Laptop GPU TDP ( Wattage ) – What is it? How important is it?
You probably came here because you’re just about to buy a laptop and you’re concerned about its GPU wattage, heck, you might not even know what GPU wattage is ( also known as TDP but the actual correct term being TGP ).
Don’t worry about it, in this post, we’ll sort it all out!
Let me state a fact:
So What is GPU TDP?
TDP stands for thermal design power. Although the meaning isn’t exactly “wattage” (how much power a graphic cards will draw), it’s now being used for that definition. The correct term is TGP.
Anyways, the point is the higher the TDP or TGP, the higher the wattage, the higher the power it can draw and use, the faster the processing of images which means more framerates with higher quality.
From now on we’ll use the term TGP or wattage!
An over simplistic summary would be…
The following table shows you the minimum TGP and maximum TGP you’ll find on laptop GPUs:
|GPU||Min TGP||Max TGP|
Sometimes how much difference TGP can make is ridiculous!
Let’s go through an specific example.
Image below shows a 3060RTX (130W) LEFT vs a 3070RTX (115W) RIGHT*.
*Colors don’t represent political parties!
Despite the 3060RTX GPU being obviously weaker, surprisingly, it outperforms a 3070RTX at 1080p High settings on call of duty.
What’s crazy about this comparison is that the laptop on the left has a Ryzen 7 5800HS , the laptop on the right has a RYZEN 9 5900HS!
What’s even crazier is that the snapshot on the left (3060RTX) is taking WHILE IN COMBAT!
The one on the right just shows you a player dickin’ around the map (less hardware demanding).
So yeah, that’s how important wattage is!
The discrepancy shown in the image above is just too big so it is likely the 3060RTX running at 130W ALSO has a MUX Switch. **I confirmed it , it also has a MUX Switch , thus MUX + High wattage = ultimate gaming performance. You can read more about MUX Switches on my post here **
For now, let’s just keep diving into what wattage is.
What WATTAGE is Good for Gaming?
Obviously, the highest as shown on the table.
A better question would be, what wattage is BAD for gaming!
Yup, we want to avoid those low wattage GPUs which are outperformed by “cheaper” and “slower” GPUs such as the case of the 3070RTX 115W.
3060RTX (80W) vs 3070 (80W) vs 3080 (80W) 1080p Gaming
If you’re buying a laptop with a FHD display that means you’re stuck to 1080p gaming.
If this is the case, then the 3060RTX (80W) will give you equal preformance to either of the other 80W GPUs at ultra 1080p settings for most games as in Call of Duty.
EXCEPT for those very graphical demanding games, like Assain’s Creed, where both the 3070 and 3080 will get you +10fps.
Screenshots taken from Benchmarks for gaming channel.
It’s obviously pointless to compare the 3060RTX 80W to the 3070W 90-130W and 3080RTX 90-130W or the 3060RTX (100W) vs 3080 RTX(80W).
It’s much more insightful to compare a 3060RTX 100W vs 3080RTX 100W.
3060 130W vs 3070 100W for 1080P Gaming
For reasons we’ll explain soon , it is crucial to benchmark GPU performance with very graphical demanding games like The Witcher 3, Call of Duty and so on.
Basically benchmarking through a very graphical demanding game will force GPUs to go full wattage (130W in the case of the 3060RTX and 100W in the 3070W).
You can see there’s only a 5-10fps difference in performance. Whether that’s worth paying more money it’s really up to you.
3070RTX 140W vs 3080RTX 110W (1440p) Gaming
If you’re buying a laptop to play at 1400p resolution then both the 3070RTX and the 3080RTX will outperform the 3060RTX across all wattages.
Thus it is much more meaningful to test the 3070RTX against the 3080RTX.
The 3070RTX 140W clearly outperforms the 3080RTX , ~15 fps makes a huge difference in 1440p gaming because it’s not easy to gain even one extra framerate with this much resolution.
Thus it is not worth buying a 3080RTX unless wattage is bigger than 110W. I would recomend at least a 130W but I’d just recommend go as high as 150W or just don’t buy a 3080RTX.
Below are the wattages you’ll find on 3060RTX, 3070RTX an 3080RTX laptops. Before we get to the tables , let’s quickly settle what dynamic boost and what the “115-130W” “125-145W” phrases mean.
What is dynamic boost?
Dynamic boost is a “wattage boost” your GPU gets when it sees the need to so,
That is your GPU will draw more power and operate at full wattage when let’s say you launch a game like call of duty and set all graphic settings to ultra.
While you may find laptop’s without dynamic boost and just straight up operate at full wattage all the time, this is rare and these laptops are usually thicker and heavier because more wattage means more heat which means more space is needed to design a better cooling system.
My take: I would personally settle down for GPUs witih Dynamic Boost, it’s just a safer way to keep temperatures under control without compromising performance.
Notice how the 3060RTX (115+15W dynamic boost) only goes past 115W on extremely hardware demanding setting such as PUBG :
And goes down to as low as 90W on less demanding titles like Dota 2.
With that said…
Laptop 3050Ti Wattage List
Although there are 3050Ti with all the wattages listed down below:
|Base Clock Speed||735||915||1043||1140Mhz||1223MHz||1350Mhz||1464Mhz|
|Boost Clock Speed||1035||1185||1290||1410MHz||1485Mhz||1598Mhz||1695Mhz|
Manufacturers will mostly ship laptops with either 35W (~5%) , 60W (~80%) and 80W(~15%).
Laptop 3060RTX Wattage List
In theory, 3060 RTX GPUs on laptops should come with ANY of the following wattages:
|Base Clock Speed(Mhz)||817||975||1050||900||1035||1163||1215||1267||1305||1342||1387||1425|
|Boost Clock Speed||1282||1357||1402||1530||1485||1530||1567||1605||1642||1680||1702||1720|
However, in the real world, manufacturers will only ship laptops with the following wattages or TGP :
|80W||15W||95W||LOW FPS..||XMG Apex 17|
|90W||5W||95W||Engineers Zone||Lenovo Legion 5 Pro|
|105W||0W||105W||Low FPS Gaming||GIGABYTE G5|
|115W||15W||130W||HubWood||MSI Leopard GP76|
Surely there are some laptops with no dynamic boost and they straight up operate at full wattage 130W but they are rare.
Laptop 3070RTX Wattage List
|Base Clock Speed(Mhz)||780||855||930||1620||—|
|Boost Clock Speed||1290||1365||1410||1670||1700|
The most commong wattage configurations however are listed down below.
|80W||5W||85W||ChillinWith..||Asus Tuf Dash F15|
|80W||15W||95W||LOW FPS Gaming..||Gigabyte Aorus 15G|
|80||20W||100W||Mobile Tech||ASUS ROG Zephyrus G15|
|85W||15W||100W||LOW FPS Gaming..||Acer Predator 300|
|90W||15W||105W||Xyonus TV||Aorus 15G XC|
|115W||15W||130W||Gen X||ROG Strix G17 G713
|125W||5W||130W||Bob of All Trades||MSI GE66 Raider 2021|
|130W||—||130W||Wuxing||Acer Predator Helios 300|
|115W||25W||140W||HubWood||Lenogo Legion 5 Pro|
Laptop 3080RTX Wattage List
|TGP(Wattage) without Dynamic Boost||80W||90W||115W||150W|
|Base Clock Speed(Mhz)||780||855||930||???|
|Boost Clock Speed (with Dynamic Boost )||1245||1365||1410||1750|
|80W||25W||105W||Benchmark for…||CLEVO PC70DS-D|
|80W||5W||95W||TeraFied||Razer Blade 15 Pro|
|90W||15W||105W||Techster||Gigabyte Aorus 15G|
|115W||15W||130W||Tech critter||ASUS ROG Scar|
|150W||15W*||165W||Matthew Moniz||MSI G76 raider|
*After Bios Update
What about the 3080Ti , 3070Ti and the 3060Ti?
They all come at super high wattages so you bet the 3070Ti and 3080Ti will beat any of these GPUs (with the exception of the 165W 3080RTX found on the MSI G76 Raider). The question is how powerful is the 3060Ti? We’ll leave for another post.
How to check for GPU wattage?
A) Checking before buying
If by that you mean how to know how much wattage the GPU of a laptop you want to buy has?
Well you see third party sellers don’t usually list this, they’re sneaky:
- If a laptop has a full wattage GPU, they will LIST it.
- If a laptop has low wattage, they won’t list it on the description.
There isn’t really a full list online that would take a year to make.
The best you can do is type that laptop’s model name on google + the word wattage sort of like this.
“Acer Aspire 5 3060RTX Wattage” = Laptop model name + GPU + wattage.
You should get plenty of good results and one of these should take you to the manufacturer’s site (Acer’s site) where they will have a specification section.
If you need more tips check my article dedicated to this topic where I include my secret method to find out a laptop’s GPU wattage (the last section of the article).
B) Checking your laptop’s wattage
There are two ways to go about this:
- Check the NVIDIA Control Panel and look for an option to see GPU’s Power
- Install a software like HWIO, then play a very graphical demanding game, check back HWIO to see what it tells you
I have a full article on this, you might want to check out the first section of my “How to Check Your Laptop’s GPU Watagge”.
- 3060RTX laptops are all you need for 1080p gaming.
- 3060RTX 130W GPUs beat 3070RTX 115W GPUs.
- 3070RTX 140W are better than 3080RTX GPUs running at 115W.
- 3080RTX are only a good purchase past 115W.
- I am physicist and electrical engineer. My knowledge in computer software and hardware stems for my years spent doing research in optics and photonics devices and running simulations through various programming languages. My goal was to work for the quantum computing research team at IBM but Im now working with Astrophysical Simulations through Python. Most of the science related posts are written by me, the rest have different authors but I edited the final versions to fit the site's format.