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How To Work Out GPU Power Limit For A Laptop

Two laptops with the same graphics inside may not perform the same. Performance will vary based on the power limit of the GPU.

Unfortunately, in most cases the power limit is not specified on the spec sheet, so how can you find out? Let’s take a look at how you can easily check this with your own laptop, and what you can do to find out for a laptop you aren’t able to test.

For a laptop you have access to

The process I use to determine the power limit the GPU actually runs at is to simply run a GPU workload and monitor the results – like so:

  • Download and run HWInfo
  • Run a consistent GPU load such as a game with high settings, I use the Unigine Heaven benchmark.
  • In HWInfo, scroll down to the GPU and check “GPU Power”, as highlighted below.

Hwinfo GPU Power Limit

In this case, my RTX 2070 Super laptop GPU runs at 115W, which is considered Max-P or full performance.

You don’t need to run your test for long, the example above was a 30 minute stress test and the average in the far right column was 114W. This will dip and rise at times, however the average is close to the expected 115W limit of the machine.

Other software like GPU-Z will show the power levels the GPU is running at too, the principle is the same, run a GPU load and monitor.

For a laptop you do not have access to

If the power limits are not specified by the vendor, your best bet is to check reviews. Good reviewers will note the power limits they observe as this is a key factor affecting performance. Failing that, you could ask the question to the vendor directly through support channels or who ever is selling the machine.

In an ideal world, all vendors would specify the power limit for the GPU, but unfortunately this is not yet the case. There has been some change in this area recently, hopefully we start to see more companies doing it as Nvidia continues to segment their GPU lineup.

4 Comments

    • Jarrod

      Anything below 80W I assume, given that is the maximum for 1660 Ti. It can vary based on the limits set by the vendor, which is part of the problem – just saying it’s Max-Q isn’t very helpful in this regard.

  • Ultra DMX

    Are max-q GPUs just tdp limited or have different specs that their Original counterparts? If they are tdp limited, Considering you have great cooling, can you remove the tdp limit?

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