Nvidia 1070 vs 1080 Max-Q Review- Laptop Graphics

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Nvidia 1070 vs 1080 Max-Q Review- Laptop Graphics Comparison Benchmarks. We’re going to be benchmarking two laptops to compare the Nvidia 1070 against the newer 1080 with Max-Q design to see just how much better the newer card performs, and find out if it’s worth upgrading to.

First let’s discuss the other differences between these two laptops. The laptop with the 1070 has 16GB of DDR4 at 2,400MHz, while the laptop with the max-q 1080 has 24GB.

Although the difference is small, I’ve previously run benchmarks with different amounts of memory and found that in general additional memory can improve overall frames per second in games, however the increases seem to tail off after 16GB. Basically just be aware that a small percentage of the difference may be due to the difference in memory as we’re only testing at the 1080p resolution here, as that’s the display both laptops use.

Nvidia 1070 vs 1080 Max-Q Review
Nvidia 1070 vs 1080 Max-Q Review

Other than that both laptops have the same Intel 7700HQ quad core CPU and use an SSD for the primary hard drive which is running Windows 10 with all available updates applied. No manual overclocking was performed for any of these tests, and G-Sync and V-sync were disabled. The main difference here is of course that one laptop is running with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, while the newer laptop has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 with Max-q.

We can see straight away that the specs are a bit different, in particular the max-q 1080 has more cuda cores than the 1070, but it’s clocked slower to keep it cooler and quieter. With that in mind let’s take a look at our benchmarks and find out how each of these cards perform! We’ll cover both real world gaming benchmarks, as well as the results of some benchmarking tools.

In PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds we can see some interesting behaviour, where the 1070 is actually outperforming the max-q 1080 at the lower settings, however at medium settings or above the 1080 with max-q pulls out in front. This interesting behaviour was also observed in Rise of the Tomb raider, which is an automated benchmark and further supports the last result, which is great as PUBG is hard to benchmark consistently so I was concerned my results were just bad.

None of the other tests performed this way though, so I’m thinking it’s something to do with these specific games rather than a general trend. Again only at the higher settings does the max-q 1080 take the lead, with DirectX 12 giving a slight edge over DirectX 11 in most cases. Watchdogs 2 saw a nice little boost with the max-q 1080, even at ultra settings we were able to hit the 60 FPS sweet spot, however with that said I still found the game completely playable at ultra settings with the 1070.

Shadow of Mordor was almost hitting 120 FPS and above in all tests, quite impressive, only that ultra result from the 1070 let it down. Either of these graphics cards are pretty much overkill for this game unless you’ve got a display with fast refresh rate. DOOM is another game where the differences aren’t that great, the results are all fairly close together. Regardless of the settings, both the 1070 and max-q 1080 consistently gave me over 100 FPS.

In Ghost Recon there was a larger difference between the two graphics cards at the lower settings, then it seems to come much closer together at very high and ultra. This game loves CPU power, and at the higher settings we were starting to become bottlenecked, resulting in the little difference between the 1070 and max-q 1080. The Witcher 3 follows a similar pattern, where we can see the larger gap between the two at the lower settings. In either case even at maximum settings both options do well above 60 FPS which should be fine for most people in this game. Ashes of the singularity performed fairly similarly between low and extreme settings, only when we step into crazy territory do things start to degrade more noticeably. Additionally, in most cases DirectX 12 gives a nice little boost over DirectX 11.

Now onto the benchmarking tools, while a useful indicator note that these results are less practical compared to the real world gaming tests previously shown. In Heaven benchmark there’s a much larger difference in the frame rate at the lower settings compared to the higher settings, whereas in Valley benchmark all of the results are about the same apart regardless of setting level used. With the 3DMark Time Spy and Firestrike benchmarks there’s much less of a gap between the two, this is most likely due to the fact that these are synthetic tests where performance scales much better when compared with actual games.

As expected the 1080 with Max-Q came out on top in most tests, performing 10.15% better on average compared to the 1070. I was surprised that the 1070 performed better for some of the games at lower settings compared to the Max-Q 1080, I’m thinking that those games prefer a higher clocked card rather than more cuda cores at lower settings. So is it worth upgrading to the Max-Q 1080 if you already have a laptop with a 1070? Definitely not, based on these results that really doesn’t seem worthwhile, you’ll only be looking at a small improvement overall and it’s an expensive upgrade as in most cases you’d probably be replacing the entire laptop. If on the other hand you’re considering buying a new laptop with either of these cards, then it depends on what you’re after.

Both of these are generally overkill for 1080p 60Hz gaming, however at 120Hz or perhaps larger resolutions both start to make more sense, it depends on the games that you’ll be playing, as we’ve seen the FPS can differ quite a lot. Basically if you can afford a laptop with the max-q 1080, want something powerful that will use a little less power than a full 1080 while being quieter, then go for it, but in most cases I think the generally cheaper 1070 is more than up to the job for most games, and it’s what I’d personally pick out of the two.

The 1080 with Max-Q should use less power and produce less noise, however as both of the laptops I’ve tested are completely different it wouldn’t really be a fair comparison here, I’d need two laptops of the same brand and model to do that justice. Regardless, I’m sure people will want to know what I got, so keeping in mind that these results are basically useless as both laptops were from completely different companies with different cooling designs, these are the results. We can see that the max-q 1080 actually ran a little hotter than the 1070, however it was also much quieter, which is one of its selling points.

I hope that this review has shown you the real world differences in performance between the Nvidia 1070 and Max-Q 1080 laptop graphics cards, and helped you choose between them.

Let me know down in the comments which graphics card you’ll be getting in your next laptop and why, and leave a share on the post if you found the information useful. 

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