Gaming Laptops get RTX 4090 in 2023

Nvidia just announced RTX 40 series GPUs for gaming laptops in 2023! Here’s everything you need to know! Let’s not waste any time and dive straight into the specs. This year Nvidia are giving us RTX 4090, 4080, 4070, 4060 and 4050 graphics for laptops. There are definitely some welcome changes here, like the lowest tier RTX 4050 now having 6 gigs of VRAM, while the RTX 4060 moves up to 8 gigs compared to the 6 gigs found in the previous RTX 3060, RTX 2060, and even GTX 1060 before that.

The power limit ranges are much wider too, last gen an RTX 3070 laptop GPU started at 80 watts minimum. Now this year the RTX 4070 can go as low as 35 watts, and I’ve already shown in my ASUS announcement video that they’re putting a RTX 4070 into a 13 inch laptop – crazy stuff. This must be possible due to the improved power efficiency of the 40 series. Nvidia says their new Ada architecture can compete against last gen 30 series with just 1/3rd of the power. According to this less than detailed graph, an unnamed RTX 40 series GPU at 40 watts delivers the same performance as an RTX 3070.

That’s a pretty big claim, and honestly it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out if that was with DLSS 3 enabled in a game, so I suspect this might not be a true apples to apples comparison.

Of course I’m more than happy to be proven wrong! Because that would be amazing. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this isn’t a fair comparison, as DLSS 3 is a new feature that’s only available with RTX 40 series. But still, assuming they are factoring in DLSS 3, it would have been nice for them to specify.

As for gaming performance, Nvidia are showing some pretty big gains there too. This time there’s actually some fine print which specifies that DLSS frame generation is on when available, so DLSS 3 with 40 series, and that explains the big performance differences. Nvidia also included a few more games in this graph, so closer to a 1.5x boost in other games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Red Dead Redemption 2, games that don’t currently implement DLSS 3. And those massive 3 to 4x improvements only seem to be seen in games with ray tracing enabled.

As always, take these results with a grain of salt and remain skeptical until we can get 3rd party benchmark data. I’ve actually got 4 of the exact same laptop chassis coming in, but with RTX 4090, 4080, 4070 and 4060 GPUs to do fair comparisons, make sure you’re subscribed for those! Alright we need to talk about RTX 4090 laptops..

My first thought was RTX 4090 graphics in a laptop sounds crazy!

Although we had RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti desktop graphics cards last year, laptops were always behind the highest tier, at least in terms of naming, maxing out at 3080 Ti last year. At the end of the day, 4090 really is just a title Nvidia are giving to their best option this generation. The desktop 4090 actually has a whopping 68% more CUDA cores compared to the laptop version, not to mention 8 more gigs of faster memory and a 3 times higher power limit, so don’t be under any illusion, the desktop 4090 will destroy the laptop 4090.

I’m really not a fan of the same name being used for both the laptop and the desktop GPU. I kind of get it from Nvidia’s perspective, they just want to give the top tier option the same name.

The main problem I’ve got with that is that the desktop 4090 graphics card has been out for a few months now, and people have seen that insane level of performance. And I think it’s fair to assume that a number of people are probably going to be expecting similar performance from a 4090 laptop. So for that reason, I will be comparing a 4090 desktop against a 4090 laptop as soon as I can, again make sure you’re subscribed for all these comparisons! I mean the RTX 4090 is available in the ASUS Zephyrus G14, a 14 inch gaming laptop, 14 inches! But as amazing as that might perform relative to other 14 inch options, it’s not going to touch a desktop.

Gaming Laptops get RTX 4090 in 2023!?

The RTX 4090 laptop GPU actually has the same amount of CUDA cores as an RTX 4080 desktop card, so maybe that would be a fairer comparison if we want to ignore naming. Of course the desktop 4080 would still have a huge advantage of a higher power limit and much bigger cooler. Other improvements from what Nvidia is referring to as 5th gen Max-Q technologies include the previously mentioned DLSS 3, as well as ultra low voltage GDDR6 memory, and what they’re calling tri speed memory control. Which allows the GPU to dynamically switch between new lower powered memory states, which should help improve efficiency depending on the workload, and might help boost battery life. Just to be clear, Nvidia did not say that that would help with battery life, I’m just speculating.

Nvidia’s also quietly updated the existing RTX 3050 for laptops, and we’re going to see this used in cheaper 2023 gaming laptops. The refreshed RTX 3050 actually goes up to 6 gigs of VRAM now, compared to 4 last year, same as the RTX 3060, and it’s got the same 2560 CUDA cores as the higher tier RTX 3050 Ti.

Performance will of course depend on the power limits of each, but with the same power this really makes it seem like an RTX 3050 from this year could beat an RTX 3050 Ti from last year. Not confusing at all. This wasn’t mentioned at all during the CES event, which I assume is because they wanted to focus on the new RTX 40 series.

But I’ve already seen plenty of spec sheets of upcoming 2023 laptops that will feature this new 6 gig RTX 3050. Interestingly, this new RTX 3050 has the same CUDA core count and VRAM capacity as the new RTX 4050. The 4050 can run up to higher power limits and clocks higher, but if I can find both GPUs in the same laptop chassis with the same power limit, well it could be a great way of comparing RTX 30 and 40 series somewhat fairly.

So when can you actually get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 40 series gaming laptop? RTX 4080 and 4090 models will be launching first on February 8th, and will start from $1999 USD, presumably for the lower RTX 4080, and then more for the 4090.

RTX 4050, 4060 and 4070 models are coming a bit later, from February 22nd, and start at $999 USD, again presumably for the lowest RTX 4050 option. There will still be gaming laptops this year under a thousand dollars, don’t worry. That’s where the refreshed RTX 3050 comes in. I’ve already seen some comments saying that a thousand dollars for the 4050 is crazy, but I’m not so sure.

I mean before today’s announcements, for $1000 you could get a good RTX 3060 gaming laptop like an Acer Helios 300 or Lenovo Legion 5, granted with a good sale.

But if the RTX 4050 is able to beat the 3060 while offering new features like DLSS 3, then it’s not really much of a problem. Ultimately it’s all going to come down to how well these new GPUs actually perform in games, which remains to be seen, so make sure you’re subscribed for my upcoming comparisons! And find out about all the new upcoming 2023 gaming laptops that will feature these new GPUs here. I’ll see you over in one of those videos next!.

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