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Gaming notebooks with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1050 will likely show up at CES 2017

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Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

It was only a matter of time before news of laptops based on Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip would surface. Unnamed sources from the upstream supply chain are now chatting about the upcoming CES 2017 trade show taking place at the beginning of the new year. GTX 1050 notebook solutions are expected to be revealed during the annual event alongside Intel’s upcoming “Kaby Lake” seventh-generation “H” processors for high-end notebooks and gaming laptops.

The unnamed sources specifically name Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and Lenovo as laptop manufacturers who will reveal notebooks based on the GTX 1050 and Kaby Lake-H processors in a few weeks. And as expected, the sources also said that manufacturers will be showcasing products that rely on Intel’s upcoming 200 Series chipsets for motherboards along with mini PCs.

If you’re not up to speed with Nvidia’s GTX 1050 graphics chip, it’s the latest in the company’s GTX 10 Series based on its fairly new “Pascal” graphics chip design. It’s at the bottom of the 10 Series totem pole in performance and price, following the GTX 1060, the GTX 1070, the GTX 1080, and the updated Titan X. The vanilla GTX 1050 has a suggested price of $110 while the GTX 1050 Ti has a suggested price of $140. Here are the differences:

GTX 1050 GTX 1050 Ti
Architecture: Pascal Pascal
CUDA cores: 640 768
Base clock speed: 1,354MHz 1,290MHz
Boost clock speed: 1,455MHz 1,392MHz
Memory amount: 2GB GDDR5 4GB GDDR5
Memory speed: 7Gb per second 7Gb per second
Memory interface: 128-bit 128-bit
Memory bandwidth: 112GB per second 112GB per second
VR Ready: No No
SLI Ready: No No
Ports: 1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x Dual Link-DVI
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x Dual Link-DVI

As the specs show, both versions of the GTX 1050 aren’t capable of supporting the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headsets for virtual reality. Nvidia actually suggests using the GTX 1060 graphics chip or better, so mobile PC gamers looking for a little virtual fun with the popular headsets will need to hunt down a notebook with a GTX 1060 graphics chip or better.

According to the sources, notebooks already equipped with Nvidia’s GTX 1060 graphic chip are still experiencing strong demand overseas, in markets such as China and Southeast Asia. They believe the new units equipped with the GTX 1050 will bolster gaming notebook sales. That will likely hold true here in the United States as well, as the GTX 1050 laptops should work just fine when Microsoft releases Creators Update for Windows 10 in the spring along with the compatible VR/AR headsets provided by third-party manufacturers.

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The sources add that Asus and MSI are the current top-selling vendors in the gaming laptop market. Meanwhile, Lenovo, Dell, and HP are adjusting their strategies in this specific notebook sector to increase their gaming laptop offerings for the $900 to $1,300 price range. Lenovo is reportedly the most aggressive of the trio by doubling its gaming laptop efforts in China with “competitive” specifications and pricing.

PC gamers wanting an affordable laptop solution should have something to look forward to next month. Of course, the prices will ultimately depend on the end configurations, but there should be a good variety of pre-configured GTX 1050 laptops to fit the budget of every PC gamer. We can’t wait to see what shows up next month at the Las Vegas convention!