Nvidia’s new ray tracing-enabled RTX series of graphics cards is very impressive when it comes to performance and they are available for laptops as well. If you are interested in getting a laptop powered by such a high-end GPU as the RTX 2070 – but also want a relatively thin-and-light design – then you should be looking at models with the RTX 2070 Max-Q.
The latest Max-Q design graphics cards for laptops allow these high-end devices to be slimmer than ever before. The performance is lower compared to the desktop variants, but they are much more efficient, resulting in lower temps and power requirements, and so they’re more suited to a slim laptop chassis. And an RTX 2070 Max-Q is still faster than, for example, the laptop GTX 1660 Ti, but come with all the RTX ray-tracing goodness. If that is something that you are looking for then read on.
Top-Rated Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q Gaming Laptops
The following are the laptops that we are going to look into based on their current popularity and review scores. Here are some of their basic specifications at a glance:
|Legion Y740-15||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i5-8300H|
|15.6″ FHD IPS 144Hz||2.2 kg / 5.1 lbs|
|Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i7-8750H||17.3″ FHD IPS 144Hz||2.7 kg / 5.95 lbs|
|Alienware m15||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i7-8750H|
|15.6″ FHD IPS 144Hz|
15.6″ UHD HDR400
|2.1 kg / 4.78 lbs|
|Dell G7 15 7590||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i5-8300H|
|15.6″ FHD IPS 60Hz|
15.6″ UHD OLED 60Hz
|2.6 kg / 5.5 lbs|
|MSI GS65 Stealth||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i7-8750H||15.6″ FHD IPS 144Hz||1.9 kg / 4.19 lbs|
|Gigabyte Aero 15-X9||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i7-8750H|
|15.6″ FHD IPS 144Hz|
15.6″ UHD IPS 60Hz
|2.0 kg / 4.41 lbs|
|Razer Blade 15 2019||RTX 2070 8 GB GDDR6 Max-Q||Core i7-8750H||15.6″ FHD IPS 144Hz|
15.6″ UHD IPS 60 Hz
|2.07 kg / 4.63 lbs|
Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 – nvidia rtx 2070 max q
The Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 is a beautiful machine. It’s thin and while it might not be the lightest laptop on our list, it does have the biggest screen. A 17.3 FHD IPS 144 Hz display – inserted into what would clearly have been a 15-inch form factor a couple of years ago – is great to game on a provides a lot of space for productivity as well. The laptop is only 18.7mm thick, which is very impressive keeping in mind that kind of hardware that is packed inside.
Asus ROG lineup is known for premium gaming products and the Zephyrus is certainly no exception. The keyboard is moved to the front so that the graphics card can get maximum airflow. The bottom part of the chassis opens when you open the laptop in order to provide even more cooling to the graphics card. This appears to be reflected in the benchmarks we’ve seen, as it throttles less than similar competitors. It’s simply a very well-designed laptop albeit a premium and rather an expensive one too. Of course, if you are a fan of the more traditional laptop design then this might not be the best option for you.
The RTX 2070 Max-Q (or RTX 2080 Max-Q) is paired with the new Intel Core i7-9750H hexa-core processor, so not only will you be able to run pretty much any game, you will be able to do some video editing and to run other CPU-intensive applications as well.
Other than that, the laptop comes with 16GB of DDR4 RAM that runs at 2666MHz. For storage, you have a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD. This is a thin and light gaming laptop, so it is very expensive. Another drawback that you should keep in mind is that it does not have a LAN port and that the battery is not ideal, especially when gaming
Razer Blade 15 2019 (Advanced) – rtx 2070 max q vs rtx 2080 max q
If you prefer a more conventional – but decidedly still premium – laptop design, the compact and powerful 15-inch Razer Blade might be more to your liking. To be able to equip it with an RTX 2070 Max-Q you have to choose the Advanced model, which is actually thinner than the somewhat less sophisticated Base model.
There aren’t that many ways to customize the laptop, but you do get to choose between three different displays: 144Hz 1080p, 240Hz 1080p or a 4K Touch panel. Razer also offers a 4K OLED panel, but only in combination with a 2080 Max-Q. Additionally, you can get it in black or Mercury White, and in some cases add extra storage up to 512 GB.
Unless an ultra-high refresh rate is really important to you, the entry-level 1080p 144Hz display seems like the best option in this case. There’s a big difference when moving from 60Hz to 144Hz, but going from 144Hz to 240Hz is hardly ever worth the extra money. Far from everyone will even be able to perceive the 240Hz difference and more importantly: not even the powerful RTX 2070 Max-Q will hardly ever come close to 240 FPS in recent games.
All of the configurations ship with 16 GB of RAM and, since we are talking about the Advanced model, you also get a per-key RGB backlit Chroma keyboard. One downside of the Razer Blade 15 Advanced models is that, because it’s thinner, there is no room for a roomy hard drive or SSD in the conventional 2.5″ form factor.
Alienware m15 – cheap gaming laptop with nvidia
The latest Alienware m15 comes with new CPUs from Intel and you can now configure the notebook with the new Nvidia RTX-series graphics cards. Not only can you choose the RTX 2070 Max-Q but you also have the option to configure the laptop with the RTX 2060 or 2080 Max-Q.
Actually, there’s a boatload of customization options that you can check out at the official site. You can choose between Silver and Red and there are multiple options when it comes to the display. You can go with an ultra-fast 240Hz refresh rate at 1080p or you can opt to go with a 4K display instead for perfect clarity. There are plenty of choices.
Sticking to the 1080p display is likely the safest bet here, as the 15.6″ panel is on the small side to let you appreciate the visual fidelity that 4K has to offer. 2160p resolution is also extremely taxing on the GPU, although the 2070 Max-Q will usually be up to the task. You will only be able to take advantage of the higher refresh rates if you go with the 1080p panel, however.
16 GB of RAM is standard with the RTX 2070 model but you can pay more to double that. The laptop comes with a 1TB SSHD (hybrid hard drive) but, again, you can upgrade to all-SSD storage including dual M.2 PCIe drives. Additionally, any config with the 2070 GPU will be high enough to maintain 90 FPS in VR, which is great if you own a VR headset and are looking for a really portable solution for VR gaming.
MSI GS65 Stealth – nvidia max-q laptops
MSI’s GS65 Stealth Thin is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a thin and light device and happens to be the lightest of the bunch. MSI has been in the gaming space for a long time now, so if you pick up this device, you can rest assured that you are getting a laptop from a company that knows what it is doing.
The MSI GS65 Stealth is thinner and lighter than most of its competitors and it comes with the same hardware inside. So you are getting a portable device that has all the power that you need. The GS65 is also equipped with a great keyboard with individually RGB-lit keys and a similarly excellent trackpad according to many who’ve tried it. Often we see companies neglect the keyboard and trackpad when trying to make devices thinner but that is not an issue with this laptop.
You get plenty of ports but unfortunately, there is no SD card reader. You will have to use a dongle for that. If you do not use SD cards then this is not going to be an issue for you. The GS65 comes with a 144 Hz IPS screen and all the hardware to back it up. Getting non-demanding titles such as Overwatch or Apex Legends to run at 144 FPS/1080p should be no problem whatsoever with this laptop and an RTX 2070 Max-Q. In the latest, mid-2019 models of the GS65, there’s also an option for 244 Hz displays.
Keeping in mind how thin and light this laptop is – and the kind of hardware that is crammed inside – you would expect it to be very expensive indeed. While it is expensive indeed, it’s still competitively priced.
Something that you need to keep in mind if you are interested in getting this laptop is that the screen is apparently not all that bright. The default fan curves are not great either but that is something that you can tweak on your own and does not take long. According to testers, the laptop does get a bit noisy when gaming and because of the thin design the options to upgrade are very limited. These are some of the things that you keep in mind if you are interested in getting the MSI GS65.
Best Value: Lenovo Legion Y740-15 – thin and light gaming laptops
The Legion Y740-15 might not be the slimmest laptop on the market right now but keeping in mind the kind of hardware that is crammed inside, I would say that it is fairly compact. It is styled very well too. While there is a bit of a chin, the bezels are pretty small. While that is a major plus point, it does mean that the camera is now under the screen. This can be annoying for some people but if you do not use the camera on your laptop much then this is not going to be a major issue.
The design of the Legion is sophisticated and not all that flashy. You could even take this one to work without getting much attention. But while it’s subtle from the outside, it packs all the power that you need for gaming on the inside. You get 16GB of RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and a 1TB HDD (depending on configuration). This will ensure fast boot times and a place for all your files. There are additional storage configurations where you can opt to go with a larger SSD.
Something worth mentioning is that the 15-inch model of the Legion is much more manageable compared to the larger 17-inch version. It’s obviously smaller and lighter, but the bezels on the screen are also much smaller. With the RTX 2070 Max-Q and the Core i7-8750H, you should be able to play pretty much any game. You can also do some productive tasks like video editing as well.
If you are looking for something with a subtle design, but packs all the power that you need for gaming on the go, then the Legion Y740-15 is an option that we highly recommend. We also recommend it based on the excellent value on offer here. It’s a well-designed machine with high-end hardware, but you can usually find it at a very attractive price point compared to most of the competition.
Gigabyte Aero 15-X9 – gaming laptop with best thermals
The Gigabyte Aero 15-X9 is another beautiful machine and is next on our list of the best RTX 2070 Max-Q machines. While there’s a bit of a chin at the bottom of the display, there are almost no bezels on the sides. This might not be the thinnest 2070-equipped gaming laptop on the market right now but it certainly among the thinner and lighter. Gigabyte has fortunately still made room for good connectivity and ports, as you get a lot of options in this department.
In spite of the compact form factor, there is a lot of hardware inside the Gigabyte Aero 15-X9. You not only get an RTX 2070 Max-Q graphics card but also a choice of some of the fastest Intel CPUs, all the way up to the Core i9-9980HK. Additionally, it’s available with 4K panels. In terms of gaming, the laptop is able to run pretty much any game that you throw at it.
A potential drawback is that the camera is at the bottom and the view is not ideal for conference calls. This is an issue with all laptops that have too narrow bezels to place the camera at the proper angle.
One of the major selling points of the laptop is AI. When you are playing a game the AI will optimize the graphics card. If you are rendering a video, the laptop is going to optimize the CPU accordingly. When working on a Word document, the AI will optimize resources accordingly. This does not improve performance but might at least be is a fun feature.
Dell G7 15 – nvidia max-q laptops
The Dell G7 15 might not be the slimmest gaming laptop on the market but you can configure it with an RTX 2070 Max-Q, meaning that you’re not missing out on any performance. Although Dell hasn’t used its Alienware brand on this model, it’s a very competent gaming laptop that you can buy right now – and it’s competitively priced compared to other laptops on this list.
The G7 15’s price/performance ratio is arguably best a few steps up from the entry-level configuration. And there are plenty of configurations to choose from, ranging from a low-end GTX 1650/Core i5 combination all the way up to an RTX 2080 Max-Q/Core i7. All high-end configs ship with 16GB of DDR4 RAM that runs at 2666MHz. At that level, you also get a 256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe and a 1TB HDD as a bare minimum, but you can get a larger SSD if you are willing to pay for it.
In its higher-end configurations, the Dell G7 15 comes with a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 144Hz display as standard, but it can be upgraded to a 240 Hz FHD or a 4K panel. Communication is handled by a Killer Wireless 1550 2×2 AC with Bluetooth 5.0. The standard model does not come with a fingerprint reader but you can add one in the online configurator.
Dell has previously used the Alienware brand for premium gaming laptops but has apparently shifted the focus somewhat in recent years. Dell-branded gaming laptops have improved drastically in terms of performance over the past couple of years and this one is a great example. The Dell G7 15 offers great value for money in the upper mid-range configurations.
Nvidia RTX 2070 Max-Q – Relative Performance
As we’ve already mentioned, the Max-Q design GPUs are (much) more power-efficient versions of their desktop counterparts. They run cooler and draw less power, but for the same reasons, they don’t offer equivalent performance. To get the best possible performance out of the GPU within the right power envelope, Nvidia has tuned down the clock speeds and optimized some other aspects of the card. The numbers in the diagram below are based on averages from the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark, from a range of runs on different systems using the respective cards.
Actual performance will differ between laptops, depending on cooling capacity and other factors. Nevertheless, the above will give you an indication of what to expect from the RTX 2070 Max-Q compared to other cards.
There’s also a non-Max-Q laptop version of the RTX 2070, which is faster but less power efficient. Due to the latter issue, it’s not used in many gaming laptops today except for some large desktop replacements such as the MSI Titan.
Now we have looked at some of the best laptops on the market in 2019 that are powered by the RTX 2070 Max-Q. The graphics card is the same in all these laptops and the CPUs are similar as well (if not identical). So you need to pick the design that fits your preferences. There are some designs that are very different, like the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701 but then there are laptops like the Dell G7 15 that have a more traditional take on the gaming laptop format.
If you are looking for the best value for money then the Lenovo Legion Y740-15 or Dell’s G7 15 are likely your best options. If you want a slimmer laptop that has a different design and all the bells and whistles then you should go with the Asus ROG Zephyrus S GX701. Remember that the major components inside – most importantly the RTX 2070 Max-Q – are often the same so you will get similar performance in games no matter which one of these gaming notebooks you choose.