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Nvidia confirms changes to Max-Q laptop GPU branding

Update (22/01/21): Earlier this week, Nvidia began changing some of the messaging around Max-Q, planning to drop the GPU differentiating moniker for the upcoming RTX 30 GPUs for laptops. Nvidia already got in touch with us once to explain this, stating that Max-Q has grown “beyond only GPU optimisations”. Now to clear up any lingering questions, a second statement has been sent over. Speaking with KitGuru this morning, an Nvidia spokesperson said:

“When we originally introduced Max-Q back in 2017, the brand was initially used in GPU naming since Max-Q referred to the GPU TGP only. Today, 3rd Generation Max-Q is broader, and is a holistic set of platform technologies and design approach to building powerful and thin laptops.”

“In addition, to be more transparent about a laptop’s exact capabilities, RTX 30 Series laptops now show more information than ever, listing exact TGP, clocks and features supported. You will find this in the control panel which now reports maximum power (TGP+Boost), and support for key features including Dynamic Boost 2, WhisperMode 2, Advanced Optimus, and others, all of which fall under the Max-Q umbrella.”

Nvidia is putting the onus on OEMs to properly advertise their laptop’s features moving forward: “We strongly encourage OEMs to list clocks and other technologies a laptop supports, including Advanced Optimus, Dynamic Boost 2, and more. Ultimately, like all laptop features and specs, it is up to the OEM to market what their particular laptop configuration supports.”

Original Story (21/01/21): For previous generations of Nvidia laptop GPUs, the company has differentiated between SKUs with a Max-Q or Max-P moniker, indicating that the GPU has a lower power target. With the upcoming generation of RTX 30 series GPUs for laptops, the Max-Q and Max-P naming scheme will be dropped.

This was first reported by Notebookcheck, who heard from Nvidia that it would no longer be differentiating between Max-Q or Max-P as every Ampere mobile GPU is capable of third-gen Max-Q features. In a statement given to KitGuru, Nvidia expanded on this a bit.


Image credit: Nvidia

In our conversation, an Nvidia spokesperson told us: “Since it was introduced four years ago, Max-Q has been a paradigm shift in the way laptops are designed and built. Every component and element of the laptop – GPU, CPU, software, PCB design, power delivery, thermals – is optimized for power and performance. For our GeForce RTX 30 Series laptops, we’ve developed new 3rd gen Max-Q Technologies that leverage our expertise and leadership in AI and new system optimizations to deliver substantial improvements to efficiency, performance, battery life, and acoustics.”

These 3rd gen Max-Q technologies are “system and platform-level optimisations” for thin and light laptops. As Max-Q has expanded “beyond only GPU optimisations”, the branding has been “updated to reflect that”.

With that in mind, checking spec sheets on new laptops will be more important this year, as OEMs can enable or disable certain Max-Q features at their discretion, which in turn can impact the performance and power draw of the GPU.

KitGuru Says: Are any of you looking to upgrade your laptop this year? How do you feel about the Max-Q and Max-P branding changing? 

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