Are NVIDIA Max-Q Laptops Better? Max-Q vs Normal Gaming Laptops

By: Editorial Team

With the release of Max-Q graphic cards.

Laptops that feature these cards are becoming increasingly popular because of the promise they bring to every gamer: a slim portable gaming laptop with above-average battery life.

But this promise comes at a price which is a considerably reduced performance in gaming.

Something you want to avoid especially if you are a gamer because great performance is the main reason for getting a gaming laptop.

Are max-q laptops better? And is it worth getting a max-q laptop?

Here everything you need to know about NVIDIA Max-Q graphics and whether it’s worth owning a laptop with one.

What Is NVIDIA Max-Q?

Max-Q is NVIDIA’s solution to making gaming laptops slimmer, quieter and consume less power.

Max-Q technology make it possible for powerful graphics card like RTX 3070 into a slim laptop without worrying about overheating and poor battery life.

There are also two important physical metrics a laptop must meet before it can be called a Max-Q laptop.

They are:

  1. Thickness should be less than or equal to 18mm
  2. Weight should be less than or equal to 5lbs

A laptop that has a Max-Q card and doesn’t fit the requirements mentioned above can’t be called a Max-Q laptop.

How Does NVIDIA Max-Q Work?

Max-Q graphic cards prioritize efficiency over performance. This is done by running at lower clock speeds compared to their main counterparts.

In other words, you get a slower graphics card compared to its main counterpart since power consumption is actively regulated and reduced to prevent maximum performance.

A GTX 1080 card consumes about 150 W whilst a 1080 Max-Q consumes 90-110 W.

That’s a 25-40 per cent decrease in power consumption.

For example, a gaming laptop that has an NVIDIA Geforce RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card will provide a less performance RTX 2070 laptop version.

Just like the performance in a GTX 2070 in a laptop has less performance to its desktop version.

RTX 2060 < 2070 Max-Q < RTX 2070 (No Max-Q) < RTX 2070 (desktop).

RTX 3070 Max-Q Laptop Tested

Because of low power consumption, Max-Q cards also do not produce a lot of heat compared to laptops housing main cards and battery life is substantially greater on average.

What is Whispermode Technology?

The whispermode technology – a feature of Max-Q cards – allows you the gamer to switch the laptop into a low-power gaming machine to achieve less noise by making the laptop very quiet.

As a result of this low-power mode, you can expect a drop in graphic quality, frame rates and less heat.

NVIDIA’s “perfect” solution is creating a laptop that doesn’t overheat and makes a lot of noise at the cost of performance.

Will It Be Able To Play Future Games?

This is a very important question every gamer asks when getting a gaming laptop. Will it be able to play future games?

This, as always is a difficult question to answer because of so many factors and the improvements in both graphic card technology and graphics in games.

With each passing year games are getting more demanding when it comes to graphic processing power.

High-end cards are future proof but only in the sense that with every latest release the frame rates will drop until it is not sustainable at that graphic quality and resolution.

You will then have to reduce the graphic settings till it becomes unplayable.

The cycle then repeats with every new graphics card released until it becomes obsolete.

There is really no right answer to the question but rather if you are able to optimize the graphic settings in such a way that your gaming experience won’t be negatively impacted.

Pros and Cons of NVIDIA Max-Q Laptops



Reduced Gaming Performance

No Overheating

Less Noise

Above Average Battery Life

Should You Get A Laptop With NVIDIA Max-Q Graphics?

That is totally up to you. But, you must understand the compromises that come with max-q laptops.

If you want portability and above-average battery life in your gaming laptops.

Max-Q cards make this possible, but keep in mind that gaming performance will be reduced. Because the system has been designed to reduce GPU power consumption.

The main thing is that max-q cards are not for performance. But rather making gaming laptops more portable and having better battery lives.

Max-Q Laptop

Max-Q vs Max-P Laptops

Laptops with NVIDIA Max-Q graphics cards are becoming the norm. Why? Because it makes it possible to create slim, powerful laptops with decent battery lives.

Depending on your needs, max-q laptops can be worth it. However, if you want the best gaming performance avoid max-q laptops. And go for max-p laptop because the GPU wattage is not limited.