Nvidia Preparing 40 Series Laptops for Launch
The latest and most powerful graphics cards in Nvidia’s line, the 40 series set computers (sometimes almost literally) on fire when they hit shelves in 2022. Launching on October 12th with the 4090, this new generation was leaps above the already impressive 30 series, though Nvidia did stumble with some models and pricing plans. As is typically the case a few months after the launch of desktop cards, the 40 series is now coming to laptops too.
With a full line-up containing the 4050 to the 4090, these cards will be a step down from their desktop cousins, but they’re still expected to deliver some of the best performances in the business. While we await launch, many industry spectators are curious about how new generations of processing demands could affect the way we play. This raises questions about which games will be best suited to the new platforms, and where gaming might fall short.
Not Quite Desktop Speeds
Laptop GPUs not matching up to desktop systems is a given, as an insurmountable issue that arises when placing high-performance hardware in laptop systems. This approach comes with three issues that aren’t readily solvable with today’s technology.
The first challenge is that of space, where a laptop’s limited frame needs to be a certain size to be truly transportable. Basically, it needs to be able to fit on a lap. This can be problematic when faced with the ever-growing size of high-end graphics cards, with a desktop 4090 being a similar size as an entire Xbox Series S console. To make it smaller, developers reduce the number of components and remove some features, which has an obvious effect on performance.
Next is the problem of heat. Normal desktop towers require powerful cooling solutions including a large heat sync for the CPU, multiple dedicated fans for the GPU, and strong cooling throughput. With limited internal space and smaller fans, laptops can’t hope to achieve the same level of cooling that desktops can, which will again hurt performance.
A Problem with Battery Life
The final major challenge, which is likely to be the biggest factor holding the higher-end 40 series laptops back, is battery life. These new GPUs from Nvidia are extremely power-hungry, with many professionals suggesting 1600-watt power supplies on desktop units. Most standard laptops only consume around 100 watts of power, creating a significant disparity.
Cabled and Battery Play
While we don’t have the specs for a 40 series range of laptops available yet, we can at least compare potential use with the last generation of 3080Ti mobile cards. These were among the most power-draining laptops ever created, and even some of the best batteries on the market couldn’t give them a lifespan of 5 hours in performance conditions.
This brings to mind exactly how useful these gaming laptops would be for gaming, and for how long. On the less-demanding end, playing on online gambling sites like Wazamba and Dafabet wouldn’t cause any problems with a lack of battery life. Basic access to these websites and their bonuses like free spins and deposit matches places nearly no strain on laptops. While playing games will be more demanding, even the cutting-edge live dealer titles wouldn’t degrade battery life much over casual use. Here, titles like live blackjack and roulette are optimized for smartphone-level performance, so they wouldn’t stress CPU or GPU hardware on more powerful laptop machines.
Compare this to a demanding video game like Cyberpunk 2077. This game uses cutting-edge ray tracing and crowd technology to simulate a detailed city, so it pushes systems to their maximum. Given how battery technology has not significantly improved recently, and how any 4090 GPUs will be far more demanding than the 3080Ti example, concern about playability is only natural. Lowering settings in these games could increase battery life span, but nobody buys the most powerful gaming laptops to turn their settings down.
Ultimately, gaming laptops of the highest spec, like the coming range of 4090 laptops, might be best served if we view them as not entirely mobile systems. As with internet connections via LAN cables, going wireless can be convenient, but it’s never the fastest and most reliable way to engage. Instead, the upper tiers of these laptops could be better regarded as less clunky cabled PCs.
While the mid-range and low-range new 40 series of laptops could be much better in terms of mobile functionality and lifespan, battery degradation will still lead them to a cabled environment. If you’re a diehard laptop gamer, you probably know this already, but for everyone else, keep in mind that playing on the go, even with the best tech, isn’t as simple as it’s cracked up to be, and there will be points where going mobile falls frustratingly short.