Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)
Nvidia’s Max-Q initiative, which aims to slim down bulky gaming laptops with hand-picked chips and recommended dimensions and acoustics, has produced three laptops so far: The Clevo P950, Asus Zephyrus, and MSI GS63. While the MSI GS63 uses the same slim chassis as its predecessor—which was part of Nvidia’s 10-series laptop launch—both Clevo and Asus have created something new for Max-Q.
In the case of Asus at least, the new design is particularly wacky.
But let’s start with the basics. Max-Q is Nvidia’s attempt to make the gaming laptop more portable by giving OEMs like Asus and Clevo access to GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 GPUs that hit a sweet spot between performance and power.
These specially selected chips perform nearly as well as the standard laptop parts, but require far less power when under load.
The GTX 1080 goes from a rated max power consumption of 150W to between 90W and 100W, the GTX 1070 goes from 115W TDP to 80W-90W, and the GTX 1060 goes from 80W to 60-70W.
Less wattage means less heat, which in turn means less cooling, resulting in thinner and quieter laptop designs. While Nvidia hasn’t put a hard restriction on the physical dimensions of Max-Q laptops—the Clevo comes in at 19mm thick, the Asus at 18mm—it is pushing for a limit on fan noise. Max-Q laptops have an upper limit of 40dbA when under load.
If a laptop goes over that it doesn’t make the cut, and misses out on access to Max-Q chips and branding.
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