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Nvidia’s Max-Q tech promises desktop power in ultra-book form

When we think about ultra-thin laptops, gaming is usually the very last thought we have. But that won’t be the case for much longer, thanks to Nvidia’s newly unveiled Max-Q technology.

Max-Q tech downsizes the GeForce GTX chip significantly while retaining most of its power. Nvidia showed off the Asus Zephyrus recently, which features a GeForce GTX 1080 but measures just 18mm thick – 2mm thinner than a MacBook Air. The system will weigh 5 pounds. Compare that to the previous design, which featured a GTX 880M and weighed in at 10 pounds. That machine is 51mm thick.

There’s a catch

The catch to all this is that Nvidia likes its proprietary tech as much as I like my GTX 1080. In order to use the Max-Q technology, Nvidia has to be involved in the engineering process to make sure the system meets the proper performance requirements. Like the company’s variable refresh rate G-Sync tech, this seems more like a way to milk money out of hardware manufacturers than anything else. I wouldn’t be surprised to see AMD show off something similar and much cheaper before too long.

Even so, this is a big boost for ultra-thin laptops, and should make them feel like less of a compromise than ever. Nvidia says Gigabyte, Acer, and Clevo are also working on Max-Q laptops as well. The first systems are set to hit the market on June 27. And we’re betting they’re going to be eye-wateringly expensive.


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Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...


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