After debuting at CES 2021 just weeks ago, laptops with Nvidia’s flagship RTX 3000 mobile silicon are already available. If you’ve ever wanted to experience Nvidia’s more powerful and capable Ampere graphics architecture — which until now has only been available on desktop — you can finally get a laptop that pairs Nvidia’s mobile GPU with either the latest 11th-Gen chipset from Intel or AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors.
With the latest silicon under the hood, these laptops promise to be powerful systems that can handle serious gaming, creative projects, and more. If you’re in the market for a new, powerful gaming laptop this year, be sure to read on for our review roundup of some of the most compelling
RTX 3080: 2K gaming ready
MSI has earned some solid reviews with its GS66 Stealth, a powerful
With the latest 3080 mobile GPU under the hood, The Verge found that the GS66 Stealth is a solid leap over the prior-generation RTX 2080 mobile. The publication found that most games played well above the 60 frames per second (fps) mark at 2K resolution. Even with ray tracing enabled, this laptop has no problems keeping up.
Titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn, Death Standing, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with
Some notable complaints include loud fan noise, which could make gaming without a headphone problematic if you want to hear all the audio details from your game, along with a cramped keyboard layout and some flexing.
RTX 3070: A solid RTX 2080 Super upgrade
If you don’t need all the performance of the RTX 3080 mobile GPU, you can save some money by going with a Nvidia’s midrange RTX 3070. With solid
During its CES presentation, Nvidia claimed that the RTX 3070 mobile chipset can handle 1440p gaming at 90 fps, These
Alienware gets amped up on Ampere
Alienware’s fourth-generation m15 gets a lot of high marks for its hardware configurations: This
The upgrade to an RTX 3070 from last year’s m15 R3’s RTX 2070 delivers a solid performance boost, and PCMag noted that under the Cinebench R15 test, the R4’s score of 1,692 is 350 points ahead of the R3. The new GPU led in this benchmark against laptop rivals with the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, RTX 2080 Max-Q, and the RTX 2070. Compared to the Acer Predator Triton 500 with an RTX 2080 Max-Q, the Alienware scored 600 points higher on the same Cinebench test.
In gaming, the Alienware m15 R4 also commanded a solid lead over its peers, due largely to its more modern GPU. With normal and medium game presets at 1080p, the Alienware performed at least 10 fps higher than its rivals, and the laptop exceeded 120 fps in both Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. On ultra and very hgigh presets, the Alienware still led the pack, but its rivals were able to eat into the lead. Still, with a performance of 114 fps on Far Cry 5 and 123 fps on Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, the laptop makes for a solid gaming rig while mobile. These results were very similar to Laptop Mag‘s benchmarks.
Surprisingly, despite going with an RTX 3070, Hot Hardware revealed that the Alienware m15 R4 was able to keep up with competitive frame rates that matched the more powerful MSI GS66 Stealth on Far Cry 5 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War.
The problem is that on more demanding titles, like Metro Exodus, the Alienware struggles to reach 60 fps at 1440p, so its configuration with a
Asus TUF Dash F15
Loaded with an RTX 3070, the TUF F15 features a more balanced blend of hardware befitting its graphics card, unlike the more premium Alienware m15 R4. The TUF Dash F15 is a solid choice, especially at its upgraded price of $1,699, as it boasts an FHD-resolution 15.6-inch display with a whopping fast 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time with G-Sync support.
Overall, if you love Alienware’s futuristic design, the new TUF Dash comes with a similar plastic-clad aesthetic and modern, stylized TUF branding on the lid in a similar white hue. And even though it bears a resemblance to the Alienware, the TUF edges out its rival with a modern quad-core Intel Core i7-11375H processor with an improved 10nm architecture.
In PCMag‘s test, the new processor manages to beat out its stablemates — like the Core i7-10750-powered Lenovo Legion 5i and the Core i7-10875H-powered Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition — in the PC Mark 10 benchmark. It even inches ahead of the eight-core Ryzen 7 4800H processor on the MSI Alpha 15, showing the strength of Intel’s new Tiger Lake H-series.
While the TUF Dash F15 remains competitive in gaming performance when compared to its rivals, its frame rates of 89 fps on normal and 85 fps on ultra on Far Cry 5 reveal that its RTX 3070 implementation is different than the more capable Alienware m15 R4. The difference in performance relates to the thermal design power rating of the cards. Here, the frame rate is very similar to the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q.
So while you’re not getting the best-in-class mobile performance from a lower TDP card on the TUF, you’re getting a nice balance of power, performance, and affordability. At a starting price of $1,099, the TUF is a great gaming buy that’s more than capable at 1080p gaming. Highlights include cool and quiet operations and a great keyboard.
Gigabyte Aorus 15G
The third RTX 3070-powered laptop unveiled on launch day is the Auros 15G, a laptop with a more subdued design that features an all-black body and metal lid. With a slim chassis, the Aorus could easily disguise itself as an ultraportable.
Powered by an Intel Core i7-10870H processor and Nvidia’s RTX 3070, the Aorus also packs in a 15.6-inch FHD display with 2 a40Hz refresh rate that makes it a good choice for e-sport gaming. However, if you opt for this model, be aware that the display runs a bit dim — it peaks at just 279 nits — according to Laptop Mag’s review, and the keyboard is squishy and not as responsive. At a starting price of $1,799, these flaws could be a deal breaker for most gamers, however, despite the laptop’s solid gaming performance.
In 1080p gaming with game settings maxed out, the Aorus managed to stay above 60 fps in most titles. Laptop Mag‘s test showed that the laptop hit 62 fps on Assassin’s Creed Odyssey with Ultra settings at 1080p, which is well above the 47 fps average on most
In general, while this
Gigabyte Aero 15
If you want a
At this price, you’re getting a similar Intel Core i7-10870H processor alongside Nvidia’s RTX 3070 graphics paired with 32GB of system
Gamers who like to stream their action may want to invest in a capable webcam, however, as the placement of the webcam on the Aero 15 leaves a lot to be desired. To keep the bezels slim, Aero resorted to placing the webcam on the keyboard deck, making for some awkward video angles.
Gaming performance is very similar to what you would expect on the Alienware, with both
RTX 3060 coming later
Nvidia promised that more than 70
At CES, Nvidia claimed that RTX 3060 mobile
Though Nvidia promises strong gaming performance with its RTX 3000 series mobile family, the GPU maker has also added plenty of confusion to what gamers can expect this year. Though Nvidia isn’t killing branding for the slim and powerful Max-Q
“We strongly encourage to list clocks and other technologies a laptop supports, including Advanced Optimus, Dynamic Boost 2, and more,” Nvidia said in a statement addressing rumors that it will be doing away with Max-Q branding. “Ultimately, like all laptop features and specs, it is up to the [manufacturer] to market what their particular laptop configuration supports.”
Without proper labeling in place, this could result in gamers realizing that their RTX 3080 Max-Q model isn’t quite as capable as a rival’s RTX 3070 with optimal cooling in the design. Because Max-Q comes with strict requirements for noise and temperature output, many of the Max-Q GPUs operate at a lower TDP and come with lower clock speeds as a trade-off — choices that have material impact on performance.
This year, more than ever, anyone shopping for gaming notebooks will have to do their research because of Nvidia’s branding decision.
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