50 minutes of play time on battery power with graphics settings on high.
Nvidia’s Battery Boost is an all new feature for GTX 800M notebooks that automatically delivers up to 2x longer battery life while playing games on the go. In short, Battery Boost is a collection of algorithms and driver management that optimizes the laptop’s hardware and the game being played for peak efficiency instead of peak performance. When a user unplugs from a power outlet, a pre-selected target frame rate (usually 30 FPS) kicks in, and Battery Boost does all the rest to ensure the notebook runs at peak efficiency. By keeping the frame rate at 30 FPS, Battery Boost ensures smooth gameplay and saves energy. The result is longer battery life, so users can game longer, anywhere.
But frame rate targeting is just one element of Battery Boost. Nvidia uses several algorithms to automatically manage how the GPU, CPU, and memory work during frame rendering to save power during every frame.
If you’re a hardcore gamer and you’re worried about all this “automatic stuff” happening in the background that limits your frame rates, you’ll be pleased to know the Battery Boost control panel allows the user to choose between higher quality or longer battery life. These settings would then only apply when a user launches the game while on battery. For the gamer on the go, this allows them the absolute longest gaming battery life … or you can override Battery Boost and get the maximum graphics performance and least amount of battery life.
Of course, Battery Boost works even better with the new Maxwell architecture in the 800M series. Maxwell introduces an all-new design for the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) that dramatically improves performance per watt and performance per area. Although the Kepler design used in the 700M was extremely efficient for its generation, Maxwelll delivers improvements to control logic partitioning, workload balancing, clock-gating granularity, scheduling, number of instructions issued per clock cycle, and many other efficiencies.
Maxwell also boasts a dramatically larger L2 cache design; 2048KB versus 256KB in Kepler. With more cache located on-chip, fewer requests to the graphics card DRAM are needed, thus reducing overall power consumption and improving performance.
The end result of all of these efforts is that Maxwell is able to deliver twice the performance per watt compared to Kepler, using the same 28nm manufacturing process.
- Alienware 17 with GeForce GTX 880M
- ASUS G750 with GeForce GTX 880M
- AVADirect Clevo P377SM-A with GeForce GTX 880M
- Gigabyte P34 with GeForce GTX 860M
- Lenovo Y50 with GeForce GTX 860M
- MSI GT70 with GeForce GTX 880M
- Razer Blade with GeForce GTX 870M
- Origin PC EON 17-S with GeForce GTX 880M
We will have more coverage of these laptops with the newest Nvidia GPUs coming soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out this discussion thread in our forums about the GeForce GTX 880M.