A slower variant of the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 was discovered by Notebook check earlier this week. This slower MX150 has lowered core, boost and memory clocks in comparison to the original. However, neither NVIDIA nor the OEMs have informed the consumers of this slower variant.
Scratching the surface reveals that this second low performing variant seems to be designed for low power Ultrabooks and notebooks. With lower ceilings for both the clock speeds and the TDP, it’s like a MAX-Q version of the regular MX150.
Notebookcheck put their GPU-Z results side by side, only to find two different PCI IDs the standard having ‘1D10’ and the variant ‘1D12’. There is a difference of 36% between the default core clock speeds, 17% for memory frequency and 32% for core boost clock.
In the 3DMark tests there was a 30- 40% difference between the highest and the lowest performing versions of the MX150.
Further investigation on Anandtech’s part does reveal that this is well documented part from an OEM perspective. As per the official Ubuntu Certified hardware database, PCI ID ‘1D10’ is documented as the ‘GP108’ MX150 variant of the ThinkPad T480, while ‘1D12’ is recorded as the ‘GP108M’ variant of the ThinkPad T480s.
Here ‘GP108’ and ‘GP108M’ may not be NVIDIA’s own terminology, but the Ubuntu Certified process involves OEMs directly working with Canonical to test their hardware. This pretty much makes the fact clear that the OEMs are aware of this low performance MX150 variant.
Taking a look at the ThinkPad as an example, none of the product pages show any difference between the normal and the slower variants of the GeForce MX150. The different PCI IDs and certifications also point to fact that this a vendor-side variant unknown to the consumers.
NVIDIA GeForce MX150 : 10 W and 25 W Versions
In total, Notebook check noted the presence of the slower MX150 in the ZenBook UX331UN, ZenBook UX331UA, Mi Notebook Air 13.3, Envy 13, and IdeaPad 320s. And a cursory look at The PCI ID Repository also confirms the presence of two different variants with ‘1D10’ and ‘1D12’ as PCI IDs, and a GP108 Quadro variant used in the P500. Looking at the dates of these also reveals that this variant of the GeForce MX150 has been in use since the beginning of this year at the very least.
This lower performing MX150 seems to be ideal for lower power Ultrabooks where the battery-life and cooling put strict constraints on the clocks and the power draw for the various including the CPU, GPU and the memory. However, what’s unfortunate is that the customers haven’t been made aware of this variant, especially with a performance difference of 20% at the very least.
It might be wise to check for this variant before buying an ultrabook with a GeForce MX150. Unless you don’t play games or use 3D accelerated applications at all, this version will have a notable impact on various programs that you run in your daily use.