GTX 870M vs GTX 860M

GTX 860M (Maxwell) vs GTX 870M (Kepler), 1080p

Hello again friends

We’ll talk about the GTX 860M vs the GTX 870M GPUs for laptops, as they are both good options in the $1000-$1400 price range the question is what do you get, performance-wise, for these extra bucks.

We’ve already seen the difference between the the new GTX 860M vs the previous generation GTX 770M and in short, you’d get the same gaming performance with a much lower power consumption => lower heat and less throttling. It is also comes close to the very popular and power hungry 750M / 755M SLI in performance while requiring a considerably less power. Now, It is also obvious that the GTX 860M is more powerful than the older GT 755M / 750M and GTX 765M quite a bit too with ease, while maintaining around the same power requirements plus the fact that you can usually find it for around the same price of $900-$1000 currently with laptops like the Clevo W230SS and the upcoming and interesting Lenovo Y50. Therefore, the 6/7 series is – bottom line – no good as a competitor at these price ranges unless you can get a GTX 680M/780M laptop for a really good price (like $900-$1000 for a 680M).

So, for a new laptop, the question should reside around the Nvidia 800 series (till AMD answer at least) and in this case, the 870M and 860M.

Modelcore (stock)memory (stock)Power
GTX 680M (Kepler)GK104 (Kepler), 1344cores@720HZ + boostGDDR5@0.9GHZ (3.6GHZ effective), 256-bitaround 100W
GTX 860M (Maxwell)GM104 (Maxwell), 640 cores@1030MHZ + boostGDDR5@1.25GHZ (5GHZ effective), 128-bitprobably around 40W-45W
GTX 870M (Kepler)GK104 (Kepler), 1344 cores@941MHZ + boostGDDR5@1250MHZ (5GHZ effective), 192-bit~100W probably (peak ofcourse)


Lets look on the 860M numbers compared to the 870M in FPS and percentage (numbers courtesy of NBR, take with some salt)
GTX 860M (Maxwell) vs GTX 870M (Kepler), 1080p
GTX 860M (Maxwell) vs GTX 870M (Kepler), 1080p, in percentage

Lets talk about these simple graphs. The first one shows the absolute FPS and the second one shows the the advantage of the 870M in percentage. We can see that the GTX 870M does not provide more than 40% advantage and the average is lower and is around ~30%. Edit: later results show 50% in some games, like Crysis 3 and Total War : Rome II, however, in other built-in benchmarks which are more constant, the advatange is around 30%, including Bioshock Infinite, Metro : Last Light, Thief, Civilization : Beyond Earth.

This is reasonable, as we know the GTX 860M is around the same performance of the GTX 770M. The 870M has 40% more cores (1344 vs 960), around 25% higher memory bandwidth and around 15-20% higher core clocks. Other parameters are more or less the same and the core architecture is the same (Kepler), so the performance should be something between 25-40% faster (tops) than the GTX 770M/860M more or less and don’t expect more than that.

Now lets say that currently you can find GTX 860M laptops for around $1000 (Sager NP7338 / Clevo W230SS) and GTX 870M for around $1300 (no OS) up to $1400 (many or the Clevo P150SM-A).

So, roughly, if you make an effort, you can find a GTX 870M laptop for only 30% higher price, so the 30% performance advantage fits in. However, few points:

1. Many GTX 860M laptops are not available yet – the upcoming Lenovo Y50 with an IPS display and good sound quality + very good sound system (probably) for probably around $1000 or some Asus offering for the same price. The total value of the Y50 including the IPS display, good looks, good battery (a guess, based on previous models) is higher for the price.

2. Even now, the 13.3″ Clevo W230SS comes with a very good 1080p IPS display for less than $1000. That’s a significant advantage. You’ll currently won’t find a good 17.3″ IPS display, if that’s what you wanted to ask.

3. The Maxwell parts, if it’s not clear, are much more power efficient. In this case, the 860M draws easily half or less than the 870M, at peak. That means less heat and better battery, under 3D load. In some cases this results in CPU/GPU throttling and lower gaming performance in some games.


So, bottom line, if you ask me, you should keep away from the GTX 870M for now. Wait for the Maxwell parts or go with a GTX 860M laptop if you really need one now. I’d also suggest waiting for more GTX 860M offerings, again, like the Lenovo Y50.

Edit: this is outdated, we are not in the 960M (soon) and 970M era.

Leave a Reply

26 Comments on "GTX 870M vs GTX 860M"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I am looking at an MSI GS60 Ghost, but can’t decide between the 052 and the 003

I will modify the 003 to have:
2x128gb ssd raid 0
1 tb HDD
16gb RAM
and it comes with an 860m KEPLER variant

the 052 has:
128gb ssd
1tb HDD
12gb RAM
and an 870m

both have same specs for everything else. also same price. Not taking any other suggestions

Jacob Johnston
I don’t see this being accurate in any way. The Y50 is out and has a terrible display. It is even $1159 for the base model, unless you get the i5 version on Amazon. Even the other GTX 860M models all reside in the mid $1000’s with OS. You can get a GT60 Dominator-424 for $1340 which has a GTX 870M, which is only ~$200 more for a 30% increase in performance? That’s a bargain if i’ve ever seen one. Furthermore, you’re looking at this all wrong. Like in the Thief benchmarks. The 860M gets 25fps and the 870M gets… Read more »

Any chance Lenovo Y50 might come with GTX 860M SLI? That would be so cool! 🙂


When do you think the maxwell 870m will come out? If it won’t be out by the end of the summer, then how much reason is there for me to wait for it?


I wonder how the temps b/w these two might, i mean less than half peak power consumption must result in lower relative temps.