Buying an RTX 4080 laptop or higher will set your money on fire – here’s why
The launch of Nvidia’s 40-series GPUs was unique. It is directly due to a semiconductor shortage along with production issues from COVID-19, crypto miners and scalpers. These circumstances made the lifespan of Nvidia’s 30 series an absolute nightmare. No graphics card was safe, as a number of old GPUs found it just as difficult to buy new ones.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was priced at $799.99 at launch, but has often sold for over $1,500 on sites like eBay and StockX. Even well-known suppliers like NewEgg and Amazon reflected this price increase from retailers, even if the GPU was completely new.
The direct result of this hectic era is Nvidia’s 40-series, a grossly overpriced set of GPUs that have shifted the landscape into what’s considered “affordable.” The move from the $800 MSRP of the RTX 3080 to the $1,200 MSRP of the RTX 4080 has left many gamers in an awkward position with a tough question: Is it worth buying a 40-series GPU?
Reply Laptop Mag: Not really. This is similarly reflected in the gaming laptop industry, with systems like this Asus ROG Strix Scar 17 And Razer Blade 16 available for anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 dollars. While their respective performances are undeniably incredible, for most it’s hard to justify. But there is one exception.
Enter the RTX 4070. Its desktop GPU model is available for $599, which is only $100 more than the 3070’s introductory price of $499. Many RTX 4070 laptops are available for under $2,000 without sacrificing great performance. Yes, the performance of the RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 is phenomenal for 2K or 4K gaming, but if high resolutions aren’t your thing, there’s no reason to spend that much money.
RTX 4070 vs RTX 4080 vs RTX 4090 laptops
We tested three RTX 4070 laptops available for under $2,000: The MSI Katana 15, Asus ROG Strix G16 And Origin EON16-S. We also tested two RTX 4080 laptops, both priced at $3,000: The MSI Raider GE78HX And Asus ROG Strix Scar 16. Some comparisons also include RTX 4090 hardware like that Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 And MSI Titan GT77 HXwhich are available for around $4,000 to $5,000.
While the performance of the latter systems is undeniably superior, we want to convince you that the improvement isn’t enough to be worth an extra thousand dollars or more to most consumers.
In our Shadow of the Tomb Raider test at 1080p, the Katana 15 (113 frames per second), Strix G16 (116 fps), and EON16-S (115 fps) all maintained frame rates in the triple digits. Strix Scar 16 (181 fps) and Raider GE78 (177 fps) maintained an undeniably higher frame rate, but the difference isn’t noticeable for most.
The Borderlands 3 test was similar at 1080p, with the RTX 4070 laptops EON16-S (102 fps) and Katana 15 (99 fps) staying close to triple digits. While the Raider GE78’s RTX 4080 (153 fps) and Strix Scar 18’s RTX 4090 (165 fps) deliver incredible results, we can’t imagine them being worth thousands of dollars more.
In our Red Dead Redemption 2 tests, the Asus ROG Strix Scar 18’s RTX 4090 managed a staggering 123 fps on medium settings. That’s great performance, but the RTX 4070 in the EON16-S hitting 75 fps is smooth enough that many won’t notice the difference. The same applies to Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, with the EON16-S and Katana 15 achieving 106 fps. The Scar 18’s RTX 4090 reached up to 154 fps in the same test.
The desire for more performance is understandable in some games like Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition on Extreme graphics settings. While the EON16-S managed an admirable 48 frames per second, the Titan GT77 almost doubled that at 90 fps. This is the only test where our RTX 4070s dropped below the 60 fps threshold.
High definition gaming is the exception
If you’re dying to get into high-resolution gaming with a 2K or 4K display, then we recommend purchasing an RTX 4080 or RTX 4090. Comparing 1080p to 2K resolution on the EON16-S, games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla ( 106 fps vs. 71 fps), Borderlands 3 (101 fps vs. 65 fps), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (114 fps vs. 66 fps) and Far Cry 6 (100 fps vs. 72 fps) could still exceed 60 fps remain, but the drop in performance is remarkable.
Other games like Grand Theft Auto V (98 fps vs. 54 fps) and Red Dead Redemption 2 (75 fps vs. 44 fps) suffered from this drop in performance, falling below the 60 fps threshold. On the same Grand Theft Auto V test, something like the Strix Scar 16’s RTX 4080 (147 fps vs. 113 fps) and the Strix Scar 18’s RTX 4090 (152 fps vs. 132 fps) didn’t get nearly as low.
If you game at 2K resolution or want to play some of the most demanding games with full ray tracing at maximum graphics settings, it’s understandable why you’d want an RTX 4080 or 4090 GPU. It may also be worth it going forward as more demanding games come out, but even then it’s difficult to justify going up to $4,000 on this hardware.
Most gamers will not notice the difference between 120 FPS and 180 FPS in modern 1080p resolution games. While this increase in performance is sometimes convenient, do you wonder if somewhere between an additional $1,000 and $2,000 is worth such noticeable metrics. If you don’t have a lot of cash to spare, the answer should be a resounding no: stick with the RTX 4070s.
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