This article explains what to expect from laptops with Nvidia MX250 and MX230 graphics chips, how these GPUs compare to the popular MX150, as well as provides a complete list of portable devices bundled with these chips.
The Nvidia GeForce MX250 replaces the MX150 starting from the first half of 2019, and is still a discrete graphics chip based on the Nvidia Pascal architecture, while the GeForce MX230 replaces the entry-level MX130 chip and is a very similar chip, also based on the Pascal architecture, unlike the previous MX130 that was based on Maxwell and pretty much a rebadged 940MX.
Both are entry-level dedicated GPUs designed as more capable alternatives to the Intel UHD graphics integrated within the Intel Core U processors.
As solutions for thin-and-light notebooks and ultrabooks, these are made with efficiency in mind and have low power requirements, which makes them suitable for compact builds. At the same time, they are also more affordable than the higher-tier Nvidia GPUs, so you’ll also find them in a handful of affordable full-size laptops.
Exact details are still scarce on the two, but we do know that they’re both based on Nvidia’s GP108 14-nm chip, so you can summarize them as slightly higher-clocked versions of the GeForce MX150 GPU. That means you should not expect the MX250 to run significantly faster than the MX150, while the MX230 should squeeze in somewhere between the two, but with a slightly higher TDP and cheaper price.
We’ll update this article with benchmark results and performance expectations once we get to review MX250/230 laptops, but for now, we’ll leave you with the specs sheets, then jump to the list of actual products built with these chips.
|Nvidia GF MX250||Nvidia GF MX230||Nvidia GF MX150|
|Speed||1518 – 1852 MHz||1518 – 1531 MHz||1468 – 1532|
|Memory||up to 4 GB GDDR5||up to 4 GB GDDR5||up to 4 GB GDDR5|
|Memory Speed||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||6000 MHz|
|TDP||10 – 25 W||15 – 30 W||10 – 25 W|
Based on these specs, I expect the MX250 and 230 to perform similarly to their predecessors, with the main difference between the generations being the slight increase in Clock and Memory Speeds, and the addition of support for Vulkan 1.1, OpenGL 4.6 and OpenCL 1.2.
On top of that, Nvidia will offer different versions of both these chips, just like with the MX150s: a lower power option for ultrabooks, with a TDP of 10-15 W, and higher power alternatives for full-size devices, with TDPs of around 25-30 W.
As far as gaming goes, expect to be able to run less-demanding titles and older games at FHD resolution and Medium/Low details, while for AAA titles you’ll pretty much have to go to HD resolution to get 30+ fps.
Down below we’ve compiled a list of laptops built on Nvidia MX250 and Mx130 laptops. Very few such devices have been announced at this point, but we’ll constantly update the tables and fill them up with the new launches as they come out.
|Acer Swift 3 SF314||Clamshell||14″ FHD||Whiskey Lake Core U||MX250 25W (?)||48 Wh||~3 lbs / 1.4 kg||–|
|Huawei MateBook 14||Clamshell||14″ QHD glossy||Whiskey Lake Core U||MX250 25W||57.4 Wh||~3.3 lbs / 1.5 kg||from $1199|
|Huawei MateBook X Pro||Clamshell||13.9″ touch||Whiskey Lake Core U||MX250||57.4 Wh||~3 lbs / 1.4 kg||from $1599|
|Lenovo IdeaPad S430 14||Clamshell||14″ FHD matte||Whiskey Lake Core U||MX230||48 Wh||~3.5 lbs / 1.7 kg||–|
|Lenovo IdeaPad S430 15||Clamshell||15″ FHD matte||Whiskey Lake Core U||MX230||48 Wh||~4 lbs / 1.8 kg||–|
Here’s a short glossary of the terms mentioned above:
- clamshell: traditional computer whose screen closes on top of the keyboard and does not flip into any sort of tablet mode;
- convertible: 2-in-1 laptop whose screen rotates or converts to a tablet mode (or similar), but cannot be detached from the base;
- Resolutions: HD ( 1366 x 768 px), WXGA+ (1440 x 900 px), HD+ (1600 x 900 px), FHD (1920 x 1080 px), WUXGA (1920 x 1200 px) FHD+ (2160 x 1440 px), retina (2304 x 1440 px), QHD (2560 x 1440 px), WQXGA(2560 x 1600 px), QHD+ (3200 x 1800 px), UHD (3840 x 2160 px) – also see this post.
That’s about it for now, but as I’ve mentioned in the beginning, this article is a work in progress and I’ll be adding new products as they are released, so bookmark this for updates if interested on the topic.
That aside, if these Nvidia GeForce MX250 and MX230 laptops don’t offer the performance you want, you should also check our lists of more powerful laptops with Nvidia GTX 1050/1050Ti , GTX 1060 graphics or the newer RTX 2060 options.