Integrated graphics are getting better and better, but if you really want to game on your laptop, ain't nothing gonna beat discrete. Nvidia's new line of GTX mobile cards are about as good as it gets, and they're not just bringing performance upgrades, but better battery life as well.
Nvidia's new GTX outing is a family of four, with the new Kepler-based 880M and the 870M filling out the top half and the Maxwell repping 860M and 850M on the bottom.
The lower end gets the bigger boost in power over last year's 700M models, with the switch to Maxwell offering 60 and 50 percent improvement on the 860M and 850M respectively. The 870M and 880M improvements are a little more modest at 30 and 15 percent. But that's enough to run games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Metro: Last Light at 1080p on Ultra.
But all four cards offer more than just graphical improvements. The new GTX line finally brings everything Nvidia's Geforce Experience has to offer to laptops. The automatic settings customization has been there from the start, but with the new GTX cards, you'll be able to use Nvidia's "Shadowplay" game DVR features from your laptop too for recording or streaming on the go.
And last but not least, the new mobile line is folding something called Battery Boost into the Geforce Experience, which lets you pick alternate (less intense) visual settings for all your favorite games that will automatically be put in place the second you unplug your rig. You could always do that yourself, sure, but auto is easier. The result? Nvidia claims that if you dumb your settings low enough, you can effectively double battery power, but it's your call on how low you want to go.
The new line is rolling out in a number of laptops already, including Razer's sweet little 2014 Blade, which sports a 870M. And more are on the horizon. So if you're into gaming in planes, trains, and automobiles, you've got a new option for your eye-candy and maybe it won't even burn through your battery before you can even beat a level.