Pascal graphics comes to laptops
Nvidia's Pascal graphics might be the biggest upgrade gaming laptops will see this year, much less ever. It finally brings the promise of desktop graphics power to every desktop while allowing for smoother gameplay at 4K and virtual reality while unlocking 120 frames-per-second (fps) experiences and even improving battery life by 30%.
What's even more impressive is how readily all of this will be available upon release, with at least 15 laptops rightly-equipped waiting in the wings. This is easily the biggest launch of gaming laptops ever, and to help you make sense of all the options, we're going to highlight just what a few of these model brings with it.
Starting price: $2,354 (about £1,815, AU$3,060)
Kicking off the festivities is one of the biggest and baddest gaming laptops we've ever reviewed, namely the Origin EON17-SLX. This 17-inch monster was just announced at the end of 2015 with desktop-grade Skylake processors, and now it comes equipped with two desktop-class Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics chips (alongside up to 64GB of DDR4 system RAM, and an Intel Core i7 6700K that can be overclocked).
With all that extra graphics firepower, the EON17-SLX can now power a 120Hz Full HD display or drive a 4K display at a silky smooth 60 fps. Note that the vendor is also offering the EON17-X with a single GeForce GTX 1080, and the EON15-X which can be kitted out with up to a GTX 1070 graphics solution.
Acer Predator 15
Last year, Acer wowed us by getting back into the gaming space with a revived Predator lineup. Not to be left behind in the times, the Taiwanese firm has updated its smallest gaming laptop with an Nvidia GTX 1070 CPU, making it VR-ready for all of your digital adventures. And, even if you don't have a VR headset, you can still enjoy the excellent, 1080p G-Sync equipped display.
Asus ROG G752VS
Starting price: $1,999 (about £1,540, AU$2,600)
The Asus ROG G752 already packs a ton of tech and now it's getting the Pascal bump with an Nvidia GTX 1070 and a 75Hz G-Sync display. It's powered by a quad-core Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, and also boasts 16GB of overclocked DDR4 system RAM running at 2400MHz.
While it might not be liquid cooled like its GX700 and GX800 cousins, the G752VS comes equipped with a vapor-chamber cooling system with individual coolers for both the CPU and GPU to help keep those components running smoothly under pressure.
There's also a G752VS OC Edition (which starts at $2,499 – about £1,930, AU$3,250) driven by a Core i7-6820HK CPU which can be overclocked and ramped up to 4GHz, and this machine boasts either 32GB or 64GB of overclocked 2400MHz DDR4 system memory.
Asus ROG Strix GL502VS
Starting price: $1,699 (about £1,310, AU$2,210)
We recently reviewed the Asus ROG Strix GL502 and loved just about every part of it. In fact, our only complaint with the machine was the lackluster battery life. However, Pascal might be able to correct this problem with its promise to improve power efficiency by 30%. This 15-inch device is due for a significant upgrade with an Nvidia GTX 1070 graphics chip and a new G-Sync-enabled display.
CPU-wise, an Intel Core i7-6700HQ is running the show backed by either 16GB or 32GB of 2133MHz DDR4 system RAM. You also get a 256GB or 512GB SSD complemented by a 1TB spinning disk for extra storage, along with a custom cooling system that features dual fans and three copper heat-pipes.
Starting price: $2,139 (about £1,650, AU$2,780)
Clevo might not seem like a familiar name, but you've probably owned one if you've ever bought a gaming laptop from boutique makers like Origin, Digital Storm or PC Specialist. Now, the manufacturer is rolling out a new chassis equipped with Nvidia's GTX 1080 and a 4K G-Sync display.
So far, Origin has already picked up this new frame to replace its current EON17-X unit. Like its bigger EON17-SLX brother we mentioned before, this 17-inch model can be outfitted with an Intel Core i7-6700K desktop processor and dual Nvidia GTX 1080s.
Starting price: $2,799 (about £2,160, AU$)
EVGA might be better known for producing desktop parts from motherboards to power supplies, and most recently, system memory, but this component maker has also recently gotten into gaming laptops. Earlier this year, EVGA launched its 17-inch SC17, and now, the company is coming back around for seconds with a Nvidia GTX 1070-powered unit.
Topping everything else off is a 4K G-Sync display and Intel Core i7-6820HK CPU, making this machine one of the most decked-out gaming laptops in this roundup that doesn't include desktop parts at all.
MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro
Starting price: $2,099 (about £1,620, AU$2,730)
MSI recently unveiled a new, thinner and smaller refresh to its already svelte GS60 Ghost Pro atComputex 2016, and the laptop is already seeing a big Nvidia GTX 1060 refresh just a few months later. To keep this an even slimmer and more powerful machine cool, MSI has employed a new Cooler Boost Trinity technology that pairs five heat pipes with three fans.
The GTX 1060 is paired with an Intel Core i7-6700HQ processor, driving a 15.6-inch 4K display. You also get 16GB of system RAM as standard, with storage comprising of a 512GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. Oh, and audio is delivered via four speakers.
MSI GT73VR Titan
Starting price: $3,599 (about £2,780, AU$4,680)
Say goodbye to the MSI GT72 Dominator and hello to the MSI GT73VR Titan. With its latest lineup refresh, the Taiwanese computer manufacturer officially retired the Dominator name and traded the 17-inch monster to the Titan team. Nomenclature aside, GT73VR Titan is one of the few gaming laptops to feature a 120Hz display and a dual Nvidia GTX 1070 setup. That's on the Titan SLI model, which also boasts 64GB of DDR4 system memory, along with twin 512GB SSDs in RAID backed with a 1TB spinning disk. The processor is a Core i7-6820HK.
There's also a GT73VR Titan 4K model which, as the name suggests, switches the full HD display for a 4K resolution one (but not 120Hz), and has a single GTX 1080 graphics card. Otherwise, the spec remains the same – this variant runs to $3,999 (about £3,080, AU$5,200).
MSI GT83VR Titan
Starting price: $5,099 (about £3,930, AU$6,640)
Last but not least, the GT80 Titan is getting a much deserved power boost as it evolves into the MSI GT83 Titan. The 18.4-inch desktop replacement returns with its fully mechanical keyboard (with Cherry MX brown switches) plus the option of dual Nvidia GTX 1080 GPUs setup in SLI – plus an Intel Core i7-6920HQ processor.
You get a non-reflective IPS screen with a full HD resolution (1920 x 1080), 64GB of DDR4 system memory, and again as with the MSI GT73VR Titan, for storage we have twin 512GB SSDs in RAID backed with a 1TB hard disk.
The refreshed P57 from Gigabyte is a 17.3-inch gaming notebook that comes equipped with a GeForce GTX 1070 or 1060. The IPS display is a full HD affair with a resolution of 1920 x 1080, plus you also get a backlit keyboard with anti-ghosting technology, along with a swappable drive bay which you can use to add an optical drive, or an extra hard disk if you prefer.
This is backed up by the P55, a smaller 15.6-inch laptop which boasts the GTX 1060, and can either have a full HD display or optionally you can plump for a 2880 x 1620 (WQHD+) resolution.
Gigabyte also has new P37 and P35 'ultraforce' models on offer, both of which are thin and light yet use the power of their Pascal-based graphics solutions – the GTX 1070 in both cases – to ensure they have plenty of grunt despite their svelte nature.
Aorus X7 DT
Gigabyte has also refreshed the Aorus X7 DT with some Pascal graphics magic in the form of a GeForce GTX 1080, and a new 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1440 resolution screen which boasts a refresh rate of 120Hz along with a response time of 5ms (there's also a 4K option for the display). The design has been tinkered with to improve the air intake and therefore the cooling, too. There's also the X7 v6 model which drops the graphics card down a notch to a GTX 1070.
Gigabyte further revealed the Aorus X5 v6, which is the 15.6-inch flavor that boasts a GTX 1070 and a full HD display with a 120Hz refresh rate. For those who want to go smaller still, consider the 13.9-inch Aorus X3 Plus v6 which runs with the GTX 1060 GPU and a pixel-packed 3200 x 1800 IGZO display.
CLX Osiris 17
Starting price: $1,999 (about £1,540, AU$2,600)
CybertronPC has given its CLX Osiris 17 a Pascal boost with the introduction of the GeForce GTX 1080 to sit alongside a meaty Core i7 CPU (beefed up by the CLX processor overclocking service). The Osiris 15 has also been equipped with up to GTX 1070 graphics, and has options on either a full HD or 4K screen. Finally, the slim Anubis 15 boasts a 4K display which is now driven by a GTX 1060 GPU.
Razer has classically been a little late to the game when it comes to updating its machines with the latest parts, but the new Blade changes all that. While it might not look like much has changed on the outside, on the inside is a new Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU, which should make it more capable of powering its 3K display during hardcore gaming sessions.
HP Omen 17
Starting price: $1,599 (about £1,230, AU$2,080)
Although HP just announced a refreshed Omen gaming laptop lineup, it's updating the 17-inch model with Pascal graphics. The notebook now comes with Nvidia's latest GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 to make it VR capable and powerful enough to deliver 4K gameplay at high frame rates. However, to get there, the new Omen 17 is a hair thicker at 32.9mm and weighs seven pounds.
- Nvidia's new Pascal graphics for notebooks are going to shake up the gaming laptop world
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).