A mobile RTX 3070 has been spotted, and expectations are already sky-high

Gigabyte Aorus 17x
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 chip for laptops has been snapped and the photo posted on Twitter, prompting excitement about how powerful this mobile GPU might be – and how soon it may arrive – but we’d be wise to temper any expectations at this point.

The image was tweeted by HXL and appears to be a qualification sample of the GA104 mobile GPU, but of course, treat that with the usual caution around any early leak.

The folks over at Tom’s Hardware can’t help but get excited (along with others) at the prospect of an RTX 3070 for laptops which maintains the same spec as the desktop version of the graphics card (i.e. 5,888 CUDA cores). If true, it would mean we'd get a mobile GPU with equivalent performance to the RTX 2080 Ti (which the desktop RTX 3070 has been shown to pretty much match, going by Nvidia’s internal benchmarking).

Dose of realism

That is, of course, an enticing prospect – but let’s be realistic here. While mobile GPUs have certainly taken big strides in recent times, performance is normally a notch down with the laptop version. Even if it has the same core count, the mobile GPU will likely be clocked a chunk slower with laptop power and thermal restraints in mind. The RTX 2070 mobile part was appreciably slower than the desktop 2070, and more like equivalent to the GTX 1080.

So similarly, with the RTX 3070, we can probably expect something in the same ballpark as the desktop RTX 2080 (rather than the 2080 Ti). Which, don’t get us wrong, will still be an impressively powerful laptop GPU.

As Tom’s further notes, the image purportedly shows the GPU surrounded by eight SK Hynix GDDR6 memory chips, each of 1GB, meaning the mobile RTX 3070 will offer 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM in theory (and a 256-bit memory interface).

Glimpsing a sample chip now might also have you thinking that we could see this mobile GPU perhaps sooner rather than later, but the reality is that the RTX 3070 for laptops (and other offerings) are probably a good way out yet. Indeed, stock of Nvidia’s desktop Ampere graphics cards seems like it’s still a fair way out, for that matter, and that’s hardly a promising situation in terms of heralding a mobile launch.

So we’re betting that the mobile flavors of Ampere GPUs won’t pop up until March 2021 at the earliest, or maybe April, but that – and indeed all of this – is just speculation.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).