Do you know which 30-series mobile graphics card to buy? More difficult than you might think. Nvidia currently offers eight different mobile graphics cards: the RTX 3050, 3050 Ti, 3060, 3070, and 3080, as well as the Max-Q variants of the previous three. And then there are 42 different versions of these cards in the range, leading to widely varied performance depending on which version you get.
This comes down to the total graphics power of the TGP, or GPU. When designing laptops, manufacturers have to decide how much board power to allocate to the graphics card, and they have some skirting room. The more power a card receives, the faster its clock speed can be, which changes the raw power of the card.
The u / Fidler_2K chart on Reddit shows how two different cards with the same name can be. The RTX 3060 (non-Max-Q version) ranges anywhere between 10.94 TFLOPs to 13.07 TFLOPs depending on TGP and clock speed. TFLOPs are not a necessary indication of performance. However, it is important to remember that both of these cards still use the “RTX 3060” moniker, so it is not a stretch to imagine that most potential buyers would assume they are identical.
These differences are also not theoretical. For example, take the MSI GS76 Stealth and the Alienware M15. Both machines feature the RTX 3060, but the MSI machine comes with a 95 watt TGP while the M15 has a TGP 115W. On paper, these two machines have the same graphics card, but they will perform differently (for better or worse, we have not installed two head-to-head) depending on the configurations that are settled on MSI and Alienware .
And this is a real problem for potential laptop buyers. Nvidia began requiring manufacturers to list TGP, clock speeds, or both, in February, but some manufacturers still haven’t jumped on board. MSI lists specs on some product pages, while Dell has a separate page listing the TGP and the clock speed of the card in its Alienware range. Gigabyte also lists specs. On the other hand, Razor and Acer do not mention them at all.
If you are buying a gaming laptop, be sure to pay attention to TGP (where available). It can make a big difference. The fastest RTX 3050, for example, is faster than the slowest RTX 3050 Ti.
TGP is not all that when it comes to choosing a gaming laptop. Manufacturers have plenty of avenues when it comes to how they configure their machines, so it is important to consult personal laptop reviews before making a decision.