Digitimes recently announced that the gaming notebook market would increase to 4.5 million units, which represents a 12.5% growth rate, with MSI expected to surpass ASUS to take the number one position as their sales surge from 900,000 units in 2015 to 1.2 million in 2016. While ASUS and MSI, who make up over 50% of the gaming notebook market, expect continued growth, there are several factors that are influencing this vertical segment.
NVIDIA GTX 10 (Pascal)
NVIDIA’s latest graphics controllers, code name Pascal, give notebooks a unique GPU that is delivering performance that is a quantum leap over the previous generation of products because the mobile versions are not speced down models of the desktop card, so they have the same core specification as the desktop part: the same CUDA core count, and the same boost clock. The only exception is the GTX 1070 which has a lower boost clock speed but has more CUDA cores than the desktop part. The end result is that the GTX 1060, GTX 1070, and GTX 1080 found in gaming notebooks will perform nearly the same as those found in desktops. The only variations being the result of the different thermal solutions found in notebooks which could impact boost clocks and drop the overall performance in certain games. Resellers don’t need to worry about identifying the model number for purchasing the mobile versions of the GTX 10 series because these are GPU chips only available to the notebook manufacturers.
Another market factor that is expected to continue the growth rate for gaming systems including notebooks is Virtual Reality, which is expected to become a new trend in 2017. The Nvidia GTX 10 series, driven by NVIDIA VRWorks, is designed to enhance VR performance with the lowest latency, and includes VR audio physics and also provides plug-n-play compatibility with leading headsets. In addition, MSI has recognized the potential of virtual reality on the gaming market so they created their own VR Lab to optimize their laptops for virtual reality, allowing them to be the first and only gaming notebook brand to be certified by HTC Vive and Intel for VR Technology.
PC Refresh for the Gaming Market
The interactive experience being made possible by virtual reality along with the dramatic performance improvements being made as a result of the NVIDIA GTX 10 series graphics cards, as well as those achieved from Intel’s 6th Generation Core processors, are extremely compelling to gamers who refresh their systems on average every 2 years compared to mainstream desktop users who refresh every 4 to 5 years. This focus on having the latest technologies to take advantage of improved features and capabilities has long been a driving factor that makes the gaming segment unique for both notebooks and desktops.
NVIDIA GTX 1080 Notebooks
Although there are fewer manufacturers offering gaming notebooks, the segment has received a lot of attention from resellers and with its continued growth. The main manufactures being Alienware (Dell), HP, ASUS, Gigabyte, Clevo, Acer, and MSI are looking to offer more models to provide a larger variety of models to the entire channel. MSI has begun to release next-generation gaming notebook models ranging from 14 to 18 inch screen sizes featuring NVIDIA's GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 discrete graphics card, but as with any new product the demand for the higher end GTX 1080 is greater than the supply so there are some temporary constraints on this specific model. Supply for the GTX1060 and GTX 1070 GPU is much better so MSI notebooks that use those chips have better stock and availability. To differentiate from its competitors, MSI has made improvements in the devices' industrial design, materials, heat dissipation and sound quality.