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Crazy Nvidia RTX 3080 hack could boost your laptop graphics — at your own risk

Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 SE
(Image credit: Asus)

New gaming laptops sporting mobile versions of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards are already powerful, but there's more performance to be had, if you’re brave. 

According to Baidu users that have laptops with the GeForce RTX 3080, it’s possible to wrangle an Asus ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 to pull 155W of power into its GPU that’s rated for 115W. Doing this results in a 20% boost in 3DMark Time Spy benchmarks.  

Now the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is one of the most powerful new gaming laptops with Nvidia’s new mobile graphics. So there’s an argument that it doesn't exactly need a performance boost. 

But laptop versions of the RTX 3080 don’t run as fast as desktop counterparts due to power and thermal constraints. 

However, it would appear that the cooling on the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 allows the GPU to draw more power than it’s supposed to without melting down. With the tweak, the GPU reported a temperature of 72 degrees Celsius, which is perfectly reasonable for a laptop-grade graphics card. 

More GeForce power.....at your own risk

Do we recommend you make such a tweak if you’re lucky enough to have a ROG Zephyrus Duo 15? No.

If it goes wrong, such a tweak could end up bricking a $2,899 gaming laptop. And doing this form of overclocking renders a warranty void. So if you do this and the worse happens, you could end up with an impressive looking ornament rather than a killer gaming machine.

Are you still interested in performing this tweak? Consider yourself warned.

The Baidu users achieved the GPU trickery by taking the vBIOS file from the MSI GE76 gaming laptop and installed it on the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Given the GE76 uses a higher-rated RTX 3080, the use of its vBIOS setting effectively makes the Zephyrus Duo 15 think it has the same power graphics card.

In practical terms, a 20% boost in benchmarks might not translate into much when it comes to proper gaming. And the mobile RTX 3080 is still very powerful by default, able to run games like Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled. And we can expect updated drivers from Nvidia to extract more performance out of its laptop graphics.

Finding where to buy the PS5 and where to buy the Xbox Series X is a challenging pursuit and locating where to buy an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is near-impossible. So getting a gaming laptop with Nvidia's latest graphics might be the way forward. Expect to see a good few of them on our best gaming laptops list rather soon.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.