NVIDIA's Unveils Battery Saving Beauties With New 800M Series

Nvidia's New Laptop Cards Are Battery-Saving Scorchers

PC gaming on a laptop usually involves you lugging around a giant desktop replacement and eventually straining everything you care about on your body. NVIDIA wants you to play AAA games on a thin and light laptop with a battery that lasts more than 40 minutes. Meet the new GeForce 800M series.

Overnight NVIDIA unveiled six new dedicated graphics cards meant for laptops in the 800M series: the high-end GTX880M, moving down the range to the GTX870M, GTX860M and landing at the entry-level GTX850M. These are the ones meant for gaming.

The family of four has the new Kepler-based 880M and the 870M filling out the top half and the Maxwell repping 860M and 850M on the bottom.

Nvidia's New Laptop Cards Are Battery-Saving Scorchers

The lower end gets the bigger boost in power over last year's 700M models, with the switch to Maxwell offering 60 and 50 per cent improvement on the 860M and 850M respectively. The 870M and 880M improvements are a little more modest at 30 and 15 per cent. But that's enough to run games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Metro: Last Light at 1080p on Ultra.

The 800M series is all about battery optimisation when you play your games. The average gaming laptop right now isn't smart enough to realise that it can kill itself within 40 minutes of play-time. That's mostly because gaming was originally done on desktops where power wasn't a problem. NVIDIA wants to build smarter chips to make your play sessions longer without needing a charger.

In test scenarios, NVIDIA was able to run Borderlands 2 at 30fps in 1080p on an Intel Core i7 machine with a GTX860M on-board, all powered by a 70-watt hour battery for a total of two hours and 11 minutes.

All of this extra battery life cleverness is managed through NVIDIA's clever little software suite known as GeForce Experience. It allows you to set up a Battery Boost profile for your games so that you don't have to go and change settings to optimise life in every single game.

The new NVIDIA graphics cards are also smarter about when they should be in use. Smart switching is automatically configured on every laptop running at GTX800M series card, meaning that your laptop will happily trundle along using integrated graphics when doing stuff like web-browsing and word processing, but will fire up your graphics card when it figures out you're gaming. Rather than just power the graphics card 100 per cent of the time, the laptop will dynamically manage it, giving you 2x the battery life according to NVIDIA.

As far as speed is concerned, NVIDIA hails the GTX850M as 30 per cent more powerful than the top-end GTX580M from two years ago. We'll have to see how that comes off when we benchmark it ourselves, but it's a good claim to be sure.

There are two other graphics processors in the line-up meant for non-gaming laptops. The GeForce 840M and the GeForce 830M are meant for bringing the majority of AAA titles to laptops that weren't originally meant to play games. Think an Ultrabook that can actually play games and you're there.

Using the new GeForce processors, NVIDIA was able to get Skyrim running at a consistent 30FPS on 1080p with medium settings. That was on a laptop packing an Intel Core i5-4210U processor with the GeForce 840M.

The new GeForce chips aren't meant for hardcore portable gamers, but they'll get you over the line in a pinch.

Here are the new laptops coming this year with the new GTX800M series:

GTX880M

• MSI GT70 Dominator • Alienware 17 • Asus G750

GTX870M

• Razer Blade

GTX860M

• Lenovo Y50 • Gigabyte P34

These are just the launch models that NVIDIA is able to tell us about at the announcement of the GT800M. NVIDIA promises that we'll have six times the amount of thin and light gaming laptops in the next 12 months than we did in 2011. Happy days!

What would you want in a gaming laptop? Tell us in the comments!

Eric Limer also contributed to this article


Comments

    People that use laptops for gaming are idiots. You have a shit small monitor, the hardware, as much as manafacturers try, will never be as good as it can get for a desktop, and the overheating/battery is no good! Although I suppose there are gullible wannabe gamers out there stupid enough to fork out the money for it all.

      It's very handy though for the case of the traveler who still wants to game (business peeps come to mind + possible tax right-off)

      They are not idiots. They are gamers who like to take their passion with them.

      At the end of the day, what matters is the game, not what you play it on.

      I like to think of it as a portable hybrid gaming device. I can watch movies/do work while away from home and play games while connected to a power point. I have a 27" monitor at home and a mechanical keyboard and mouse that I can take with me.

      There are countless reasons on why someone would want a gaming laptop.
      Convenience.
      Mobility.
      Want only one computer.
      Energy efficiency.
      Travel a lot.
      Easier for lan MP.
      Personally I think the best scenario is a relatively high end custom desktop + a mid end laptop, the mid end, with say a GTX850m, should suffice for high 720p/mid 1080p portability gaming. The end result will cost roughly the same price as a singular top end laptop or a monstrous desktop.

      You can say the same for consoles, smartphones, all gaming systems actually. I usually take the PC Elitist route but your comment is very ignorant.

      Also:
      A) Monitors can be connected to laptops you know? At least you can use a laptop without an external monitor, try doing that with a desktop :P
      B) The hardware is not as good as it could be, but it's still bloody impressive for the price and power consumption. Remember, these mobile components use f*ck all in the way of power to do what they do.
      C) Overheating? Really? For a crap laptop yeah, that's an issue, same with crap PCs.
      D) Your seriously complaining about battery life? Even a crap gaming laptop will get an hour or 2 of use before dieing, unplug your desktop and tell us how long it lasts.

      I agree, for raw performance, desktops trump laptops, hands down. But there are so many reasons to buy a gaming laptop over a desktop it's not even funny. God, imagine if you could bring a computer that was 80%-90% the power of a desktop but weighed almost nothing and didn't need any ports free except for LAN.

      right because it doesnt fit into your use case scenarios it means its stupid right?

      Having been a uni student who could only afford one or the other (laptop or desktop). Obviously a laptop is the wiser choice
      So naturally if you want to game as well, you go for a gaming laptop.

      This way you get to use a computer at uni or work and game anytime anywhere as well.

      Back in the day battery life was atrocious even for non gaming laptops so it made not much difference. With the advent of dual GPUs and power saving features, having a gaming laptop has become a minimal compromise option (weight and size, but that too has significantly improved)

      Furthermore, you also have the option of ViDock external gpus to get desktop graphics when youre at home (depending on model of laptop), so you get the best of both worlds

      Also desktop replacement laptops take up way less space and give you a dual monitor experience option when docked to a monitor.

      Then theres the power saving, heat and cost benefits too

      So not as stupid as you think

    People who make sweeping blanket statements without understanding why someone might do something differently are idiots.

    OT, I have a gaming lappy with the 765m, might see if I can downsize to less of a brick if the price is right on something with the 860m (once the drivers are decent and the improvements in frames are proven).

    In test scenarios, NVIDIA was able to run Borderlands 2 at 30fps in 1080p on an Intel Core i7 machine with a GTX860M on-board, all powered by a 70-watt hour battery for a total of two hours and 11 minutes.

    Since when was 30fps an acceptable framerate to benchmark PC gaming

    this isnt a console.

    Companies need to cut this bullshit catering to lowest common denominator and misleading consumers

    60fps or dont bother.

    id rather game at 60fps @ 720p than 30fps @FHD

      And I'd much rather game for 2 hours at 30 FPS than for 40 minutes at 100 FPS

      Last edited 13/03/14 6:37 pm

        I'd rather just take my power brick with me

      The whole point is that they have a "power boost" feature that saves battery by, among other things, locking the framerate to 30fps. If you don't care about battery you can easily turn it off, but don't expect to get anywhere close to decent battery life.

        so really its not as revolutionary as they have marketted it

          Nothing anything else has ever had it, and locking the framerate is only a small part of the power saving features (the chip is also designed to be as efficient as possible, even with the power boost off it should last longer than the older chips), so yes, it probably is.

          Last edited 14/03/14 6:11 pm

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