Buyers Beware: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000 Laptops Have A Total Of 28 GPU Variants Where Most Aren’t Specified By The Manufacturer

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Everyone is excited about the launch of Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3000 Mobile Series GPU based on the Ampere architecture. From the information provided to us by Nvidia, we only know of three models: GeForce RTX 3080, 3070, and 3060 mobile series GPUs. This statement is only partially true, Nvidia as a provider of the GPU only has three models, but this time, Nvidia partners have been given more freedom to modify the cards for the use case. With all this in mind, not every RTX 3000 series mobile GPU is created equally.

A Whopping 28 Variants With Most Not Have Detailed Specifications

Wait... How many variants could there possibly be then? According to the most recent ComputerBase report, there are a whopping 28 variants of the RTX 3000 series mobile GPUs. In reality, not every GPU is exactly the same because of the silicon, but they are within a small margin of each other. This time around the GPUs have larger gaps in the specifications and performance based on the partner who modified them.

AMD & NVIDIA Graphics Card Prices Returning To Normal As GPU Supply & Availability Continues To Improve

RTX 3060 Laptop GPU Specifications

Graphics CardTDP (W)CUDA CoresBase Clock (MHz)Boost Clock (MHz)Memory InterfaceMemory Speeds (Gbps)
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU Max-Q603,8408171,282 192-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU Max-Q653,8409751,357192-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU Max-Q703,8401,0501,402192-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU803,8409001,425192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU853,8401,0351,485192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU903,8401,1631,530192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU953,8401,2151,567192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU1003,8401,2671,605192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU1053,8401,3051,642192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU1103,8401,3421,680192-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3060 Laptop GPU1153,8401,3871,702192-bit 14 Gbps

The issue here is that Nvidia hasn't specified the exact specifications on the product page rather left it in ranges. This shouldn't be that much of an issue if partners openly disclosed the specifications on their variant of a card, but that is not the case for most partners. The gold standard is XMG that listed exact specifications, but others haven't followed suit which leads us to believe that Nvidia is not requiring transparency on the specifications only recommending it.

RTX 3070 Laptop GPU Specifications

Graphics CardTDP (W)CUDA CoresBase Clock (MHz)Boost Clock (MHz)Memory InterfaceMemory Speeds (Gbps)
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU Max-Q805,120 7801,290 256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU Max-Q855,120 8551,365256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU Max-Q905,120 9301,410256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU1155,120 1,1101,560256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU1205,120 1,1701,590256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3070 Laptop GPU1255,120 1,2151,620256-bit 14 Gbps

Looking closely at the entire lineup of variants, the model that is the most straightforward is the 3070 with only 3 variants, but the 3060 and 3080 each have 8 different variants. The Max-Q models also have the same issue with 3 variants for the 3 models. The issue isn't between the highest and lowest model because those are just the budget offering and the flagship offering, the issue falls within all the models falling between the top and bottom end.

RTX 3080 Laptop GPU Specifications

Graphics CardTDP (W)CUDA CoresBase Clock (MHz)Boost Clock (MHz)Memory InterfaceMemory Speeds (Gbps)
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU Max-Q806,144 7801,245 256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU Max-Q856,1448701,320 256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU Max-Q906,1449301,365256-bit 12 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1156,1441,1101,545256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1206,1441,1551,575256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1256,1441,1851,605256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1306,1441,2301,635256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1356,1441,2601,665256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1406,1441,2751,665256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1456,1441,3201,695256-bit 14 Gbps
RTX 3080 Laptop GPU1506,1441,3501,710256-bit 14 Gbps

That isn't even the entire issue. The latest technological advancement from Nvidia, Dynamic Boost 2.0 technology, opens more room for variation. The Dynamic Boost 2.0 technology harnesses the power of AI to balance the power load in the inner workings of the GPU. Since OEMs have the freedom to do as they please, they can choose to bump the power on the GPU with an extra 15W which ultimately increases the power requirement on the models.

For the buyer, this is an unfortunate situation that complicates buying a new laptop that features Nvidia's RTX 3000 Series mobile GPU. It requires more due diligence when buying in order to get a laptop that features a GPU with specifications that you want unless the manufacturer has it listed. There are always reviews that you can look to see, but with the sheer amount of laptops on the market, it simply isn't likely that there is a comprehensive review available for each laptop on the market.

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