Nvidia is getting a new line of GeForce-powered laptops, aiming for both casual and hardcore players. Starting today, you can order notebooks that feature the company’s GTX 1660 Ti graphics processing unit (GPU) or the new and cheaper GTX 1650 GPU.
Prices begin at $799 for laptops with the 1650 and $999 for laptops with the more powerful 1660 Ti. You’ll also be able to purchase the 1650 separately for desktop PCs starting at $149, putting it at the lower end of Nvidia’s range of GeForce cards. Both GPUs use Nvidia’s Turing chip architecture, a big step up in performance from the previous Pascal-based cards.
“[They’re] great prices that are finally bringing Turing to a much more affordable laptop [configuration] than what was possible before,” said Mark Aevermann, director of product management for GeForce notebooks at Nvidia.
Nvidia and its manufacturing partners are targeting people who bought gaming laptops four or more years ago. According to Aevermann, 75% of the GeForce laptop install base have either a GTX 960M (which Nvidia introduced four years ago) or a weaker card. The 1660 Ti will perform up to four times better than the 960M, and it’ll also run popular battle royale games like Fortnite and Apex Legends at 100 frames-per-second.
Notebooks with the 1650, meanwhile, can run those games at 60 fps and offer up to 2.5 times the performances versus a GTX 950M. Both 16-series GPUs take advantage of Turing’s rendering and shading enhancements. But because Nvidia priced them to be more affordable, they don’t support ray tracing (a new kind of tech for depicting realistic lighting and shadows in games) like the more expensive RTX cards.
If you want VR, go for the 1660 Ti
While the 1650 is cheap and good enough for battle royale, it won’t run virtual reality games very well. When I asked Aevermann about what VR performance is like on the 16-series GPUs, he recommended that people should stick with the 1660 Ti or higher.
“1650 is not VR ready. That’s really a performance statement — there’s nothing fundamentally blocking the GPU from playing content or anything like that. Maybe some lower-end or middle-end VR content will run just fine on the 1650,” he said. “But for how we guide gamers, 1660 Ti and above is really the minimum GPU [if] you want to play the latest VR content at high framerates without any kind of stuttering.”