In the market for a new laptop? Don’t click that buy button just yet! There’s a pretty impressive new piece of tech out there that you definitely want to at least consider before you pull the trigger on any new laptop right now.
OK, what are you talking about?
I’m talking about Nvidia’s new GTX 10-series mobile GPUs, also called “Pascal” cards. For once, this isn’t an incremental step: these cards have about double the processing power of their predecessors. But at the same time, they’re more power-efficient, so using them won’t chew through your battery quite as fast as it used to. And despite their power, they’re surprisingly small. The GTX 1060 mobile card has already found its way into some pretty slim 13″ and 14″ laptops.
As with any powerful GPU, the only real downside is price. At least right now, you’re not likely to find any machines with these cards for under US$1,000. But they’re not too bad; the cheapest laptops with GTX 1060 cards can be had for just over US$1,000.
HP unveils world’s thinnest laptop
Nvidia competitor AMD has a similar line of chips coming out under the “Polaris” name that offer a comparable jump in performance, too.
If you’re a gamer, you’d be nuts to consider buying any gaming laptop right now that doesn’t include this tech unless you’re bargain hunting. But this isn’t just relevant to gamers…
I’m not a gamer. Why should I care?
The biggest reason: virtual reality. All of the new 10-series cards are VR ready, meaning that you’ll be able to use your laptop to experience VR via headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. And while VR has gaming applications, there’s more to it than that. Designers of all sorts are already using VR for business applications like (for example) virtually touring a building design before the building is constructed.
This may seem irrelevant to you now, but if you’re buying a new laptop anyway, you might as well buy something future-proof. Even if there aren’t VR great applications in your industry now, you might well see a few pop up over the next few years as the technology matures.
Additionally, there are plenty of other reasons to have a computer with a good GPU, especially if you do any work related to video, art, or 3D design, as many professional programs use the GPU to speed up rendering. GPUs are also used by some software for computing tasks, and GPU processing has been used in tasks like machine learning and statistical analysis.
In short: there are good reasons to consider a laptop with a quality GPU even if you’re not a gamer.
That said, if you only use your computer for web browsing, coding, and other graphics-light tasks, then you probably don’t need this sort of GPU, and you can feel free to buy a computer that doesn’t have one of these cards.
So what’s out there right now?
Nvidia just announced these cards a couple of weeks ago, so there will be more options at every price point as time goes on. And AMD’s Polaris line is even newer; some companies (including Dell’s Alienware) have announced laptops with the cards but I don’t think any are actually available for sale yet.
Here are a few of the most promising-looking Pascal laptops you can buy now or very soon, though:
The New Razer Blade
Singapore’s favorite gaming hardware giant has an infuriating naming system for its computers – every new Blade is called “The New Razer Blade.” But the newest new Razer Blade, which was just announced this past weekend, is a sexy-slim 14″ laptop that boasts some serious power: core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and of course one of the new GTX 1060 chips. You can get it with a full HD (1920×1080) matte screen or a multi-touch QHD+ (3200×1800) screen, and internal SSD storage ranging from 128GB all the way up to 1 TB.
As is usually the case with Razer, the only real downside is the price: starting at US$1,799 and running all the way up to US$2,699, these babies are not cheap. They also don’t ship until the end of September and it looks like their initial run has already sold out, so these may not be the best option if you need a new laptop right now.
Dell Alienware 15/17
If you’re a fan of Dell’s Alienware brand, Dell also recently announced that it’s upgrading its two larger laptops to include the GTX 10-series chips. Don’t order one now; the new laptops won’t be out until later in the month, and we don’t know all the details (like full specs and prices yet). But the current line starts at US$1,200 for the lowest-spec model, so it’s reasonable to assume that the new 10-series models might bottom out somewhere around that area, too.
There will also be versions of these laptops with AMD Polaris cards for those who prefer AMD to Nvidia.
CLX Anubis 15
The folks at Cybertron PC have put the new 10-series chips into two of their CLX-branded “luxury” laptops, but assuming you don’t want a 17″-inch beast, the Anubis 15 is your best option. It sports a GTX 1060 GPU, core i7 processor, a 4K screen, and a 256 GB SSD plus a 2 TB HDD, all in a laptop that weighs less than 5 lbs. You pay for all that power, of course: the Anubis 15 will run you US$2,099. But the real risk here is that it’s a pretty new model; it all sounds great but you won’t find any reviews of this yet online, so buying one would taking a bit of a leap of faith.
Also worth noting: their warranty doesn’t currently cover use outside of the US. Lame.
MSI, ASUS, Sager, etc.
A number of PC makers – most prominent among them MSI and ASUS – have already released a ton of 10-series-powered laptops. None of these have quite attained the aesthetics of the three computers highlighted above, so you’re usually getting slightly thicker plastic cases and overall less holistic design. But the trade-off is price and customizability. If you’re looking for a low price, some system makers are selling laptops with 1060 cards for around US$1,200. And from there you’ve got options for every spec and price point running all the way up to ridiculous behemoths like this 10-pound Sager that’s running two 1080 chips in SLI mode and costs almost US$4,000.
There are way too many options to go through here, but check Nvidia’s page and click on the Retail or System Builder options and you’ll find a wide variety of these sorts of machines.
Yeah, uh, can I get this in an Apple?
Maybe! Apple hasn’t announced anything yet, but the company does include separate GPUs in the high-end models of its Macbook Pro laptop line, and rumor has it that the next update in the line might feature a next-gen GPU. Rumors suggest it’ll probably be something from AMD’s Polaris line, but until Apple announces an update (possibly later this month) we won’t know anything for sure.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise to sell software business: report
Right now, Apple has an older AMD graphics chip in one of its 15″ Macbook Pro models, but that retails for a whopping U$2,499, and it’s likely that the updated version with a next-gen VR-ready GPU would cost somewhere in that same ballpark. But then, if you’re looking for an Apple laptop anyway, you probably weren’t expecting it to be cheap.
Will I have other options?
Yes. If you can wait, there’s a good chance that your favorite laptop maker (Lenovo? Dell? Acer?) will be coming out with new models that sport Pascal or Polaris cards sooner or later. You may even see them sneaking into models that didn’t previously sport dedicated graphics cards since they’re less battery-hungry than previous versions of these chips.
Courtesy : Express Tribune