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4080 vs 4070 which laptop GPU should should I buy?

A rundown of the RTX 40-series laptop GPUs, and a comparison between the two potentially best selling versions - the RTX 4080 and RTX 4070

 

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NVIDIA has recently announced the release of its latest GeForce RTX 40-Series laptop GPUs at CES 2023, which will be available starting February 8th. Top manufacturers like Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, and Samsung have thrown their hat into the ring, and will all be incorporating these new GPUs into their laptops, along with 13th-Gen CPUs.

 

 

Performance and Power Efficiency

NVIDIA has - as expected - put a lot of focus on power efficiency with the RTX 40-Series, utilising its 5th generation Max-Q technology. These GPUs have the lowest voltage GDDR6 memory ever shipped, a tri-speed memory control for better power management, and support for its DLSS 3 super sampling, which is allegedly capable of effectively doubling the battery life.

 

RTX 40-Series Laptop performance

 

Additionally, the on-chip memory bandwidth has been doubled at an architecture level, which significantly improves clock gating. For those that didn't know (which is probably a lot of people, including this author), clock gating is a power-saving technique used in digital circuits where the clock signal driving a logic gate is enabled or disabled based on the state of the inputs of the gate. It reduces power consumption by only allowing the clock signal to pass through to a circuit when it is actually being used. The chip will use less power, and run cooler and more efficiently. So, for all those content creators out there, they can hammer these laptops with demanding workflows without sacrificing battery life, resulting in up to three times the longevity.

 

Key technologies in RTX 40-Series gaming laptops

 

The RTX 40-Series laptops come in various flavours, with the flagship RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 gaming laptops being the high-end models, more than capable of outputting gameplay to three 4K monitors at 60 FPS (the current sweet spot for 4K PC gaming, really), as well as livestreaming gameplay at 4K 60 FPS with AV1 encoding to Discord.

AV1 Encoding

The AV1 encoding is a huge step for NVIDIA, bringing it in line with the recent move to the standard across the industry; the eighth generation of NVIDIA Encoders (NVENC) now supports AV1 encoding, resulting in a significant increase in efficiency (40% greater than H.264) and the ability to stream at higher resolutions (such as 1440p at the same bitrate and quality as 1080p) for viewers. Twitch has conducted internal testing of AV1 for some time. However, the challenge is that AV1 is not well suited for HLS, which is the foundation of their current infrastructure and CDN (Content Delivery Network), and necessary for scalability. The clock is ticking, Twitch.

Lower budget models

For those on a budget, the upcoming RTX 4050, 4060, and 4070 laptops offer more affordable options, capable of delivering 80 FPS gameplay at 1440p Ultra, and reducing some scene rendering times in Blender from two and a half hours to just ten minutes. We'll learn more about these creator benefits when we get our hands on actual laptops for benchmarking.

These leaps make them a great option for anyone looking for both productivity and creative performance when they're not gaming, thanks to the new dual encoders in the architecture, cutting video export time in half.

A Step Ahead

NVIDIA promises that the RTX 40-Series is the "largest-ever generational leap in performance and power efficiency" and even boasts that these GPUs are up to twice as fast as a PlayStation 5, while being just one-sixth the size. Although we don't necessarily agree with or promote this kind of size vs performance talk, it is still great to know that the overall objective here is to continue the PC MasterRace and Console Peasant wars which we've come to know and love on Reddit.

Pricing

Now, let's talk about the potential elephant in the room: price. It turns out that it isn't an elephant at all, and we were probably wrong to assume NVIDIA had "done it again with laptops this time".

We're all thinking it, I'm just writing it.

The flagship RTX 4090 and 4080 laptops will come in at a hair over £1,100 at launch. The performance and power efficiency these laptops offer means (at face value) the price will be more than worth it for all segments of top-tier laptop user, and even includes the budget of a mid-tier gamer. So, yes, it makes a welcome change for those who thought pricing for the RTX 40-series desktop GPUs were hugely over-inflated, evidently shutting out a section of the market that will miss the boat, despite saving up since the RTX 3070 landed.

We're all thinking it, I'm just writing it.

RTX 4080 vs RTX 4070 gaming laptops

This article is mainly about these two GPUs - as most retailers and e-tailers anticipate both to outsell the colossal RTX 4090 on the laptop front, and outshine the budget-friendly RTX 4050 and RTX 4060 at launch. The pricing is just too good for that not to be the case.

Not only are you getting next generation gaming, but content creators have a lot to crow about with RTX 40-Series. The RTX 4080 and the RTX 4070 benefit from NVIDIA's raft of creator-focused integrations: -

  • NVIDIA Studio - unmatched laptop performance in 3D rendering, video editing, and graphic design
  • NVIDIA Encoder - eighth-gen NVIDIA Encoder (NVENC) for streaming and gaming performance
  • NVIDIA Broadcast - NVIDIA's AI-driven enhancement for live streams, voice chats, and video calls that reduce noise and room echo, with virtual backgrounds and more
  • NVIDIA Omniverse - Accessed via NVIDIA Studio, Omniverse is a 3D design collaboration platform for expediting workflows, integrating applications, and uniting resources to swiftly turn concepts into reality - anywhere, fast.
  • NVIDIA Canvas - leverage AI to convert basic brushstrokes into realistic landscape images; generate backgrounds efficiently, or accelerate the process of exploring concepts

 

NVIDIA Canvas

 

RTX 4080

The RTX 4080 is the flagship model and is packed with features that will appeal to both gamers and content creators. It has the ability to output gameplay to three 4K monitors at 60 FPS, making it ideal for those who demand the highest quality gaming experience. Additionally, it can livestream gameplay at 4K 60fps with AV1 encoding to Discord, which is perfect for streamers. The new dual encoders in the architecture also make video export time significantly faster, cutting it in half, making it a great option for content creators.

RTX 4070

The RTX 4070 is also an excellent choice for consumers, though these consumers may have to wait a little bit for it. It is a more affordable option compared to the RTX 4080, but still packs a punch when it comes to performance, as you'd expect from next-gen offerings.

The RTX 4070 is capable of delivering 80 FPS gameplay at 1440p Ultra and cutting scene rendering times in Blender from two and a half hours to just ten minutes. While it might not have the same benchmarks as the RTX 4080, it is still a great option for those who want a high-performance laptop. It's still a hefty price tag for some people, but we do have to remember that in November 2022, MSI and ASUS were selling intel 12th-Gen CPU laptops at around the same price based on an RTX 3070 sitting under the keyboard. To hit sweet spot next generation pricing like this speaks to the way NVIDIA listening - or trying to, at least - to consumers and their pain points.

Power Efficiency

Both the RTX 4080 and 4070 models feature NVIDIA's fifth-generation Max-Q technology, so it has serious power efficiency chops. Additionally, the RTX 40-Series also fully supports DLSS 3 supersampling, which can effectively double the battery life. The on-chip memory bandwidth has been doubled at an architecture level, which improves clock gating significantly. So, content creators can still enjoy working hard on their workflow, while the GPU only sips the battery.

Price

The RTX 4080 comes with a higher price tag while the RTX 4070 is the more affordable option, with little sacrifice in performance in this newer generation. The price is an important factor when choosing between the RTX 4080 and RTX 4070. If you're on a budget, the RTX 4070 is the obvious choice. However, if you have the means to spend more and you're looking for the best performance of the two, the RTX 4080 is the clear winner.

Which should you choose - an RTX 4080 or RTX 4070 laptop?

Generally speaking, the above paragraph is how most of these articles end, and we bid you farewell with a fond "it's down to your budget, really". On this occasion, our advice is to go for the RTX 4080 laptops, which offer massive gains if you are just gaming, and added performance benefits if you are creating. For the anticipated difference in price, you will be glad you spent the extra on measurable performance.

To be fair, choosing between the RTX 4080 and 4070 laptops ultimately comes down to what you really need and what you're willing to spend, of course. Both models feature NVIDIA's latest technology and are incredibly powerful and efficient, and you're going to see generational long jumps, here.