What is the difference between laptop and desktop GPUs. What is a mobile graphics card

Hello Sir I would like to ask if a 14 inch Asus Zenbook with AMD Ryzen 5 3500U with Radeon Vega Mobile Gfx 2.10 GHz vega 8 graphics would be able to run survival games, The Isle or Beast of Bermuda at all. If not, how can I upgrade my budget machine to meet system requirements? Thank you

Best Laptop Graphics Cards from Nvidia and AMD in 2022

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Laptops have become very powerful over the years. Gone are the days when laptops were only used for business / office work or normal work. This is because now you can play the latest high-end games on laptops with a good graphics card. Most laptops don’t ship with graphics cards because they depend on built-in or integrated graphics, and those who come with dedicated graphics cards have a different range of GPUs, from low-end to high-end.

Some laptops with graphics cards have entry-level graphics processors, and some have mid-to-high-end graphics cards or GPUs. Laptops with entry-level graphics cards are suitable for occasional gaming, video editing, watching Full HD movies and Blu-ray. In addition, these laptops are relatively cheaper compared to gaming laptops with powerful graphics cards. Laptops with mid to high end graphics cards, on the other hand, are much more efficient and you can enjoy the latest games at medium to high graphics settings at 1080p. Below is a photo of a typical laptop graphics card.


Laptop graphics card

Both AMD and Nvidia make graphics cards for laptops. These laptop graphics cards are also known as mobile graphics processors because of their smaller size and their use in notebook computers or laptops. Some laptop graphics cards are MXM graphics cards and connect in the Laptop’s Mobile PCI Express Module (MXM) slot. You may be able to upgrade MXM graphics cards on some laptops, but it really depends on your laptop model and manufacturer. In this post, I’m going to list the best laptop graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD for gaming, professional graphics, and for casual gaming.

Best Laptop GPUs from Nvidia

These are the best laptop graphics cards from Nvidia. Here, the RTX 20 series graphics cards are built on the latest Turing GPU architecture, and the GTX 10 series are built on the Pascal GPU architecture.

  • GeForce RTX 2080
  • GeForce RTX 2070
  • GeForce RTX 2060
  • GTX 1660 Ti
  • GTX 1650
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1080
  • GeForce GTX 1070
  • GeForce GTX 1060
  • GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1050
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Max-Q
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q
  • GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
  • GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q
  • GTX 1050 Max-Q

What is Max-Q Nvidia Graphics Card in Laptop?

The Nvidia Max-Q graphics card is an energy-saving variant of the standard graphics card (mostly high-end GPU) used in laptops. These Nvidia Max-Q graphics cards are identified by the word Max-Q after the model number, such as GTX 1070 Max-Q or GTX 1080 Max-Q. These graphics cards are energy efficient and generate less heat compared to their standard versions. Currently, Max-Q graphics cards are available for GTX 1050, GTX 1050 Ti, GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1080.

These Max-Q graphics cards are approximately 15% to 20% (up to 25% or more) slower than their standard variants, and their drivers are also optimized for performance, not performance. Max-Q graphics cards are mainly used in thin notebooks or thin laptops where cooling is the main challenge to deal with the heat generated by these powerful graphics processors. However, they still provide good performance for games and other applications compared to medium to budget laptop graphics cards

Anyone who’s been looking for gaming hardware knows that the graphics card (GPU) is probably the most important thing to consider. Without the right graphics card for the games you want to play, you’ll be stuck with poor graphics and an overall disappointing experience.

The difference between laptop and desktop GPUs

Lots of space on this desktop!

Consider the amount of space on your laptop versus the amount of space on your desktop – there’s just a lot less space in a laptop, even in a bulky gaming laptop.

This lack of space has traditionally required a different graphics card than that intended for desktop computers. NVIDIA calls these graphics cards something similar up to its latest 10 series cards and just adds M to the number. AMD is doing something similar with its desktop and laptop GPUs.

While the GPU architecture in laptops and desktops is the same, the similarities end there. If you compare the AMD Radeon R9 380 with the AMD Radeon R9 M380, you’ll get roughly half the performance from the mobile version than from the desktop version. These GPUBoss specs tell a story:

Category AMD Radeon R9 380 AMD Radeon R9 M380
Memory bandwidth 176 GB / s 96 GB / s
Clock speed 970 MHz 900 MHz
Shading units 1792 768
Texture mapping units 112 48
Video composition 97.9 frames / sec 47.87 frames / sec
Pixel speed 31.04 GPixel / s 16 Gpixels / sec
Compute Units 28 12
Render output processors 32 16
PassMark score 5600 3047

Even if you’re unsure what the pixel pointers and texture mapping units really mean, it’s clear that the R9 380 without the letter “M” in its name is crushing its mobile counterpart.

The same can be said of the latest generation NVIDIA 9 series GPUs. Again, thanks to the GPUBoss specification, it’s clear that the battle between GTX 980 and GTX 980M is won by the desktop version:

Category NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M
Memory bandwidth 224.4 GB / s 160.4 GB / s
Clock speed 1753 MHz 1253 MHz
Shading units 2048 1536
Texture mapping units 128 96
The speed of the texture 136.2 GTexel / s 99.6 GTexel / s
PassMark score 9712 5596

Again, it is clear that the version of the laptop, named after the “M” at the end, suffers compared to the desktop GTX 980.

The future of GPUs

The new NVIDIA 10-series GPUs, GTX 1050, GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, are designed with the laptop in mind, dropping the letter “M” at the end of the number. Why? You can expect almost identical performance on both versions.

GTX 1080

For example, both GTX 1080s have 8GB of GDDR5 VRAM and 2560 CUDA cores. The main difference is the clock speed, where the GTX 1080 laptop sits right below the desktop version. While the performance isn’t quite the same as the desktop version, you shouldn’t see anything more than about 5-10% of the difference.

This is good news for fans of gaming laptops, as you don’t have to sacrifice performance or carry an external GPU when you go on the road.

Once you’ve got the GPU name, you can search Google to find out more about it or compare it to the minimum requirements of the game you want to play. Usually, a higher number means a better card – so a game requiring the RX 580 may not work on the RX 480, which is weaker (though there is a workaround for this at times).

What to look for in a graphics card

When looking for graphics cards, you can choose from two major brands; AMD and NVIDIA. Both manufacturers offer high-quality, high-performance graphics cards.

  • First you need to decide how much memory you want in your graphics card
  • Also consider factors such as computer size (desktop vs laptop),
  • Whether you want a separate graphics processor or a graphics card integrated into the processor
  • Take into account what power connectors your card uses
  • Note the Design Thermal Power (TDP)

All of this will determine whether the graphics card will fit directly into your computer and whether it can receive adequate power and cooling. For an overview of the best budget GPUs, check out our HP Tech Takes article here.

1. Integrated vs discrete graphics

Integrated graphics are more common on smaller systems like laptops, but you’ll also find them in desktops for those who don’t need to use high-powered graphics software.

Integrated graphics may not have independent RAM, but neither does it generate as much heat or use as much power and battery life as their discrete counterparts. Integrated graphics are generally not preferred for graphics-intensive games, but it’s more affordable. They are also good for more basic visual tasks like streaming movies and TV.

If you’re interested in using your computer for graphics-intensive tasks, such as gaming at high settings, video editing, photo editing, and 3D rendering, you’ll need to invest in a separate graphics card.

These cards have their own RAM, unlike their integrated cousins. However, a discrete graphics card requires a good CPU to match as well as a cooling configuration to prevent the PC from overheating. It also uses more power, so you’ll need a larger (and more expensive) power supply in your desktop PC to run both CPUs.

It also means that if you have a separate card in your laptop, you will be dealing with shorter battery life compared to the less powerful options.

2. Desktop vs laptop graphics cards

Graphics cards for both desktops and laptops have separate considerations. Due to the types of devices these graphics cards are made for, there are differences between the aspect ratio, performance, and price of desktop and laptop graphics cards.

  • Form Factor: The ability to fit larger, stronger components is one of the benefits of using a tower computer. The PC tower provides the space and cooling necessary to handle the heat and power consumption of durable GPUs.
  • Performance: You will enjoy higher specs compared to laptop graphics cards. This includes greater memory bandwidth, faster pixel speeds, and greater texture mapping than with laptop graphics cards.
  • Price: Desktop cards are more affordable because the hardware is less compact and therefore less costly to manufacture.
  • Form Factor: Smaller components are necessary as the GPU has to fit into the thin casing of the laptop. As a result, they are optimized for energy consumption and use advanced thermal and electrical technology. They are also designed to run as quietly as possible.
  • Performance: Manufacturers are approaching parity for desktop and laptop GPUs, but as we mentioned earlier, laptop cards tend to underperform in some areas.
  • Price: You’ll pay a premium for laptop graphics cards. This is because the components to create a portable and energy-efficient graphics card are more expensive to manufacture. Larger and more powerful laptop graphics cards are available, but they also add to the overall weight of the device, can heat up the laptop, and make portability difficult.


Choosing a graphics card is one of the hardest parts of buying a new computer, primarily because it’s one of the most important components, so you want to get it right. Plus, if you’re new to GPUs, you’ll need to unpack a lot of terminology.

Overall, you should update your graphics card every 4 to 5 years, although an extremely high-end GPU may last a bit longer. While price is a major factor in your decision making, performance and memory needed should also be considered. And be aware of your computer’s CPU as it may need updating as well. After all, the best GPU is only as efficient as its companion processor.

About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is the co-author of HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is an author based in New York and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media.

In addition to dedicated graphics cards, there are also integrated graphics cards that are often part of the processor chip. There are some major differences between the two that are worth mentioning. We’ll start with integrated graphics cards as they have fewer features.


In summary, discrete graphics cards are standalone graphics processors attached to the motherboard via a PCIe slot. They provide cutting-edge real-time rendering technology and tons of other features. Some of them include 4K and 8K movie and game streaming, as well as VR.

While integrated graphics have shown significant improvement in recent years, they are still better suited for light everyday use. Discrete graphics cards can make complex graphics tasks look elegant, making them a better option for gaming, video editing, and game development.

If you find you need to upgrade your card, check out our list of the best options available. Or, check these graphics cards for specific computing activities and devices. It is always best to compare specifications and prices before purchasing.

What’s a Graphics Card?

When you turn on your computer, the images that appear on your screen – whether it’s a simple Word document or a complex 4K game – are generated by the graphics processor (or GPU). These chips can range from simple “integrated graphics cards” that are part of the motherboard or processor to larger, more powerful expansion cards.

These expansion cards – often called “discrete” or “dedicated” graphics cards – can usually perform more advanced tasks than integrated graphics, such as better 3D games, accelerated video rendering, and even some non-graphics tasks such as bitcoin mining. This extra tool comes at the cost of more power consumption, more heat, and more computer space, which is why you will rarely find dedicated graphics cards in ultra-thin laptops.

Like any other computer component, graphics cards can become obsolete over time. The card you bought in 2010 probably won’t play 2020 AAA games at high settings, so if you’re ever unsure whether a game will run on your PC, you’ll want to compare its minimum or recommended requirements with your current hardware.

Knowing which graphics card you have can be a bit confusing as there are two relevant model numbers: the GPU model (that is, the actual chip that does the job) and the model of the card itself (including other hardware like cooler, voltage regulator etc).

There are currently two main manufacturers of discrete GPUs: Nvidia and AMD. However, there are many other manufacturers that make their own cards – Asus, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte – and other companies can make graphics cards using Nvidia and AMD chips by adding their own patches to distinguish themselves from each other. One manufacturer’s version may have better fans than another, it may be factory overclocked, or it may have a better warranty.

So when you check which graphics card you have, you have to decide if you only need to know the chipset (for example, “Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060”) or if you need the actual manufacturer and model of your card (such as “EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 Superclocked” which uses the Nvidia chipset). The former is very easy to find in Windows while the latter is a bit more complicated.

Find Out What GPU You Have in Windows

Open the Start menu on your computer, type “Device Manager” and press Enter. You should see an option at the top of your graphics card. Click the down arrow which should contain the name of your GPU. For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that I have a Radeon RX 580.

If you’re not sure which company designed this chip, you can right-click it and select Properties to view the manufacturer – Advanced Micro Devices or AMD in my case. (Remember that Device Manager uses graphics drivers to determine what GPU you have, so if you suspect you may have installed the wrong drivers you should skip to the next section.)

Once you’ve got the GPU name, you can search Google to find out more about it or compare it to the minimum requirements of the game you want to play. Usually, a higher number means a better card – so a game requiring the RX 580 may not work on the RX 480, which is weaker (though there is a workaround for this at times).

If you’re comparing two cards that use different naming schemes – like the AMD RX 580 and their more powerful RX Vega 56 – you may need to do a bit of research to see which card is more efficient and what the price difference is.

I choose between 3 GPUs, RTX 4k and 5k Quadro and 2080 (maybe great). The basic options for the laptop are Xeon and the 10th generation i9. What I need to optimize here is the number of cores and the clock rate, with a bit more weight in the clock rate range.

How do I add, remove, upgrade, or change my gaming laptop GPU?

The answer varies depending on the version and model you have. Not all GPUs can be easily swapped. Especially in non-gaming laptops and even some gaming laptops, the GPU is surface soldered to the motherboard. If that’s the case, then you’re out of luck unless you have the required skills to replace the entire motherboard, build your own custom board, solder the new GPU to the custom board, and hope everything works (most likely it won’t, so don’t even try).

nvidia rtx 3000 mobile gpu card

The process of changing or upgrading a laptop’s GPU usually involves de-soldering the existing GPU and soldering the new GPU to the same socket. Not all GPUs are the same size. They are based on a variety of architectures. You need to make sure your socket is compatible with the new mobile GPU you plan to use.

Soldering a new GPU is not easy. It’s not about taking out your old graphics card and inserting a new one. It is much more difficult.

The process also depends on how the GPU is connected. If it uses a PCIe connection, things should be relatively simpler.

Laptops that have upgradeable graphics cards

Brands have tried to capture this market for people looking to upgrade their laptop GPUs. For example, the Alienware Area-51m (and Area-51m R2) was a laptop that could swap and replace new GPUs (along with other parts such as CPU and cooling components).

Note that the gaming laptop uses soldering to fit parts around the case to save space. Soldering and sealing components keep the case compact: the selling point of gaming laptops (and laptops in general).

foreign equipment area 51 m

Therefore, in order to build an upgradeable and customizable laptop, Dell (the parent company of Alienware) had to build a bulky laptop. The original Area 51m was very heavy and large.

The idea was to build a laptop that was more portable than a desktop and more customizable than a typical laptop.

It’s always better to wait and save to buy a brand new gaming laptop entirely. Nobody wanted the hassle of updating their gaming laptop, including Alienware Area-51m users.

Dell has created official specifications and form factors for manufacturers to ensure users have a hassle-free part replacement. But the Alienware market isn’t that big. As a result, no one followed in their footsteps. Dell has never promised to produce new components in the format required for replacement in an Area 51m chassis.

Combine that with the trouble and the idea fell apart quickly. There were no takers during the year.

Lesson: To build a gaming laptop that can easily replace its GPU with a new one (handmade by the typical consumer), you’ll need a massive and large case. Even if you get it, updating will still be a hassle.

Someone sued Dell in the US for this upgradeability claim. When the Area-51m R2 was announced, there was no mention of the cones. The core components (CPU and GPU of course) can be upgraded. However, GPU updates and Intel processors above 10th generation are not supported. This is a case of players being misled and therefore a lawsuit. We support this lawsuit. Read the report on The Verge.

The latest product in this segment is Eurocom’s Sky Z7 R2 “fully upgradeable”. It is based on Intel Rocket Lake and has an expandable graphics card slot for MXM 3.1 V2.0 mobile GPUs, officially for the Nvidia RTX 3080. It does not promise support for next-gen chips. Read the full report on PCGamer.

Hello Akshat, I need to buy a new laptop to create home videos as well as to conduct high quality telehealth sessions via webcam with clients. My 2010 Dell XPS 14 i5 computer lasted 9 years and worked very well, but it’s almost DONE! Pitifully outdated!

Radeon RX 6x50M Series: Additional Mobile SKUs With More Performance

The second group of mobile graphics announcements to come to AMD is the addition of 3 more Radeon RX 6800M / 6600M SKUs. Just over 6 months after the initial introduction of the current generation mobile parts, AMD is expanding the family with a few additional SKUs based on the existing Navi 22 and Navi 23 GPUs. All these new parts carry the Class 50 designation and are essentially higher clock / higher configured versions their existing mobile counterparts.

Specifications AMD Radeon RX Mobile 6800M / 6700M
AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT AMD Radeon RX 6800M AMD Radeon RX 6700M
Stream processors 2560
(40 jp)
(40 jp)
(36 units)
RPO 64 64 64
Game clock 2463 MHz 2300 MHz
The boost timer Not applicable Not applicable Not applicable
Performance (FP32) 12.6 TFLOPS 11.8 TFLOPS 10.6 TFLOPS
Memory clock Up to 18 Gbps GDDR6 Up to 16 Gbps GDDR6 Up to 16 Gbps GDDR6
Memory bus width 192-bit 192-bit 160-bit
VRAM 12 GB 12 GB 10 GB
Infinity Cache 96MB 96MB 80MB
TGP scope 130 – 165W 130 – 145W 90 – 135W
Production process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
The number of transistors 17.2B 17.2B 17.2B
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA2
GPU Navigation 22 Navigation 22 Navigation 22
Launch date 1st Quarter 2022 06/2021 08/2021

Radeon RX 6500M & 6300M: Navi 24 Arrives for Mobile

Lastly and technically least, AMD is also introducing a pair of new entry-level SKUs, the Radeon RX 6500M and the Radeon RX 6300M. These parts are based on the new Navi 24 GPU and are the only products launched today that are actually based on the new silicon.

Like the Navi 14 predecessor, the Navi 24 is the fourth and seemingly final member of the AMD Navi 2x graphics card stack and targets the low-end / entry-level segment. In the smallest Navi GPU, AMD has once again scaled the Navi 2x architecture, essentially cutting the Navi 23 in half to deliver a portion with half the CUs, half the memory bus, and half the power consumption.

But as an added boost, AMD does not reuse TSMC’s 7nm process for the Navi 24. Instead, the smallest Navi chip is manufactured in the 6nm manufacturing node, which we presume to be TSMC’s N6 line. This is the second AMD GPU / accelerator we’ve seen with 6nm technology – after the gigantic CDNA2 chip in the Radeon Instinct MI250X – so AMD takes full advantage of its close collaboration with TSMC and thus benefits from the benefits offered by what is essentially enhanced version of the 7-nanometer TSMC process. Switching to the N6 probably doesn’t increase AMD’s performance, but a roughly 15% improvement in transistor density will allow AMD to get many more dies from each wafer at a time when factory power is at a premium.

To that end, while AMD hasn’t released official transistor numbers or die size for the Navi 24, expect it to be very small, especially compared to the hefty Navi chips AMD has released so far.

With the reduction in the number of CUs, another big area of ​​saving space for AMD transistors / chips in the Navi 24 will come from a further reduction in the size of the Infinity cache. This onboard SRAM cache is only 16MB for the Navi 24, which is half the size of the cache on the Navi 23 (6600M). Considering that the Navi 23 was already the best place to play 1080p, I am very curious to see how the Navi 24 is doing this way; Will 16MB be a large enough cache for entry-level games? By comparison, a 32-bit 1080p framebuffer is just under 8MB in size, so it won’t take too much to fill a 16MB cache.

Specifications for the AMD Radeon RX Mobile 6500M / 6300M ​​series
AMD Radeon RX 6500M AMD Radeon RX 6300M AMD Radeon RX 5500M AMD Radeon RX 5300M
Stream processors 1024
(16 CU)?
(12 units)
(22 jp)
(22 jp)
RPO 32 32 32 32
Game clock 2191 MHz 1512 MHz 1448 MHz 1181 MHz
The boost timer Not applicable Not applicable 1645 MHz 1445 MHz
Performance (FP32) 4.5 TFLOPS ? TFLOPS 4.6 TFLOPS 4.1 TFLOPS
Memory clock Up to 16 Gbps GDDR6 Up to 18 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6
Memory bus width 64-bit 64-bit 128-bit 96-bit
VRAM 4 GB 2 GB 4 GB 3 GB
Infinity Cache 16 MB 16 MB Not applicable Not applicable
TGP scope 35 – 50W 25W 85W 60W
Production process TSMC N6 TSMC N6 TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
The number of transistors 5.4B 5.4B 6.4B 6.4B
Architecture RDNA2 RDNA2 RDNA (1) RDNA (1)
GPU Navigation 24 Navigation 24 Navigation 14 Navigation 14
Launch date 1st Quarter 2022 1st Quarter 2022 10/2019 11/2019
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