Nvidia has taken the wraps off its latest laptop graphics processors in the shape of the Nvidia GeForce 800M series.
The focus of the new range, which replaces the 700M series, is on power saving and increased performance as well as the inclusion of extra features such as Battery Boost and support for ShadowPlay, allowing for instant Twitch streaming and game recording.
The new range is topped by the 880M, which boasts a 15% performance increase over the 780M, then runs down through the 870M (30% increase), 860M (40%), and 850M (50%), all the way to the 820M. Nvidia also points out that the 850M, for instance, is 4X more efficient than the three year old 550M, when it comes to performance-per-watt.
The new chips aren't all based on ground-up new GPU designs, with the 880M and 870M both based on Kepler designs. Indeed the former even uses the same number of stream processors as their 780M (it relies on a faster core clock speed). Meanwhile the 870M does feature a stream processor boost, with 1,344 compared to the 770M's 960. It also has a faster clock speed and memory too.
The 860M and 850M, meanwhile, do use the newer Maxwell architecture and boast even more significant stream processor count increases, going from 768 and 384 to 1152 and 640 respectively.
As for those new features, Battery Boost is a new software feature that kicks in when a notebook is unplugged from mains power. What it does is adjust game settings just like in the game-optimising feature in GeForce Experience but instead of aiming for a balance of maximum performance and best visuals it targets a playable frame rate. The result, Nvidia claims, is up to 2X battery life when gaming on the move. Given how long many laptops last when gaming this may only equate to a move from one to two hours gaming but for a one-click solution to getting a bit more life out of your laptop it's a welcome addition.
Nvidia claims there is more to the algorithms in use than just frame rate targeting, with enhancements to GPU, CPU and memory efficiency during frame rendering but we are yet to hear more details of how these actually work.
ShadowPlay, meanwhile, is Nvidia's built-in video recording feature, which allows for ultra-low impact 1080p recording of any and all your gaming sessions. It can either be set to record manually, to stream straight to Twitch.tv or it can constantly record the last several minutes of your gaming, ensuring you will never miss a moment.
The 800M series is available immediately including in the likes of the MSI GT60 2PE Dominator Pro
, which we just reviewed.
Although such large gaming laptops will get a nice boost from the new hardware, it's actually the thin and light sector that Nvidia is targeting most directly with this new launch with it pointing out that the combination of an Intel CPU and an 840M actually uses less power while gaming compared to Intel's Iris Pro integrated graphics while providing far greater performance.