At Computex 2017 this week, Nvidia announced a new initiative, called Max-Q, for making notebooks ultra portable while not needing to sacrifice performance and noise levels for a small form factor. Specifically, Max-Q allows the capability of using a GTX 1080 in a notebook that is 18mm thick. Currently, the highest grade GPU notebook manufacturers can put in a notebook that thin is the GTX 1060.
How It works:
Max-Q is by far the most demanding and most difficult design to build on. Compared to other tech like Optimus, GPU Boost, and Battery Boost (which were mostly software based optimizations for laptops), Max-Q is completely hardware based, what this means is that the motherboards, vrms, mosfets, power supplies, and GPUs have to be built and engineered around the strict guidelines Nvidia has set for Max-Q which are:
- Very low profile of 19-18mm thick (or thinner).
- A max noise rating of 40dB.
In order to meet these standards, everything has to be optimized for the lowest amount of power consumption, and most importantly, heat generation possible. This is why the entire motherboard has to be re-designed (vs other bulkier notebooks) in order to make every component as cool as possible.
The biggest change will be the GPUs themselves. The GTX 1080s, and GTX 1070s that are going to be equipped in max-Q notebooks will be incredibly well optimized. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what Nvidia is doing at this moment, but from my best estimations, Nvidia needs to take every single 1080 and 1070 that goes into a max q notebook, and undervolt/underclock them to a degree, improving thermal performance and power consumption. So instead of opting for peak performance, Nvidia will be opting for peak efficiency.
Upcoming Max-Q Notebooks:
Currently, the flagship of the Max-Q notebooks is the ASUS ROG Zephyrus, a feature rich 15.6″ notebook packing a GTX 1080, 24GB of DDR4 memory, M.2 NVME storage with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB variants, and also a 120hz IPS 1080P screen. It is 17mm thick and weights 4.8lbs.
As of today (2/6/2017), this is the only Max-Q notebook that we know about with it’s complete spec sheet. So far, we know there are upcoming max Q design’s from Gigabyte/Aorus, Clevo, and MSI (in the form of the GS63).
This will be a revolution in the notebook industry, even though we’ve had ultra thin high performance notebooks for years now (not quite 18mm but still very thin), they all suffer from high noise levels and high temperatures. Only the big bulky desktop replacement notebooks were capable of handling high performance specs while staying reasonably quiet and very cool.
With Max-Q, we are finally, for the first time, getting a true high performance notebook in the ultrabook form factor without compromises.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column]