Forget PS5 — Nvidia RTX 3080 gaming laptops are on the way

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

As sure as night follows day, there’ll be laptops version of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3000-series graphics cards. But they could be coming sooner than we thought, according to a new leak. 

Leaker Harukaze5719 tweeted an unverified image that detailed the specs of what appear to be upcoming gaming laptops with mobile versions of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, and the RTX 3060; the latter has yet to be announced as a desktop graphics card. 

New laptop graphics cards means a suite of new and refreshed gaming laptops can be expected in 2021. We're rather hoping for an upgraded Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 or Razer Blade 15

The cards detailed in the leak appear to mostly be “Max-Q” variants of the desktop RTX 3000-series GPUs. Max-Q involves slightly lowering the performance and power-draw of the graphics card to prevent it from sucking a laptop’s battery dry in mere moments or from getting too hot in slim gaming laptops. 

However, there was also a “Max-P” version of the RTX 3060 listed in the leak. While Max-Q is an official Nvidia term, Max-P isn’t. But it’s generally considered to stand for “max performance,” and denotes that the laptop graphics card in use is a full-power version with no reduction in power. 

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GeForce RTX 3060 could be the next killer laptop GPU

Asus ROG Zephyrus G Gaming Laptop

(Image credit: Future)

It’s likely that the RTX 3060 gets a Max-P version as its overall power draw will be a lot less than RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 laptop versions. As such, a full power RTX 3060 could be put into a laptop without requiring the machine to be particularly bulky; we’ve seen this before with current-generation laptops with GPUs such as the GeForce GTX 1060. 

However, we’d not be surprised to see full Max-P versions of the RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 in laptops with a chunky chassis designed to handle the power consumption and heat output of these powerful graphics cards. Such laptops would be designed to be desktop replacements rather than easily portable gaming machines. 

While we need to take this leak with a good dose of skepticism, WCCFtech noted that these could be specs for laptops that’ll be announced at CES 2021. And we’re pretty much expecting laptop variants of the GeForce RTX 3000-series to arrive next year, as has been the case with previous Nvidia GPU generations. 

While laptop graphics used to be seen as poor versions of the desktop equivalents, Nvidia has been making progress since its Pascal generation graphics cards. And now you can get laptops GPUs that are pretty close to their desktop counterparts. As such, RTX 3000-series in a new generation of gaming laptops is a rather tantalizing prospect. 

And even with the PS5 and Xbox Series X coming out in a few weeks, the really exciting gaming machines could be laptops equipped with the new RTX 3000-series graphics cards. All that power in a portable machine is pretty appealing. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing 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.