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PM Approved: The New GeForce RTX Laptops Make Magic in Real Life

PM Approved: The New GeForce RTX Laptops Make Magic in Real Life

There’s a fine line between a great gaming laptop and a laptop-shaped robot. For the latest series of gaming laptops from NVIDIA, designers built artificial intelligence into the core of each system, giving users a fleet of built-in AI assistants that don’t hog all the computing power.

Popular Mechanics got a closer look at some of the AI advantages of the GeForce RTX 30 Series that launched in January.

Ghosts in the machine

GeForce, NVIDIA’s gaming and creative platform, caters to some of the most demanding operations ever asked of a personal computer. Whether they’re in a digital studio or wreaking havoc on a virtual battlefield, GeForce users expect to be immersed in gorgeous graphics, ultra-fast renders, and seamless frame rates.

GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptops

NVIDIA nvidia.com

To meet these exacting standards without overloading the limited resources of a single laptop, NVIDIA started loading each GeForce system with hardware specifically designed for AI functions. Turing, the architecture that debuted inside the first generation of GeForce laptops, was the first to integrate features like ray tracing and DLSS.

In the new GeForce RTX 30 Series laptops, Turing has been replaced by its direct descendant, Ampere. The new NVIDIA architecture is even faster and more efficient than its predecessor, with 54 billion transistors crammed into a chip. Ampere also features upgraded integration for several of the AI features that premiered with Turing.

The math of great graphics: Deep learning super-sampling (DLSS) and ray tracing

Gaming and computer design have one urgent need in common: Immersive graphics. Rendering gorgeous images at high resolution and frame rates strains the limits of ordinary computer architecture, resulting in a visual experience plagued by pixelated edges and long delays while images render. Deep learning super-sampling, or DLSS, sidesteps those hiccups by relying on AI in real time, to enhance and speed up frames simultaneously while they render.

The demand for high-performance graphics also spurred on the development of ray tracing, a technology that first showed up for gaming in 2018. Ray tracing, a hallmark of advanced animation and gaming software across industries, reproduces the behavior of light and shadow in real 3D space by actually simulating how rays bounce around inside a scene. The result is computerized light that actually behaves like it does in real-life, adding a stunning new layer of photorealism to gameplay and animation.

WhisperMode

Even with the same programs running, user experiences are as varied as users themselves. This is especially true when it comes to acoustics. Aside from obvious factors like headphones and volume control, environmental differences like the shape of the room or the texture of the floor can alter the sound experience. Gamers and creatives may be running their laptops in bare offices, noisy coffee shops, or beside their sleeping partners, all within the same day. For intensive renders and games, that means noisy fans spinning up to keep the CPU and GPU cool, resulting in the notorious laptop hum: a cardinal sin in some settings and a total nonevent in others.

Where noise is an issue, users can switch on WhisperMode, another of the GeForce series’ signature Max-Q technologies powered by AI. WhisperMode puts a maximum on the noise level and works backward to calculate how to distribute the workload between the CPU and GPU, even as the user switches between applications and clicks around the screen. The NVIDIA Ampere architecture integrates this function even more deeply into the laptop, giving WhisperMode awareness and control of the temperatures and power of the cooling system over each unit.

Dynamic Boost

Dynamic Boost turns a similar approach on CPU and GPU power distribution, but with the goal of optimizing efficiency rather than acoustics. By keeping track of how much power each of the units actually requires to run optimally, rather than setting a limit for the total power they consume, Dynamic Boost squeezes every last scrap of efficiency from the laptop’s power source. In addition to saving power overall, this feature acts as a buttress to support all the other power-intensive operations the GeForce laptops perform without overtaxing the system.

It takes a lot to satisfy the design team at NVIDIA, and there’s no reason to believe this latest GeForce series will be their last. Engineering laptops that push the limits of physics for the sake of the gaming experience requires endless cycles of feedback, experimentation, and standardization. With each generation, new features are even more deeply embedded in the core of the system, freeing up resources for designers to experiment with new ways to improve the experience.

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Published at Thu, 27 May 2021 19:45:00 +0000