Mobile gaming can be both a pleasure as well as a pain. Having the ability to game on the go is great, but being hamstrung by having to lug around bulky notebooks with poor battery life and mobile-class specs that can’t compete with what’s powering the systems of your desktop-based buddies.
However, if you’re in dire need of a swanky new gaming notebook and you’ve been waiting for a good reason to make the plunge, your wait might be over. Nvidia just announced a brand new lineup of mobile GPUs, dubbed the GeForce GTX 800M series. This lineup is populated from top to bottom by the 880M, 870M, 860M, 850M, 840M and 830M, joining the existing 820M GPU. Nvidia pegs the 880M, 870M, 860M and 850M as enthusiast-level GPUs fit for hardcore gaming.
Aside from the company’s promises of improved performance when compared with previous-gen Nvidia mobile GPUs, the new 800M series chips also feature Battery Boost, GameStream and ShadowPlay.
Nvidia claims that Battery Boost will significantly improve the battery life of any notebook equipped with it. Battery Boost accomplishes this partly by allowing you to lock in a target frame rate. That way, your system doesn’t fluctuate between a range of frame rates, and eases the stress on your system’s components, which reduces power draw and conserves battery life. On top of that, Nvidia states that Battery Boost only supplies the required amount of power needed for optimal in-game performance.
For instance, if your target frame rate is 30 fps and you lock that in, it’ll only supply enough power to your system required to stay at that target. If you need more power when you come across more graphically intense situations, Nvidia’s hardware will be supplied with just enough power required to handle the workload, but nothing more. We’re eager to give Battery Boost a shot and see if Nvidia’s claims of increased efficiency hold up.
The arrival of these new GeForce GTX 800M-series GPUs also bring with them two features that have already been present with desktop-based Nvidia graphics card; ShadowPlay and GameStream. ShadowPlay gives your notebook DVR-like functionality, allowing you to save at least the last 20 minutes of your gameplay, which makes sharing it with services like Twitch.tv easy. GameStream permits you to stream gameplay to devices like Nvidia’s own SHIELD.
The new Nvidia GeForce GTX 800M series GPUs will be made available in a variety of notebooks starting today. For instance, MSI’s new lineup of GT Dominator and GE Apache notebooks is stuffed with the company’s new chips, and those notebooks will begin shipping today. It’ll be interesting to see how rival GPU maker AMD responds to Nvidia’s latest salvo.
In the meantime, what do you think? Sound off in the comments below.