Every year NVIDIA launches quite a few new products; some are better than others, but they're all interesting. This fall, the big news is Maxwell 2.0, aka GM204. Initially launched last month as the GTX 980 and GTX 970, NVIDIA is hopefully changing the way notebook gamers get treated by launching the mobile version of the GM204 just one month later.

We've already covered all of the new features in the desktop launch, so things like DSR, FXAA, VXGI, DX12, and GameWorks are all part of the notebook launch marketing materials. Of course, as a notebook GPU there are a few extra features available that you don't see on desktop GPUs, mostly because such features aren't really needed. Optimus Technology has been around for several years now so there's not much to add; it allows laptops to dynamically switch between the lower power integrated graphics when you're not doing anything that requires a faster GPU, and it can turn on and utilize the faster discrete NVIDIA GPU when needed. BatteryBoost is a related technology that was first introduced with the GTX 800M series of GPUs, and it seeks to improve gaming battery life. Our test platform at the time didn't really give us the gains we were hoping to see, but NVIDIA assures us that the new GM204 mobile graphics chips will do much better at providing decent battery life while running games. We'll be diving into this in more detail once we get our test notebooks.

Speaking of which, no, we don't have a notebook yet. It was supposed to arrive late last week but ended up shipping Monday instead, which means it should be arriving about the time you're reading this. We'll be posting a separate look at gaming performance as soon as we're able, and we'll have a full review of the MSI GT72 in the coming week as well. For now, what we have are specifications for the mobile versions of GM204 and an overview of what to expect from the mobile versions of NVIDIA's new GPU.

If you've been following the computing industry to any degree over the past few years, a few trends are clearly becoming ever more important. One is that many PC desktop users are migrating to laptops and notebooks, but perhaps just as important is the migration of PC users to smartphones and tablets. There are numerous reasons for the shift – convenience along with increasing performance from handheld devices – but the result is a reduction in the growth of the PC industry. The good news for NVIDIA is that gaming notebooks are still a growing market, though how you define a "gaming notebook" is certainly something that can be manipulated.

NVIDIA's own figures show a 5X growth in gaming notebook sales during the past three years, so clearly there's a demand for getting more graphics performance into laptops. In fact, that's generally the number one desire from notebook gamers: "I want desktop class performance!" NVIDIA is aiming to do just that with the launch of the GTX 980M and GTX 970M.

Closing the Performance Gap with Desktops
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  • ignigena - Monday, October 13, 2014 - link

    check your maths. 280-300% based on the numbers you have given. Reply
  • zqw - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Please include in notebook reviews if Optimus can by bypassed, and the Intel GPU hidden. Armies of Rift DK2 devs will thank you.

    It would also be interesting to test throttling on battery, and watt/hr claims. I'm assuming even gaming laptop batteries can't deliver 150-200W?
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    Correct; the batteries in laptops can typically only deliver around 100W, so part of BatteryBoost is working with the manufacturers to improve the notebooks to better use that power. Reply
  • blah238 - Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - link

    HDMI 2.0? Reply
  • elbert - Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - link

    Higher clocked core and memory and you have the gtx960 and gtx960ti. I think the gtx960ti is due out early December. Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Sunday, November 2, 2014 - link

    Well anandtech , I own acer aspire v7 with GT 750M and I was able to play all new games perfectly .. Evil within I played on 720p even with some antialiasing and medium shadows ..
    And alien isolation on 1080p fluently and all on ultra settings !
    Now playing legend of grim rock 2 and it runs ok on 900p
    So am really asking aren't these top high end GPUs nothing else but just marketing?
    Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, January 1, 2015 - link

    no, as you just said, you had to turn down the resolution and the detail settings and shadows to get good performance. some of us want more than "ok" performance on a resolution that was outdated for pc gaming in 2005. Reply
  • KwasiJr55 - Friday, December 5, 2014 - link

    Does anyone know the prices for the 980m /970m, and where I could buy them. I have a Dell inspiring 17 7000 with a gt 750, but I do architecture so my Revit program is starting to slow down like crazy with my big projects. And I also want to play Crysis 3 with no problems lol :)
    thanks.
    Reply

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