NVIDIA Whisper Mode fixes a decades old issue with gaming laptops

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Nvidia Whisper Mode aims to make gaming laptops more tolerable for hardcore gaming, but is it effective?

My first experience with PC gaming came with a Lenovo IdeaPad from 2010. This budget laptop was given to me with the expectation it would be used for schoolwork. In reality, most of its usage came from modding The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While Skyrim performed pretty well on the laptop, it caused one side effect: a deafening amount of noise from the fan.

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One of the major drawbacks of gaming laptops has always been the cooling. With components packed into a small area, placed on a desk with very little airflow, fans need to work overtime to keep the machine running at the necessary speed. With this comes the jet engine-like noises that PlayStation 4 owners will also know all too well.

However, NVIDIA’s line of GeForce RTX 30 Series laptop and the Max-Q technology has mitigated this effect with its Whisper Mode feature. Here’s how it works:

Whisper Mode

NVIDIA’s Whisper Mode 2.0 is integrated within the laptop itself, using its AI network to analyse what your laptop does to fine tune your cooling system. By selecting one of three particular acoustic profiles of Quiet, Quieter, and Performance, you can opt for a variety of different trade-offs for sound versus performance.

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When it came to my experience with the Whisper Mode, the improvements were evident nearly from the start. As I downloaded Controlonto the laptop, I could hear the fans running in overtime, and began fearing the worst. However, after I fiddled around and switched on Whisper Mode 2.0, the sound was drastically reduced while playing Control – a pretty demanding game that still looked damn impressive.

Control
A powerful laptop was able to get the most out of Control's stunning visuals.

This meant that when I booted up my laptop on the train, and in my university library for a quick gaming session, I was less worried about the sound the laptop would make to run these demanding games. With Whisper Mode enabled, you get the best of the gaming PC technology, albeit as a portable device (that you can, of course, also plug into a monitor).

For those wondering whether the quieter fans mean less cooling, and a hotter laptop, this isn’t the case at all. The trade-off instead comes in capping performance, further enhanced through the AI network.

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Whisper Mode does come with a slight warning, however. As NVIDIA has integrated this at the system levels, the end results really depend on the components of your PC or laptop.

Of course, this isn’t all the GeForce RTX 30 Series Laptops can do.

READ MORE: Rocket League mouse and keyboard isn’t the abomination you think it is

Max-Q features

The latest line also introduces the new Resizable BAR that allows the CPU to access more of the GPU’s frame buffer. What this means is that you will see a huge boost in game performance from a more efficient usage of power. This may make up for that performance trade-off with Whisper Mode.

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The new Dynamic Boost feature then further enhances this performance. This upgrade uses AI to analyse the laptop on a frame-by-frame basis to work out the best use, meaning that if certain programs need more of the CPU or GPU, the power can be transferred between the two, based on this AI system.

And of course, this is does include an NVIDIA RTX 30 Series GPU, meaning it features DLSS. DLSS – or Deep Learning Super Sampling – is a technology that delivers an improved resolution at a natively lower resolution, allowing for a higher frame rate without taxing the GPU too much. When you put together all these Max-Q features, it’s hard to see why you’d even buy a gaming PC.

These Ampere-based laptops have managed to fix some huge problems gaming laptops often face, all while including a powerful GPU that is faster than any previous generation GPUs, for a price starting at £999.

NVIDIA RTX 3060 Laptop provided for review.

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READ MORE: How Much Does a Good Gaming PC Cost?