Welcome to the NotebookReview Forum Spotlight, a biweekly series where we highlight the hottest and most important topics in our forum. The NotebookReview forum is the largest Internet forum dedicated to the discussion of notebook computers, including Macs and tablets. You can sign up for free by clicking here.
Do You Really Need a GTX 1080 for 1080p Gaming?
Introduced in 2016 as Nvidia’s flagship graphics card, the GeForce GTX 1080 is still a formidable performer. But do you need one if all you’re going to be doing is 1080p gaming? The answer is no; a mainstream GeForce GTX 1060 would suffice for that. Today’s AAA game titles aren’t dramatically more demanding than they were in 2016.
Need versus want is a different matter. For 1080p gaming with an average frames per second (fps) in the triple digit range (think 120fps to take advantage of a 120Hz display), the GeForce GTX 1080 is your best bet. The GeForce GTX 1070 would also be a good candidate, but its fps in today’s AAA game titles would probably be in the upper 90s or lower 100 fps range.
How Hot Should Graphics Cards Get?
Gaming notebooks cram high-powered components into confined spaces, making them a challenge to keep cool. A forum member asked how hot a graphics card should get while gaming. The answer from our resident experts is that the GPU temperatures should get no higher than the mid-80 degree C range. Any hotter than that and you’re looking at potentially reduced component lifespan and, more immediately, reduced gaming performance due to thermal throttling. Most GPUs will begin to throttle about 90 degrees C, reducing their clockspeeds so they don’t generate as much heat.
Our forum members have an uncanny knack for identifying notebooks that thermal throttle, so be sure to check our various manufacturer forums for feedback on specific models before you purchase. The thinner a notebook is, the more susceptible it will be to thermal issues.
Moving From Windows to Mac …Have You Done It?
A forum member asked about potentially moving to Mac OS from Windows, given their Windows 7-based notebook was due for replacement. Here are some of the points brought up:
- For gaming, check if your games have Mac OS ports. Boot Camp can be used to run Windows on a Mac computer if you want to play Windows-only games.
- You may need to find an alternative to some of your oft-used Windows programs unless there is a native Mac version.
- You’ll need to relearn your keyboard shortcuts and a new keyboard layout.
- You might need to reformat your external storage drives. Mac OS can read but not write to traditional NTFS-formatted drives.
I used a MacBook Pro earlier this year for a few weeks, finding it more than usable for what I do as a lifetime Windows user. The apps I use all have native Mac versions. It took a few days to get accustomed to the keyboard layout and shortcuts, but it felt natural after a while. I didn’t miss the MacBook Pro after I had to send it back, and that made me realize why I didn’t get one in the first place. Given I could do my tasks equally well on both platforms, there was no reason for me to take the more expensive route.