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The NVIDIA Max-Q Design + WhisperMode Tech Briefing

On the first day of Computex 2017, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang announced the NVIDIA Max-Q Design for GeForce GTX in his keynote.

It is a new design approach that allows gaming laptops to be thinner, quieter and yet, faster. How is this possible? Let’s find out!


The NVIDIA Max-Q Design Tech Briefing

Max Q is actually a NASA term which refers to “the point at which aerodynamic stress on a vehicle in atmospheric flight is maximized“. NVIDIA Max-Q uses a similar philosophy to design gaming laptops that are 3X thinner, with up to 3X more performance (compared to the previous-generation NVIDIA Maxwell GPUs).

So what exactly is the NVIDIA Max-Q design, and how does it work? Gaurav Agarwal, NVIDIA Product Marketing Manager, explains it all in this tech briefing.

Here is a summary of the NVIDIA Max-Q design’s key features :

  • NVIDIA Max-Q is built around NVIDIA Pascal, specifically the GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs.
  • The key design philosophy is a new focus on peak efficiency, instead of peak performance.
  • Instead of running at maximum frequency, the GPU will run at a lower frequency that has been determined to achieve peak efficiency.
  • This greatly reduces the GPU’s power consumption and thermal output, at the expense of some performance.
  • In the case of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, the Max-Q version will run 60 W cooler (90 W, instead of 150 W) while suffering only a 10% reduction in performance.
  • The massive reduction in the TGP (Total Graphics Power) allows a more powerful GPU like the GeForce GTX 1080 in a thinner laptop.
  • The lower TGP also allows for the use of thinner, lighter and quieter cooling solutions, and a longer battery life.

From what we understand, the Max-Q and non Max-Q GPUs are the same. The Max-Q version just uses firmware that has been tuned for efficiency, instead of performance.


The NVIDIA WhisperMode Technology

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NVIDIA also introduced the new NVIDIA WhisperMode technology, which will be available by the end of June 2017.

Although not technically part of NVIDIA Max-Q, it helps to make the laptop run much quieter while you’re gaming.

WhisperMode intelligently paces the game’s frame rate while automatically adjusting the graphics setting for optimal power efficiency. This reduces reduces the laptop’s acoustic level during games.

NVIDIA WhisperMode is completely user-adjustable via GeForce Experience, and will be available for all NVIDIA Pascal-based laptops.


Availability Of NVIDIA Max-Q Gaming Laptops

Gaming laptops featuring GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 GPUs using the new NVIDIA Max-Q design will be available starting June 27, 2017 from brands like Acer, Aftershock, Alienware, ASUS, Clevo, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, and MSI.

The first three gaming laptops to feature NVIDIA Max-Q are the ASUS Zephyrus, MSI GS63 and the Clevo P950.

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