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Maingear Oddly Opts For Desktop Skylake CPUs In Nomad 15 Gaming Laptop

Maingear announced that its upcoming Nomad 15 gaming laptop will use desktop Intel Skylake processors.

Maingear's decision to use the Intel 6th Gen (Skylake) Core i7-6700K inside of this laptop is a curious one. Although the i7-6700K features higher clock speeds than any mobile Core i7 processor, and should perform better as a result, the heat produced and the energy consumed by this processor is also considerably higher. Compared to the fastest mobile Core i7, the Intel 6th Gen (Skylake) Core i7-6920HQ, the i7-6700K operates 600 MHz faster, but is also rated with a TDP that is twice as high (45 W on the i7-6920HQ versus 91 W on the i7-6700K).

The motherboard inside of the system uses the enthusiast Z170 chipset, and users could theoretically overclock the CPU higher to achieve even more performance, but it is questionable if these systems will be capable of handling the additional heat and power consumption.

Paired with the CPU, Maingear installed an Nvidia GTX 980M graphics chip with 1536 CUDA cores. This is the fastest mobile GPU currently sold by Nvidia, and it was wise of Maingear to use it in this system, as the laptop uses a 4K G-Sync compatible display. Although this GPU is slower than the desktop GTX 970 and GTX 980, which struggle to play games at 4K resolutions with maxed out settings, the GTX 980M at least gives this laptop the potential to run games at 4K with reduced settings.

For storage, Maingear opted to use dual Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration. Maingear did not state the exact storage capacity or model, however, so it is unclear if the system will use 256 GB or 512 GB Samsung 950 Pro drives.

Maingear also stated that the systems would include several other features, including the use of DDR4 memory, a customizable backlit keyboard, THX TruStudio Pro audio software, and the Killer E2200 NIC.

There is no word on pricing or availability at this time.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton (or MJ) is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. As a tech enthusiast, MJ enjoys studying and writing about all areas of tech, but specializes in the study of chipsets and microprocessors. In his personal life, MJ spends most of his time gaming, practicing martial arts, studying history, and tinkering with electronics.

Follow Michael Justin Allen Sexton @EmperorSunLao. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • InvalidError
    With the hefty premiums on mobile-specific chips, I am a little surprised there aren't more laptop manufacturers building desktop replacement models based on desktop chips.
    Reply
  • gamebrigada
    This is just a rebranded Clevo. Lots of other companies offer it already. I can't even begin to name all of them....

    This same build used to offer an overclocked 4790k. Its known to be able to take the heat. A 6700k should be no problem.
    Reply
  • xenol
    16808473 said:
    With the hefty premiums on mobile-specific chips, I am a little surprised there aren't more laptop manufacturers building desktop replacement models based on desktop chips.
    It's a tradeoff between processing power and cooling. The i7-6700HQ can perform about 75% as well as the i7-6700K (at stock anyway) has a thermal envelope half that of the desktop part, or 45W vs 90W. It's not that more expensive either, considering Intel sells it at $380 for the tray pricing.
    Reply
  • hst101rox
    It is odd. Why not put in a i7-6820HK unlocked mobile CPU in it and have it factory set to overclock it heavily? This laptop should be able to easily keep the overclocked mobile chip cool enough at full utilization and less power consumption still than the stock 6700K..

    Strange than Intel still has desktop CPUs that take way more power for the same clcoksped than their mobile chips. Runs at a higher voltage? But nVidia's GPU for desktop and mobile are all about the same efficiency right?
    I don't know why. But I suspect Intel/AMD's desktop CPUs will soon be running at or close to mobile CPU efficiency like nVidia has done.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16816147 said:
    It is odd. Why not put in a i7-6820HK unlocked mobile CPU in it and have it factory set to overclock it heavily? This laptop should be able to easily keep the overclocked mobile chip cool enough at full utilization and less power consumption still than the stock 6700K..

    Strange than Intel still has desktop CPUs that take way more power for the same clcoksped than their mobile chips. Runs at a higher voltage? But nVidia's GPU for desktop and mobile are all about the same efficiency right?
    I don't know why. But I suspect Intel/AMD's desktop CPUs will soon be running at or close to mobile CPU efficiency like nVidia has done.

    Well, that would be bit difficult. You see laptops tend to have difficulties cooling mobile CPUs let alone the desktop CPU, which is another factor that makes this questionable. Even if cooling wasn't an issue, pushing clock speed up tends to increase power consumption significantly as well. The mobile chip is likely a higher quality piece of silicon, and overclocked to the same clock speed as the i7-6700k, it will likely consume a little less power, but it is hard to say how much. Even if it managed to reach the i7-6700k's clock speed while using 10 percent less voltage than the desktop processor, other identical mobile CPUs may not be able to achieve the same results as it will vary by yield. As such the company would have a hard to ensuring that they could ship systems with the factory overclock.

    As for your other question, like I mentioned in the above paragraph, manufacturers use higher quality pieces of silicon on mobile systems usually. When they make silicon transistors, slight defects often occur, and the quality of a chip can vary greatly. For example, one of Nvidia's main chips at the moment is the GM104. It is used inside of the GTX 970 and GTX 980 and a few other products. However, none of these parts perform the same. Defects occur in the GM104 during production. Nearly flawless chips go into the GTX 980, while flawed chips that are partially defective are used in the GTX 970.

    That is one example of how a manufacturer may use the quality of chips to cover a wider part of the market, but higher quality chips also tend to be able to run with less power, and thus are often used in mobile or enthusiast parts. Intel tends to produce only 4 or 5 main silicon chips, and use these to cover nearly the entire market. On a silicon level, the desktop and mobile chips aren't any different, but high end mobile chips tend to have the highest quality, so that they can consume the less power.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    16816147 said:
    Strange than Intel still has desktop CPUs that take way more power for the same clcoksped than their mobile chips. Runs at a higher voltage? But nVidia's GPU for desktop and mobile are all about the same efficiency right?
    The HK are clocked 600MHz lower than their desktop counterparts and IIRC, Intel's mobile CPUs are also made on a slightly different process more heavily tuned for low power, which usually comes at the expense of lower achievable clock frequencies.

    If you are comparing Nvidia's mobile GPUs with their similar-numbered desktop equivalents, they are completely different beasts with the mobile parts usually one or two performance classes below the similar number desktop part, much like how Intel's mobile i5 lineup and part of their mobile i7 look like desktop i3.
    Reply