Nvidia's RTX 2080 Super Pops Up in Max-Q Variant for Gaming Laptops

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Although you can get full-on desktop GPUs in laptops, you'll run into thermal issues pretty quickly. To deal with this issue, along with battery life, Nvidia has developed its so-called 'Max-Q' GPUs, which are essentially the standard desktop GPUs but underclocked and undervolted quite significantly to make them suitable for use in notebooks. Up until now, the RTX 2080 Max-Q is the top-end of the Max-Q graphics cards, but it looks like the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q might be just across the horizon.

The information comes courtesy of hardware leaker Apisak on Twitter, who tweeted a link to a Geekbench submission for a notebook that carries the GPU in question.

Sadly, the submission by itself doesn't give us a lot of information to go by, but with the knowledge of how Max-Q works, we can get quite a long way.

The RTX 2080 Super Max-Q is paired in a notebook with the also-unreleased Intel Core i9-10980HK processor, which indicates at the very least that it's a notebook to be reckoned with. We don't know from which manufacturer it is or from which product line, though, and these could be preliminary tests, meaning the specs are subject to change. 

(Image credit: Apisak / Geekbench)

Nevertheless, the details that we do know are that the RTX 2080 Super Max-Q comes with a full 48 compute units like the desktop-class RTX 2080 Super, meaning it carries the full 3072 CUDA core count. The maximum frequency of the Max-Q variant sits at 1.23 GHz in this particular notebook, but that could be subject to change. The GPU is surrounded by 8 GB of GDDR6 memory that communicates over a 256-bit memory interface, and although we don't know the memory clocks, chances are that it runs at a slightly lower clock than the desktop card, at least if the RTX 2080 Max-Q's specifications are anything to go by. We would also expect to see the full 48 RT cores.

As far as performance goes, you can expect to see quite a big hit compared to the desktop card, but a small upgrade compared to the non-Super RTX 2080 Max-Q (either in the 80w or 90w variant). Nevertheless, performance in a laptop will strongly depend on the notebook's ability to dissipate heat and thus keep the GPU operating at a high boost clock. 

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • cryoburner
    These "Max-Q" notebook GPUs are kind of a con. A 2080 Max-Q isn't much faster than a desktop 2060, and yet the laptops they are put into typically cost around $3,000. Enabling 4% more graphics cores isn't going to change much in these heat and power-restricted laptop configurations. Expect this 2080 SUPER Max-Q to get handily outperformed by a desktop 2060 SUPER.