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Nvidia is releasing Pascal GPUs to challenge AMD Vega… what year is it?

Tried and tested over new and shiny? Why not...

Nvidia GeForce MX350

First hinted at during CES 2020, Nvidia has now released two new discrete mobile GPUs, once again flying the Pascal banner, not Turing. These new GPUs are the GeForce MX330 and MX350, and compared to the “latest and best integrated graphics,” Nvidia claims that we can expect 2x the performance from the former, and 2.5x the performance from the latter.

Of course, a discrete GPU is likely to perform better than integrated graphics, but if a new Pascal dGPU can perform 2.5x better than the very best current-gen integrated graphics, that’s nothing to sniff at. Benchmarks provided by Notebook Check comparing the GeForce MX330 and MX350 with other Nvidia GPUs seems to back this claim up, too.

These benchmarks show a fit bill of health for the long-toothed Pascal, with the MX350 performing roughly on par with the GTX 960M. Because the GTX 960M outperforms both Iris Plus G7 and Vega 11 graphics by a significant margin, it seems like Nvidia’s claim that these GPUs will provide 2x and 2.5 the performance of integrated graphics might be correct. They might even be competitive in the face of AMD’s Ryzen 4000 APUs. Why go for Turing when Pascal remains this competitive in the mobile graphics sphere?

Clearly we want to be focussing on the GeForce MX350 over the MX330, especially since the MX330 is basically an MX250 with slightly higher clock speed, the MX250 itself essentially being a higher-clocked MX150. The MX350, however, is said to be on the same chip as a GTX 1050. The same GP107 Pascal chip, sure, but with only a 64-bit memory bus and a lower TDP of just 25W.

MX330 MX350
Process 16nm 16nm
GPU clock 1,531 1,354
Boost clock 1,594 1,468
CUDA cores 384 640
TDP 25W 25W
Memory bus width 64 bit 64 bit
Memory type GDDR5 GDDR5
Memory speed 7,000MHz 7,000MHz

In terms of game performance, the benchmarks show that these Pascal GPUs should be capable of running less demanding games at 1080p on medium to high settings, but will probably struggle to play more demanding triple-A games at anything other than the lowest graphics settings.

Nvidia going with Pascal over Turing does mean no ray tracing or Tensor Cores. But for low to mid-range graphics options, those features were never going to be an issue anyway. What Nvidia has, instead, is two new mobile dGPUs that beat the very best iGPUs in the market, and that are keeping Pascal alive and well far beyond its expected lifetime.