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Would You Like to Buy a Laptop? GPU TDP Is an Important Specification

Laptop GPU specifications often include “TDP” or thermal design power numbers measured in watts. Sugar coats are easy, but TDP can be an important performance figure that misses danger.


Thermal design power is essentially the thermal budget of the processor. It is designed to generate up to that amount and not anymore. TDP is not exactly the same as the amount of power a processor consumes like a GPU, but it is within that range. The true meaning of TDP is cooling.

If your GPU has a TDP of 100W, you need a cooling solution that can handle 100W of thermal energy and remove the graphics processing unit from your system fast enough to prevent throttling and emergency shutdown. 

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Importance of GPU TDP for laptops

The laptop is energy efficient, all components need to be packed in a very small space and there is not much space for the cooling system. This means that a cooling system that fits a particular laptop case limits the TDP that the CPU or graphics processing unit can achieve.

The higher the TDP of a component, the faster it runs, the longer it runs under heavy load, and the more power it can use. So if you have two 100% identical GPUs, one with a TDP of 65W and the other with a GPU of 130W, there can be a big difference in performance between them. 

Latest Laptop GPU Number Issues Knowing the GPU TDP of your laptop is more important than ever. Why? 

This has to do with how graphics processing unit makers, especially NVIDIA, name mobile graphics processing units. Previously, GPU Low TDP variants and High TDP variants were given different names. For example, the GTX 1080 MaxQ runs about 1015% slower than the regular model.

With the latest generation of NVIDIA graphics processing units, the name difference is gone. The computer fabricator can adjust every GPU to a certain TDP instead. The RTX 3060 mobile GPU ranges from 80W to 115W, with a total of eight TDP levels.

The 80 W card has a graphics processing unit clock range of 9001425 MHz, and the 115 W variant is in the range of 13871702 MHz. This is a great difference in clock speed without a sign that points to this difference. The good news is that NVIDIA needs a TDP number to be published to the Gaming Laptop Specification leaf. But if you don’t know that you should be a number or you should pay attention, you are not really good.

Check Out Benchmark 

The best way to buy a laptop with the latest GPUs is to look at the laptop’s spec sheet to see the TDP and clock frequency range where the GPU is being evaluated. Next, you need to compare it to the range of TDP available for that GPU to see where the potential GPU is on the stack. 

However, the most important thing is to look for benchmarks between different TDP levels for a particular GPU. If possible, you should find a benchmark for the particular laptop model you plan to buy. Buying a high-performance laptop is a big investment and you don’t want to find a low TDP variant outperforming good performance.

If you prefer a laptop that has a longer battery life and operates at lower temperatures, you may actually need a lower TDP variant of this film processor. The important thing is to get the hardware you really need.

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