Maxwell Comes to Notebooks

by Mark Aevermann

NVIDIA recently unleashed an onslaught on the gaming world, an onslaught named Maxwell. We launched the new graphics architecture during GAME24, an unprecedented 24-hour celebration of gaming. And it blew away gamers across the globe.

We held onto one big secret, which we’re revealing today: the introduction of the GeForce GTX 970M and GeForce GTX 980M notebook GPUs.

Maxwell, the company’s 10th-generation GPU architecture, is undeniably the world’s most advanced. It solves some of the most complex lighting and graphics challenges in visual computing. And it does so with twice the energy efficiency of the previous generation. It’s a combination that will pay huge dividends in notebooks.


A Quick History Lesson

Let’s start with some history. NVIDIA’s 8th-generation GPU architecture, Fermi, delivered about 40% of the desktop equivalent in 2010. Kepler, our 9th generation GPU, launched in 2012, closed the gap to 60%, giving gamers 1080p resolution and “ultra” settings for the first time in a notebook.

With Maxwell, that gap shrinks to 80% of the desktop equivalent and pushes the resolution well beyond 1080p. It’s an astonishing achievement when you compare the thermal and power differences in a desktop tower and a notebook chassis.

Just like the generations preceding it, GeForce GTX 980M is the world’s fastest notebook GPU, a title NVIDIA has held for a long time. But how fast is it?

Maxwell doubles performance compared with the first Kepler notebook GPUs on “video card killers” like Battlefield 4 and Metro: Last Light. We’re pushing playable resolution to 2500×1400+ at ultra settings. But most notebooks don’t have a native resolution that high, and this is where NVIDIA gives you more than just killer frame rates.

Closing the Gap

DSR Delivers 4K-Quality Resolution

The GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs deliver a higher fidelity gaming experience even on standard 1080p display. Maxwell’s Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) technology can render games at 4K or other high-end resolutions. Then they’re scaled down to the native resolution on the notebook’s display. The results are an image that is much higher quality than one rendering directly to 1080p.

BatteryBoost Gets Better

A second ask from notebook gamers is the ability to untether from the wall socket and really game on battery. We’re addressing this with our next evolution of NVIDIA BatteryBoost. Instead of your notebook pushing every component to its max, BatteryBoost sets a maximum frame rate from 30 to 60 FPS. The driver-level governor takes over from there, running all your system components including CPU, GPU and memory at peak efficiency. All while maintaining a smooth, playable experience.

We’ve also made big improvements to BatteryBoost in the six months since its launch. The first thing you’ll notice is many more systems achieving playable frame rates on battery. This was the result of collaboration with OEMs to enhance on-battery performance.

Another big update is an improved governor to enhance battery savings. We also added features to GeForce Experience, allowing gamers to set specific game settings for use while on battery, along with a one-click optimize-for-battery button.

Anti-Aliasing Gets Amped

GeForce GTX 980M and 970M GPUs also get all the same cool technology that their desktop counterparts get. That means 30% more AA performance at the same quality with NVIDIA Multi-Frame Anti-Aliasing (MFAA).

They also support Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI) technology, which better depicts indirect lighting – including diffuse lighting, specular lighting and reflections. This enables gaming GPUs to deliver real-time dynamic global illumination for the first time.

All the features, performance and efficiency combine to make Maxwell the world’s most advanced GPU architecture. Over a dozen SKUs are now available with GeForce GTX 980M and 970M.

MSI has the GT72, GS70 and GS60 models. Asus is offering the G751. Gigabyte has the Aurus X7 and P35 models. Boutique vendors like AVADirect. MainGear and OriginPC are also selling gaming powerhouses with these new GPUs.

Check with OEMs in your region for exact shipping dates of their GeForce-based notebooks. For more information on notebook GPUs that feature the Maxwell architecture, visit NVIDIA’s web site.

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  • At last

    This will power my next laptop, hope Lenovo can come up with something cheap with this card inside!

  • Brian Burke


  • Landan Mintch

    Currently running on a 660M and it’s starting to not cut if for some new-end games… This could DEFINITELY be a solid replacement for it… just hoping i won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for it

  • bby pls

    i hope msi dragon army take a good look at this

  • Anthony Ralston


  • Anthony Ralston

    still gonna use a desktop hate messing with laptops when it comes to dissembling and assembling for upgrades…

  • Jeff

    Typo in the article: “Kepler, our 9th generation GPU, launched in 2010” Should be 2012.

  • Tim Davies

    who has the laptops available right now ? i wonder about cuda core numbers for the 900 series

  • Gary_Rainville

    Nice catch, Jeff. We’ll fix it.

  • Brian Caulfield

    Thanks for the feedback. What games are you playing?

  • Beqa Vardosanidze

    i hope to i love lenovo i want to bay lenovo y50 but i wil waiting for lenovo GTX 980 laptop

  • Beqa Vardosanidze
  • Beqa Vardosanidze

    chek this BEAST

  • Beqa Vardosanidze
  • Beqa Vardosanidze

    it have GTX 980 insane 8 GB VRAM

  • Dampf

    Maxwell is already in Notebooks… GTX 850M, 860M, 840M, 880M…

  • Gabriel Sanchez

    I can’t wait for lenovo show the new Y serie with GTX 980m or GTX970m

  • Landan Mintch

    Sorry for belated response.. but right now: Wildstar, Batman: Arkham City, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor