Regular, gaming, and professional
For the last few years, NVIDIA has offered three lineups of cards for notebooks. The regular, less powerful ones have GF (or sometimes GT) in their names. Gaming laptops come equipped with specialized cards from the GTX and RTX series. The third option are the NVIDIA Quadro cards, intended for professional use (CAD/CAM).
GTX 1650, RTX 2020… what does it all mean?
Exactly like in the case of Intel's processors, the first digit represents the generation of the chipset the whole thing is based on. For example the GeForce MX130 and the GTX 1080 Max-Q both debuted in 2017. Entry-level cards such as the Ge Force MX250 and the MX230 were released in 2019, while the MX350 and the MX330 got released in 2020 and perform better than the old ones. Most recent gaming cards have GTX 16xx and RTX 20xx in their names.
Now, when you're looking for a new laptop, you'll know that, in practice, the higher the first digit in the card's name, the newer it is (except for the turning-this-logic-on-its-head MX series from 2017: MX110, 120, 130.) Remember though, that it doesn't automatically mean your newer GPU is going to be better than the old one. The GTX 980 fares better in tests than the GTX 1060. If performance is what you're looking for, because you want a gaming computer, be sure to check how the card you're considering ranks. You can also find info on each of their laptop GPU series on NVIDIA's page here.
Card names in a nutshell
- GF – standard graphics cards,
- GTX, RTX – gaming cards,
- GTX 10xx, 16xx, RTX 2xxx – the numbers tell us which generation of the GPU we're getting (from the oldest to the newest.)
- Max-Q – a family of cards characterized by their slightly worse performance (around 10%), which can be used to build thinner and quieter gaming computers. For example a GTS 1060 Max-Q card ranks somewhere between the 1050 Ti, and the GTX 1060.
- SLI – Scalable Link Interface - two cards linked together to form one super-card.
- Ti – a slightly more efficient card than without the "Ti" in the name.