updated 01:27 pm EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
New Nvidia GPUs will limit performance to save battery power
Nvidia is hoping to improve the battery performance of gaming notebooks, with the release of six new mobile GPUs. The unveiled 800M-series graphics chips will offer up to double the battery life of previous generations when the notebook is being used for gaming, with the company also carrying over a number of features from its desktop GPUs at the same time.
The lower-tier models, the GeForce GT 830M and 840M, both use Nvidia's Maxwell architecture instead of Kepler, Hexus reports. While specifications of the GPUs were not released, they are said to be up to 35 percent faster than the previous generation chips, and up to four times faster than the Intel Core i5-4200U's HD Graphics 4400, while offering a similar power consumption compared to the graphical aspects of the Intel processor.
The GTX 850M, 860M, 870M, and 880M all offer improvements when compared to the same representative models in the 700M series. The Maxwell-based 850M and 860M offer respective improvements of 60 percent and 40 percent when compared to the GTX 750M and 760M, while the GTX 870M and GTX 880M provide 30-percent and 15-percent improved performance against the higher-end of the 700M series.
The new GPUs offer a new feature called Battery Boost, which allows the average gaming notebook to improve its battery life from an hour up to a possible two hours when used to play games. The technology automatically kicks in when intensive applications are being used, dynamically adjusting GPU performance to provide just enough power to render a scene at a target frame rate, for example 30fps, without wasting battery power in increasing the frame rate further. If a processor-intensive scene in a game suddenly occurs, Battery Boost will allow the GPU to compensate for the extra work load, before reining it back down to less wasteful levels.
Older GPUs will also benefit from today's announcements, with all GTX 700M-series GPUS, the GTC 680M, 675MX, 670MX, and GTX 660M all receiving an update to their GeForce Experience software enabling ShadowPlay and GameStream. ShadowPlay allows notebooks to capture in-game footage and stream games to Twitch.tv, while GameStream lets users stream games over Wi-Fi to a compatible device, such as the Nvidia Shield.