6 laptops that we would love to get the Pascal treatment

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Introduction

Laptops

If you’ve waited for a while to upgrade your gaming laptop, then congratulations – you’ve made a savvy decision. Nvidia has lifted the lid on its GTX 10-Series notebook GPUs, which promise to make your next system faster, longer-lasting and slicker than what has gone before. Oh, and more expensive.

If you’re anything like us, you might be inclined to wait a little longer before parting with a significant portion of your hard-earned. We’ve clapped eyes on the new fleet of Pascal-powered pixel pushers, and all 10 ran their gaming demos smooth as butter at Nvidia’s demo conference. But what if you have your heart set on an existing model getting a Pascal boost?

We’ve picked out six existing laptops that we would love to see receiving an upgrade to Nvidia’s latest graphics architecture. Click (or tap) on ahead to see if you’d fancy them too.

1. Dell XPS 15

Laptops

  • Size: 15-inch
  • Review score: 4

Gaming on Dell’s compact 15-incher was a bit like driving a Ferrari with a Morris Minor engine in it. The XPS 15 has one of, if not the best, laptop displays we’ve ever seen. It’s a shame then, that the GTX 960M inside could rarely handle games at resolutions higher than 1080p – let alone the machine’s native 4K resolution; even then, titles such as The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 would frequently buckle under the strain of only having 2GB of video memory onboard. If Dell slipped a GTX 1060 into the XPS 15, we can’t think of a more alluring 15-inch gaming notebook. Well, apart from one with a 1070 or 1080 in it anyway – but thermal constraints mean that might be too much of an ask.

2. Razer Blade

Razer Blade Pascal

Hang on a minute… this already exists. And holy moly, is it cute as an RGB-backlit button. In terms of dimensions, the new Pascal-powered Razer Blade is the same as what’s gone before. However, that makes it look positively anorexic compared to other GTX 10-Series debutantes. Razer has outfitted it with a GTX 1060 – an unsurprising choice considering its svelte chassis. The Blade has a 3K display, so you should be able to max-out just about any game running on the GPU. It’s all about the ‘three Ps’ with this one: portability, performance, and, of course, price. You’d better start saving, pronto.

3. Aorus X3 Plus v5

Laptops

We’ve always been fan of the smaller gaming laptops in Aorus’ arsenal. Yes, their fans tend to get a bit overexcited now and then, but we’ve always considered that whirring hum a fair trade-off when you consider just how compact models like the X3 Plus v5 are – those side bezels are almost slim enough to give the XPS 13’s InfinityEdge display a run for its money. So Aorus, if you’re listening, ditch the glass trackpad that feels like traversing an ice rink with melons strapped to both feet, swap the 970M for a GTX 1070 and tame those fans. We might just be tempted to buy one over the new Razer Blade.

4. Microsoft Surface Book

Laptops

  • Size: 13-inch
  • Review score: 4.5

So, let’s talk about that gaming Surface Book. Ever since Microsoft’s convertible landed on our desk last year, we’ve fantasized over the possibility of swappable keyboard bases housing gaming GPUs. A little ambitious, perhaps, but Pascal’s arrival would make now as good time as any to resurrect the idea. We like the sound of using the standard keyboard dock with no dedicated GPU while on the road to eke out maximum battery life, alongside a GTX 1060-powered alternative base that could be whipped out for an impromptu gaming session.

5. Alienware 13

Laptops

  • Size: 13-inch
  • Review score: 3

Alienware surprised most of us when it slapped a gorgeous OLED display on a limited-edition version of its Alienware 13 gaming laptop. Unfortunately, the system only came with a GTX 960M inside, and its battery life was weak sauce. Pascal could immediately rectify those two areas to give birth to a slick-looking and longer-lasting gaming laptop, one that could hook up to Alienware’s Amplifier (an external GPU enclosure) for even more juice. Because you might have a spare GTX 1070 lying around, or something.

6. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina


Laptops

Do not adjust your browser – you read the above correctly. Considering the power consumption and energy efficiency improvements Nvidia claims to have made with Pascal, especially compared to its previous-gen Maxwell architecture, we’re salivating over the prospect of Apple swinging back to the green team for its laptops’ graphics. It’s highly unlikely to happen, mind – Apple hasn’t used an Nvidia graphics part in its MacBooks since the mid-2014 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina, which came with a GeForce GT750M. Still, we can dream. Come on, Tim!

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