Up For Debate - Is Now The Best Time To Buy A Gaming Laptop

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Aug 21, 2016 6:14 PM

With the arrival of the Pascal-powered Nvidia mobile graphics cards, the gap between desktop and laptop performance has never been smaller. These are, in essence, the very same graphics cards, or at least Nvidia would have you believe that. In truth there are some minor differences, but the end result is a mobile GeForce GTX 1080 which performs within a few percentage points of a desktop GTX 1080.

For a long time laptop gamers have had to sacrifice much for portability. While the threat of an empty battery still looms heavy, and a laptop with a GTX 1070 will still probably break your back just carrying it, raw performance won’t be an issue.

Some of Nvidia’s partners are even managing to overclock these chips as well, with MSI pushing the GTX 1080 in its notebook all the way up to 2.06GHz. Similar achievements are also being made with the mobile GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 graphics cards.

For those looking at laptop gaming, the GPUs have never been better. If you bought a laptop with a mid/high-end graphics card in the last month, you’d best dig out that receipt because Nvidia has blown the GTX 900M series away.

My point being that I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to buy a gaming laptop. The latest 10-series toting monsters are already on store shelves, and with desktop-aping performance they potentially have lifespans for top-end gaming of 3-4 years. They may come at an eye-watering cost, but we’re looking at a long-term investment here.

So what do you think, does the arrival of Pascal mark the best ever time to buy a gaming laptop? Are you considering moving away from the traditional desktop tower? Let us know!

Is now the best time to buy a gaming laptop?

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14:19 Aug-23-2016

I think the laptops are great but getting the refreshed version next year will probably be a bit better or wait 3 years and get the next smaller gpu. That is always the question isn't it. "Should i by now or should i wait for the next revision"

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14:28 Aug-24-2016

Basically, Laptops are not for those guys who want to play every game at Ultra settings, even after 2 or 3 years, on the same rig by giving it continuous upgrades. Laptops are for people like me who are satisfied as far as games run without lag regardless of settings.

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14:37 Aug-24-2016

not anymore brother. The 1070 laptop is only 5% weaker than the desktop variant... and the 1070 will SMASH everything at ultra settings(1080p anyway)

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16:54 Aug-30-2016

But still, that CPU is nowhere near the 10-core 4GHz Desktop one.

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21:43 Aug-30-2016

Are you talking about a xeon processor? or 6 core 12 thread broadwell-E? Laptop i7s are strong then desktop i5s and are only about 10-15% weaker than their desktop variant...

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23:17 Aug-30-2016

My mobile i7-4900MQ is on par with an i7-4770 or i7-3770K. I have it OCed to a constant 4GHz on all 8 logical cores with Turbo Boost disabled (3.991GHz to be exact).

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23:48 Aug-30-2016

Exactly!... Gone are the times of laptops not being able to max games.

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10:45 Sep-08-2016

But if you compare Cost:Performance, it's very hard to match desktop.

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14:38 Aug-24-2016

Why do you say that? My laptop is 3 years old & I am still getting ultra to tweaked ultra settings on new games. Plus I can swap out to better GPUs or CPU if or when I want.

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14:45 Aug-24-2016

Alienware?

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14:48 Aug-24-2016

Yes

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16:44 Aug-24-2016

Though his generation is one of the last. I have an alienware laptop and the soldered the dang gpu and cpu into the board... sad day. and my 965m in my laptop can still play at least high settings on any game out there just not ultra.

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06:31 Aug-25-2016

I thought new AW have GPU amplifier[eGPU] ?

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14:15 Aug-25-2016

They do! I actually just sold my amplifier to buy a new keyboard, but that is kind of weird right? you ahve to pay 200 dollars more after you already pay 1500 for laptop so you can have better graphics.

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06:47 Aug-23-2016

I remember wanting to start out with gaming laptop back in 2009, but went into desktop a few years later instead. Also, I'm not familiar with laptop hardware at all :/ The only time I'll consider a gaming laptop is if my desktop ever breaks, keep it as a back-up until I can fix it. In the moment my rig is dead (HDD) luckily my brother lets me use his rig.

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00:48 Aug-23-2016

No because we still need to see the mobile versions of Polaris GPUs, and then we need to see the mobile versions of Kaby Lake & Zen CPUs. So right now is still just a little too soon. Plus with the announcement of PCIe 4.0 it would be better to wait for that & it's rumored power saving features for prolonged battery life. So maybe another 6 months to a year from now will be the prime time for a new laptop.

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14:35 Aug-24-2016

Man, i hope these new GPUs and CPUs from amd mean they can have ANY presence in the mobile gaming world because right now their showings are abysmal. Very good cost effect desktop cards but mobile is not their game. It seems like more of an after thought for them. hopefully with them getting more market share they will now be able to focus on their mobile cards more to maybe reduce the price of gaming laptops.

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14:46 Aug-24-2016

I am beginning to think that we will not see "mobile" from AMD at all. I think that AMD will go the same route as nVidia with full desktop hardware in new laptops. I even think that they will do the same with Zen CPUs.

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12:18 Aug-25-2016

I don't even consider kaby lake it's barely an improvement over skylake but zen could be promising to at least lower the costs of cpus and hell maybe they could even put those 8/16 cpus in a laptop.

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22:36 Aug-22-2016

Graphic is up for the task with some good liquid-coolingsystem. But I'm still waiting for the cpu to advance moore! Heard rumours that samsung is about to creat a cpu for phones with 4 cores with 3,8 GHz of power. Hopefully they meet!

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12:23 Aug-25-2016

Nope take it with a mountain of salt Samsung isn't a core producer ARM is and their cores can't reach that high.

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15:50 Aug-22-2016

Well....1100 euros just for a mediocre laptop so no,it's a really bad time to buy a gaming laptop

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23:50 Aug-22-2016

I'm terribly sorry you didn't understand what the article was about. It's about the introduction of pascal in gaming laptops which has significantly up the power on these machines. I had a 4720hq with a 980m and it cost me about 1600 dollars. In a single generation laptops with 980m's will be under par with the 1060 a laptop which is typically marked around 1200-1400 usd for me will be spanking the previous generations 1800-2200 range. It will be the time to buy.

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15:23 Aug-22-2016

I'd prefer a desktop, but because I'm heading to college soon, I needed a laptop and just can't work with two separate machines. I ordered the new GTX 1060-powered ASUS GL502, and a mini-ITX system with a GTX 1060, plus a new OS, monitor...

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15:26 Aug-22-2016

...keyboard, and mouse is only -$200 less than the laptop. A convenience fee, if you will, since I'll be getting more or less the same performance while beig able to take it anywhere. I don't mind the weight as I'm going to a small college.

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14:45 Aug-22-2016

I have been a laptop gamers since 2008 and just got a desktop 2 weeks ago and i have been converted. Desktop gaming for me from now on :D

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14:45 Aug-22-2016

Heck yeah!! I'm gonna go for Asus ROG G800VI (or any newest model with GTX 1080) probably in 2 or 3 months. Gonna go almost broke...

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13:25 Aug-22-2016

I'll never get a gaming laptop, mostly it's because due to lack of cooling and lack of customizations. Like if your motherboard breaks in a desktop, no problem because you can easily replace it, but with laptops... if your motherboard breaks, the options are limited and not worth it for the time and money spent.

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14:46 Aug-22-2016

omg what are u doing with ure systems that a motherboard may break :/

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14:52 Aug-22-2016

maybe crazy OC and pulling more power than the MOBO can handle? Perhaps a leaky liquid cooling system? Using electrically conductive thermal paste and accidentally getting some on the mobo and not realizing it, so you turn it on and it fries?

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15:21 Aug-22-2016

well to be fair anything can happen to a motherboard, maybe the power went out and the PSU somehow fried it, failed overclocks, or it just dies somehow without reason... anything can happen. But the fact is that desktop motherboards are a lot more accessible than laptop mobos...

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16:47 Aug-23-2016

Yeah but even a 100$ mobo have good protection these days so they won't that easily burn.
And yeah a laptop mother board have lots of problems burn the cpu and u need to change the whole thing.

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21:48 Aug-22-2016

I was using liquid metal (CLU) to paste my laptop CPU and GPUs. If your hands are not growing out your hind quarters - you won't spill anything on the mobo.

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12:41 Aug-22-2016

the only think i dislike in laptop is that i can't change cpu/gpu and that when i play games on my hand it gets hot. These are the only things i dislike. But overall i'm on laptop>desktop pc. Can you bring your desktop pc to the sea or mountain?

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12:25 Aug-22-2016

"I'm broke", no option??

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12:12 Aug-22-2016

few month ago i use laptop...but now i use desktop pc(first times i have own pc)...so, i prefer desktop pc :)

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11:35 Aug-22-2016

I Already have 3 laptops but i was thinking to get another laptop with gtx 1060 (I collect laptops).

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11:23 Aug-22-2016

For me as a student who is also crazy at gaming prefer a high spec laptop.
Reasons are cause i can take that laptop to lectures and here in my college, we often goes to lan party, mostly to play cs go and rise of nations


:)

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10:31 Aug-22-2016

In my vocabulary, there's no such thing as a "gaming laptop".

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13:07 Aug-22-2016

hahahhah

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13:32 Aug-22-2016

Better, Improve your vocabulary. xD.
10 Series is there on laptops.

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05:36 Aug-23-2016

mkay...

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10:06 Aug-22-2016

wll im im entering university after 2 years and i would need a Laptop .... well if its a a gaming one all the way better but also i must keep in mind a budget as gaming laptops are really expensive $900+ here

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10:29 Aug-22-2016

its much better to get a chromebook and get a desktop with a 700$ budget.

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10:38 Aug-22-2016

And walking all over a big university campus every day with a heavy laptop is not fun, trust me

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09:38 Aug-22-2016

I like the idea of laptops for portability purposes and smaller, sharper screens. Besides, better pixel density meaning aliasing would be less visible which is always good.


The main problem with laptops that still remains these days is price, especially of extreme gaming performance ones.


(Speaking from a technical rather than an emotional, opinionated point of view.)

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09:31 Aug-22-2016

seriously!! gaming laptops are pathetic . i would never play on a laptop even if it can max every game

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13:34 Aug-22-2016

What makes them pathetic?

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20:57 Aug-22-2016

performance/price , screen size(the need to get closer is bad for your eyes ) , controls (ofc you wont use a controller with a laptop that will be stupid and if you use a mouse you will not find a comfortable position )

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21:03 Aug-22-2016

heat, vulnerable to accidents ( imagine spilling a drink on a 1000£ laptop ) and more an more.......lol i can go all day.

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04:37 Aug-23-2016

Let's see...the price/performance ratio is of course going to be worse, for you are sacrificing paying more for the convenience of portability. Screen size? Most of the time you are using a laptop it isn't going to be more than arms reach away from you, and screen sizes on these gaming laptops are usually not very small.


For controls, I used to use a laptop for gaming, and had no issues finding a comfortable position for my mouse (and if someone is using the laptop for gaming while having it resting on their lap, for shame I say). Heat is never an issue for most, unless they try OC'ing a stock laptop. Most gaming laptops have a built-in fan that helps push all that extra heat out. One can also buy a laptop stand for better and more efficient cooling.


Vulnerable to accidents? So is a desktop computer (at least the keyboard). Using that scenario you suggested (spilling a drink on a 1000 euro laptop), why would someone not take care of something that costs that much? I'd be damned if I were to spend that much money on something and not take extra care to ensure its safety.


I too can go all day. :)

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09:34 Aug-23-2016

why caring about portability in gaming , thats just stupid . for me i have my gaming time when i go to my comfortable setup to enjoy a real gaming(or cinema) experience.

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09:48 Aug-23-2016

ps: i disagree with screen size of a laptop,its just not comparable to a good 27'' ips monitor or a nice 3d tv (yes i like 3d in gaming lol).unless you plug the hdmi output of your laptop to a monitor/tv,but that will be even more $ wasting

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14:00 Aug-23-2016

There's a market for everyone. You may not need a laptop, but perhaps there is a gamer out there that does a lot of traveling for their job. Can't really lug around a beefy desktop computer everywhere you go, it'd be a pain in the booty.


Of course, you can't really put a 27" screen into a laptop, otherwise you would be sacrificing the portability aspect that can make laptop gaming so appealing.

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15:33 Aug-23-2016

well glad to know that they dont censor BOOTY lol!! anyway you are right, it still a good solution for some people and we cant argue about people's tastes because everyone has their likes and dislikes

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01:04 Aug-24-2016

I wasn't worried about anything being censored, just trying to keep things lighthearted. I just hope I've somewhat changed your mind as to why gaming laptops exist. They surely aren't pathetic. :)

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02:15 Aug-24-2016

I still love my laptop even now after 3 years of ownership. In fact I think that I like it even more now because it is all setup the way I like. I mean everything Leopard69 said was for the most part wrong except price to performance ratio. My laptop has an 18.5 inch IPS monitor, it has both HDMI in & out so when I am at home I can plug into my 47 inch 120Hz, 1080p, 1ms response time HDTV. Also when I have the laptop on the desk in front of me the 18.5 inch display actually looks bigger than the 47 inch that is across the room.

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02:19 Aug-24-2016

I also use a wireless Logitech G602 mouse, matching wireless Keyboard, a wireless Logitech F710 controller, & a Xbox 360 controller. Typically if I am at home I just lay in bed and comfortably use my wireless stuff while my laptop is sitting across the room connected to my TV. If I want to change rooms then I do so very easily, or if I want to take it to a friends or when i am out of town I can. Try doing that with a desktop.

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02:25 Aug-24-2016

My number one reason for using a laptop instead of a desktop is that I am away from home more than I am at home. So I use laptops because what good is a desktop that is sitting at my house when I am not

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03:50 Aug-24-2016

I was wondering when you might show up! :D

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04:15 Aug-24-2016

LOL! Well... it just kills me when people are so closed minded about the possibilities. I mean... I will be the first to admit that a desktop is more economical and more powerful, but when you have to take travel into consideration then a desktop just won't do.


As far as the article is concerned I am very excited to see full desktop Pascal GPUs being used in laptops now. However with the announcement of PCIe 4.0, & the fact that mobile Kaby Lake and mobile Zen CPUs will be available around the same time as PCIe 4.0 makes me think that waiting another 6 months to a year would be best.

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05:40 Aug-23-2016
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07:54 Aug-22-2016

Ooh. Everybody want a laptop if they get the chance to have one. What make everybody (Me included) egoistically say "I prefer desktop" while keeping the pride of PC soar high because the laptop price make no sense.

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08:33 Aug-22-2016

No, I would still prefer desktop, because I like the hardware tinkering. There isn't much you can do inside a laptop...

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08:59 Aug-22-2016

Ooh. Don't we all?

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09:13 Aug-22-2016

I knew I'm gonna get lots of dislike for this. Haha..

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10:29 Aug-22-2016

Bitches will be bitches...

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05:11 Aug-22-2016

i just got my laptop , see my profile , it come very useful for both work and gaming . although mine a bit heavy but im still happy with it

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12:22 Aug-22-2016

how heavy?

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18:23 Aug-24-2016

3.8kg

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18:24 Aug-24-2016

but every gaming laptop is heavy , this is the lightest i could find

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Can They Run... |

| Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Radeon R7 250X Sapphire 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10870H 8-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
APU A10-9700E 4-Core 3.0GHz Radeon R5 M320 2GB 12GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Asus TUF Gaming 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 550X 4GB 24GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
| Low, 1080p
Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Palit StormX 2GB 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i9-10900KF 10-Core 3.70GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super MSI Ventus XS OC 8GB 64GB