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Report: Nvidia Drops the Max-Q Name From RTX 30 Series Mobile GPUs (Update)

Nvidia Laptop
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Starting with the Ampere RTX 30 series mobile GPUs, Nvidia has seemingly killed off the Max-Q (and Max-P) branding from its Geforce powered laptops, Notebookcheck reports. The Max-Q features are still here to stay, the only thing going away is the branding will be far less prominent. 

titleNvie laptop could have a 70W TDP and another, 80W (implying that both laptops have the same exact GPU), but they both would be "Max-Q" certified. This certainly brings a lot of confusion to who are looking for specific performance metrics in a notebook. So killing off the Max-Q brand should help alleviate the idea that Max-Q is one subset of GPUs.

(Update, Jan 21, 4:45 p.m. ET. An Nvidia spokesperson told Tom's Hardware the following:

No, Max-Q branding is not going away.

When we originally introduced Max-Q back in 2017, the brand was initially used in GPU naming since Max-Q referred to the GPU TGP only.

Today, 3rd Generation Max-Q is broader, and is a holistic set of platform technologies and design approach to building powerful and thin laptops.

In addition, to be more transparent about a laptop’s exact capabilities, RTX 30 Series laptops now show more information than ever, listing exact TGP, clocks and features supported. You will find this in the control panel which now reports maximum power (TGP+Boost), and support for key features including Dynamic Boost 2, WhisperMode 2, Advanced Optimus, and others, all of which fall under the Max-Q umbrella.

We strongly encourage OEMs to list clocks and other technologies a laptop supports, including Advanced Optimus, Dynamic Boost 2, and more. Ultimately, like all laptop features and specs, it is up to the OEM to market what their particular laptop configuration supports.)

Mobile Ampere TDP

TDP per GPU can vary significantly based on laptop model. (Image credit: Nvidia)

So from now on, the best way to check the performance of an RTX equipped notebook is to check the GPU's TDP in the notebook's spec sheet, assuming it's available there, which is often not the case. It may make it more difficult for people who want a specific option to determine what they get until they check the device manager. Simply put, the lower the TDP, the lower the GPU will perform because the GPU needs to lower clock speeds in order to stay within its designated power limit.

This information has been further expounded on by Acer's brand manager Eric Ackerson in our live talk with him during CES 2021. He commented on Nvidia's Max-Q technology and saying that Nvidia no longer provides official marketing for the Max-Q (or Max-P) brands, and that Max-Q could make some people think it's a lesser GPU without considering the efficiency the technology brings.

"There won’t be a label that indicates that on [the Acer Predator Triton 300 SE] and I don’t expect you’ll find it on others," Ackerson said. "In fact many times you might have a hard time finding information to indicate whether it’s a Max-Q or Max-P implementation of the GPU...  [Nvidia doesn't] really want to call it out because there’s an assumption it’s lesser and in fact in many ways it’s greater. So we won’t be calling that out.”