GTX 860M vs GTX 850M


I’ll cut to the chase – Nvidia GTX 860M and GTX 850M are the new high midrange GPUs for gaming laptops. GTX 860M equipped laptops are already available for around $900-$1000 from several manufacturers (check $1000 gaming laptops recommendations) and more will come soon.

Generally, the GTX 860M delivers the same performance like the older GTX 770M with significantly lower power requirements, lower typical price point and with some extra features (battery booster for example). So, the GTX 850M should be an interesting option too as it’s basically the same chip, but how is the DDR3 memory affects the performance of the same chip in this case?

Let’s start with a basic info table:

Model core (stock) memory (stock) Power
GTX 850M (Maxwell) GM104 (Maxwell), 640 cores@830HZ-1100MHZ(?) + boost DDR3@1GHZ (2GHZ effective), 128-bitAlso GDDR5 option, according to some sources around 40W
GTX 860M (Maxwell) GM104 (Maxwell), 640 cores@1030MHZ + boost GDDR5@1.25GHZ (5GHZ effective), 128-bit probably around 40W-45W
GTX 870M (Kepler) GK104 (Kepler), 1344 cores@941MHZ + boost GDDR5@1250MHZ (5GHZ effective), 192-bit ~100W probably (peak ofcourse)

The GTX 860M and GTX 850M are actually the same chip, coupled with different memory chips with the GTX 860M getting the faster GDDR5 chips with effective speed of 5GHZ compared to the much lower GTX 850M DDR3@1GHZ resulting in 2GHZ effective. The GT 750M GDDR5 had a big advantage over the GT 750M DDR3 of up to 80% in some games. This is a huge difference, but we’ll see how much this difference actually plays a role in the final gaming performance.

Lets look at the numbers (thanks, nbc – soon our own numbers!). In these benchmarks, the GTX 850M core clocks were as high as the GTX 860M clocks.


GTX 860M GDDR5 vs GTX 850M DDR3, 1080p, FPS GTX 860M GDDR5 vs GTX 850M DDR3, 1080p, in percentage
The average advantage is ~38%, which is significant. These benchmarks are made with GTX 860M and GTX 850M which are clocked the same in the notebookcheck benchmarks, around 1060MHZ-1080MHZ, so the core clocks difference is much neglectable for most of it. The other difference is that NBC used an I7 for their GTX 860M benchmark and an I5 for their GTX 850M benchmark.

The only difference that is significant otherwise is the memory bandwidth difference which is around 2.5 times in favor of the GTX 860M. This translates to this advantage in FPS. We can see that in Dota 2 the difference is lower which seems in one line with other benchmarks of Dota 2, showing that it is less memory bound than some of the others. The difference in Crysis 3, for example, can be also strongly related to the I7 vs I5 issue in this case. We’ll test it soon.

The other thing we see is that the GTX 850M DDR3 is quite potent anyway.  Unlike the GT 750M GDDR5 vs DDR3 difference which could be very high and up to 80%, in this case, the new Nvidia architecture is kicking butts better, with lower memory bandwidth (at least according to these test). The GTX 850M delivers the same performance level of the GTX 760M/765M on average, easily allowing high graphics settings gaming.

Currently GTX 850M equipped laptops are not really available for reasonable price except the Clevo W650SJ based laptops like Sager NP6658, Eurocom Electra 2 and more, which are all basically the same with minor differences. These are sold for like $830 (M4) with 1080p IPS display and GTX 850M which is a nice deal. GTX 860M laptops for around $1000 (Sager NP7338 / Clevo W230SS) and more will come soon.

So, in terms of gaming performance for price, the GTX 860M equipped laptops do provide higher cost efficiency. However, as said before, the GTX 850M is a very potent by itself, so you might want to save some money and get a laptop with a GTX 850M as it will allow to anyway to play most games on high and very high settings.

bottom line, wait for new models to see the whole picture. Check the gaming laptops under $1000 recommendations.

  • Jaafar

    Is this one good for gaming ?
    Hp envy 15 k008ne
    Core i7 4510u
    Gtx 850m 4gb
    8 gb ram

  • John

    Junky Great article. Similar question to the guy below but wondered if you had a quick answer off the top of your head?

    Asus N550JK (i7-4710HQ/850m) or the Acer Nitro V (i5-4210H/860m) – which is better overall in terms of bang per buck?

    I’m assuming you’ll say the Acer (because of the 860m)? Pricewise I’m looking at a $90 saving if I get the Asus and wondered if it’s worth saving the $. Is it possible to overclock the memory on the 850m to give ~ 860m performance levels or is the DDR3 v DDR5 performance difference still too big?

    • Well!!
      You’d be good with both of these GPUs for at least medium-high settings and in some games even higher than that easily. The 860M is much more powerful ofcourse, but the 850M is powerful too

      What’s your budget?

      • John

        Budget is as little as possible 😉 If it wasn’t for the fact that both my laptops have malfunctioned in the last year, leaving only my Chromebook left (bring it on!!), I probably wouldn’t be in the market for new laptop. That said, I don’t want to save $ if it’s going to be false economy and it’s not going to run stuff in a years time….

        Personally, I like the looks/build of the Asus but it’s slightly heavy and I’d regret it if I were to buy it but find that games start chugging on it!

        What do you reckon? 🙂

        • let’s say it like that – if you are ok with high settings@1080p, you’d be ok, meaning – not the highest settings, but pretty good settings. Sometimes, in very heavy games, like Crysis 3, maybe medium-high settings with the 850M

          I think you can get the 860M for around $800-$850. I’m telling you because I really don’t know what you’ve seen. The N550JK advantages are good keyboard and very good display compared to the Y50 and even the V15 (which has good display, but might be too dim)

          • John

            Many thanks for your time and the replies!

            Having pondered things further and looked at a ton of benchmarks, I’m think I’m going to have to go for an 860m based machine simply because it’s more future proof and will (probably) provide more longevity, even those I prefer everything else about the Asus.

            In the quite a few recent 2015 released games, having a 860m over an 850m can be the difference in playable or not playable at 1080p / high, as each card can hover either side of that 30fps mark. If that’s for 2015 games eg. Evolve, I can only assume games in 2016 onwards will be more demanding and may even mean dropping 860m settings down to medium in 1080p. I don’t like the idea of not running at native resolution in a year or two’s time on the Asus just to get playable frame rates, so it’s look like it’s going to have to be the Acer (and possibly even stretching to an i7 version)…..

  • Pauline

    Shopping for a gaming laptop and can’t decide on which one to get just to play Star Citizen.
    Are Medion’s Erazers worth the money?
    Here’s my list and not on it which I am also considering is the hp ENVY 15-k078nz …

    I would appreciate your opinion.

    • Can you open a thread over the forums? I’m trying to keep the comments to talk about the post’s content itself

      From the list, I’d go with the N551JM – it’s as fast for gaming as the others and has excellent 1080p IPS display

  • João Costa

    hi! congrats for the website, really cool.

    im looking for this 2 bundles :
    i5 4200 + gtx860 ddr5 (900€)
    i5 4200 + gtx850 ddr5 (730€)

    What is your prefer ? the laptop is for games.

    • only those? Spain?

      • João Costa

        This two are 2 msi! Another option is the asus i7 4700 with gtx850 ddr3.
        From Portugal!

        • The 860M is the faster, but can you post it over forums?

        • are you there?

          • João Costa


            • I just prefer that you post it over the forums – because I want recommendations to go to the forums and to keep post’s comments about the post’s content directly

              It’s ok with you?

  • marco fava

    I’ve recently bought an HP Envy with a core i7-4510u and a GTX 850m 4gb ddr3,12gb of ram and it even has a nifty 1tb Hybrid HDD the screen is the only complaint as it is non IPS and only 1366 by 768, but I overlooked it since it only cost me 639.99€ which was a bargain considering what it has, I was initially afraid the low voltage CPU may bottle neck the thing but so far it’s been a monster and with a bit of tweaking on the core and memory clock I managed to get the 850 to give me about 7-8 more fps per game, really happy with the card and laptop as they both run circles around my old Pavilion. I’m in italy btw and I got it from

    • great to know! you can replace the display manually if you want with a good 1080p IPS display, probably. Can you check with HWInfo what is the monitor model you’ve got?

      • marco fava

        I thinks its a standard HP TFT 1366×768 display HWInfo does not recognize it strangely, it is not really problem forbme that the display is not great since its good enough and seems to do just fine

        • not at all? not even some model code?

  • calvin

    can not choose between
    ASUS N550JK-CM362H or lenovo y50?

    • what for? can you please open a thread over the forums?

  • gamenoobies

    Hi! Great article review…
    I juz want to asked between
    1) gtx 860m (2gb ddr5), i7 4710-HQ
    2) gtx 860m (4gb ddr5), i7 4710-HQ
    3) gtx 850m (2gb ddr5), i7 4710-HQ
    Which one will perform better and is there a great diff. occur between this 3 option…if small diff., I will take the cheapest one…thanks

    • almost same performance for all. The 2gb vs 4gb doesn’t really matter

      • gamenoobies

        So if i need to choose, which one better for the laptop.?..i’ve heard rumor said that watch dog could reach more than 2gb usage, does it worth it to take 4gb instead 2gb for my new laptop…i’ll also use some software such as solidwork, catia and etc…

        • depends also on other stuff – display quality and so on. Can you give me budget and country of purchase + the links you’ve seen?

          • gamenoobies

            My budget are around 3k, at malaysia
            Or do you have other better suggestion?

            • do you have links to good stores in Malaysia?

              • gamenoobies
                • seems like there are some GTX 850M DDR3 and 860M options. The fastest and most interesting are the G551JM (excellent IPS display, good performance, good keyboard) and the VN7-591G (IPS display, not as good as the G551JM one, good keyboard except the spacebar, more lightweight, M.2 port)

                  Where can you buy Clevo laptops in Malaysia?

                  • gamenoobies

                    For the vn7, it’s built in battery makes me dissapointed as i might run the laptop 4 a very long time. While g551, does it worth for increase in 4gb to 8gb ram and gpu 2gb to 4gb from price 3.4k to 4k or is it better i’m taking the 3.4k and upgrade to 8gb ram of memory as u said that there will be no large diff. between 2 n 4 gb gpu.

                    I think sell clevo lptop but the price a little bit expensive while ‘sager’ price are way too high for me…

                    • GPU: 2GB -> 4GB, definitely not
                      RAM: 4GB -> 6/8GB, definitely yes, but you can add it yourself

                      I saw their site illegear.. prices aren’t great and the G551JM is a good option really.

                    • gamenoobies

                      Thanks 4 the reply man, surely helps me alot… I will get the g551 jm from asus…

                    • not sure it comes with an OS though. Also, you can pull out the DVDRW and install SSD later on

                    • gamenoobies

                      Alrite, thanks 4 the advice… Will keep in mind…

                    • if you’ll have time, please let me know how it is for you! good luck!

              • gamenoobies
  • Mark

    What would be the better choise: gtx850m 4gb (ddr3)+i7 4510u (or i5 4210u), gtx 860m 2gb(ddr3)+i5 4210h; or the gtx 860 2gb (gddr5)+i5 4210h

    • 860M + I5 would be a lot faster

  • Patrick Ortega

    The 850M DDR3 is a good card for what it is but when it comes to overclocking, it’s held back completely by the slower memory bandwidth. 850M GDDR5 users will benefit greatly in comparison

  • Dampf

    I have a DDR3 GTX 850M in my Notebook and I can play most new games in 1080p and high settings with more than 30 FPS! I’m very happy with it.

    • Great!!

    • jes

      Can’t waaaaait to get my n550jk in the mail!

      • xenago

        I have the g550jk and trust me you’ll love it!

        • G550JK?

          • Victor

            *Not xenago* Yes, G550jk, it does actually exist 😛 It’s with GDDR5 GTX 850. I’m glad someone is positive about it, it’s one of the few chosen ones. If it’s included in the black friday discout list i might aswell be equipped with one. My 3 options are y50-70 (i5-4210H + GTX 860m) G550JK(i5-4200H + GTX 850m) and Acer Aspire v7-591G (i5-4210H + GTX 860m)!

  • Sandbag

    If I understand correctly, you’re basically saying the GDDR3 holds the back the performance of the 850m, compared to the 860m. How about the 850m with GDDRthen5 ? Have you tested that?

    Thanks for a good site, I check it regularly as I look for my next laptop 🙂

    • The 850M GDDR5 is actually very similar to the 860M as it is the same chip with a bit lower clocks. It is tested in the GE40:

      and thanks!

      • velvetdust

        Hello! Excellent article, thank you!

        I’m looking for myself a new laptop, and now focused on three bundles (about the same price), and I cant decide which is better:

        1) 850m ddr3 + i7 4700HQ
        2) 760m ddr5 + i7 4700HQ
        3) 860m ddr5 + i5 4200H

        What would you advise? at the moment i am inclined to the first option

        • Hi & thanks!

          Are these all your options?

          • velvetdust

            Yes, other bundles are weaker in performance or considerably more expensive in my country (we have a crisis now 🙂

            • Greece?

              • velvetdust

                + not all models or modifications of laptops sold there, only some popular. So I choose one of these three options

                • 1. Between those, the I5 + GTX 860M will be significantly faster for gaming, but at least 30-35% compared to the 850M DDR3 and more than that compared to the 760M

                  2. We are talking a laptop for gaming, right? if so, the GTX 860M will be much faster

                  3. However, there are more things you should consider, like screen quality. What are the laptop models?

                  4. What kind of games do you have in mind?

                  • velvetdust

                    3. I have compared other specifications, they are very similar

                    1st is MSI GE60 2PL (maybe it have 4710HQ, but no difference actually),
                    2nd is ASUS N56JR
                    3rd is MSI GE60 2PE

                    4) Actually, I’m not very fond of games. I play online only in FIFA (bit it has low system requirements)
                    and I love to go offline companies in new shooters like CoD, Battlefield, Seroius Sam and so on

                    • I didn’t understand – you’re not fond of games but do like shooters? something messed there!
                      Between those, the GE60 with GTX 860M is the best option

                      No Acer VN7-591G? or Asus N551JM?

                      Russia is in bad state, yea, but when wasn’t it like that? really, a lot of hard history..

                    • velvetdust

                      I complete offline company in shooters once and usually dont play this game more, for a long time) And new shooters appear not so often – so I dont often play. In fact, I’m buying new laptop instead of PS4 🙂

                      Yeah, I found these two models now.. I’ll descry them more closely, thanks! They are less common in our stores, so I didnt find them first

                      Well, the last 15 years quality of life in Russia constantly improved, except global crisis of 2008, so I personally dont complain)

                      Thanks for help and good luck!

                    • good luck to you too!

                    • velvetdust

                      I looked today for these two models in shop, Asus N551JM is really awesome, I decided not to save money, took version with i7 4710HQ, GTX 860M, 12Gb RAM. It cost ~ $ 875 for me. Im very satisfied, thanks again)

                    • $875 is an excellent price for this one! excellent display

                    • velvetdust

                      yeah, it’s about $130-140 more than I had planned to spend, but it was worth it
                      display is superfragilisticexpialadocious) Compared to my old Lenovo y560p it’s like night and day

                    • and way faster for gaming!
                      How’s the keyboard?

                    • velvetdust

                      actually i prefer keyboards type like it was on my old Lenovo, like this –
                      But in those keyboards dust clogged under the buttons, this is a great inconvenience

                      Asus keyboard is OK, like in Mac, I think I’ll get used to it quickly

                    • yea, dust is a problem, including from the ventilation holes

                    • bljack

                      Does any of you considered buying a laptop from websites like PC Specialist? (they have service available in US, UK, Ireland and EU except Russia;/) They allow you to build your own laptop. The difference is that the laptop has no company logo like Dell, HP etc. and it is much cheaper than comparative laptops. I’m about to build my own laptop and the reason I’m here is because I’m not sure whether I should choose a laptop with GTX 860m or 850m. Both of them would be paired with i5 – 4210m and 8GB of RAM. BTW, on this website you are allowed to buy a laptop with any version of Windows, including 7 and 8 and you have a choice to go for a laptop without any OS (which saves you min. £80 if you go for a Linux or any other free OS… or a pirate copy of WIN 😀 ).

                    • ofcourse I know them! They are selling MSI and Clevo barebones – the MSI GE40 barebone I’ve bought was from PCS!
                      But where did you see any US based store?

                    • bljack

                      I’m sorry, there is no US store.. my fault :). As a PCS customer, would you recommend buying a laptop from them? I’m asking because this would be the first deal I would make with them. And I forgot to add that the 850m is DDR3 only so I assume this would be a diffrence, right?

                    • I’m not a customer who had a lot of dealings with them, but they always responded me. My feeling is that they are at least as responsive as others, price is reasonable for the UK and the Clevo/MSI machines are the same everywhere more or less.

                      Also, they allow to remove DVDRW to save money.

                      What are you looking for though? (can you open thread over the forums?)

                    • bljack

                      Unfortunately, I get error 404 when I want to use forums. I have registered to he website and once I resolve the issue, I will give you all details on the forum.

                    • damn : many errors with the forums.. still happens?

                    • bljack

                      yeap, but I can see the forums when I’m not logged in which is strange to me.

                    • damn :
                      I’m logged though and no problems ..

                    • bljack

                      Bad luck for me 🙂 Thx for trying to be helpful anyways! I think I will go for the one wih 850m because it is cheaper and I have ps4 so I can play high-end games anyway. The laptop would mostly be used for MMOs like eve or maybe wow and Sims 4 (have to pleasure my girlfriend with it 😀 )

                    • no!! wait!! what is the country of purchase? budget?

                    • bljack

                      UK (England) and UP to £700 but only on finance ( I would like to pay the value of the laptop within a year) 🙂

                    • can you wait for the GTX 965M laptops? CLEVO (from PCS too) should have a good 15.6″ option with GTX 965M.
                      Also, are you ok with 13.3″ laptops?

                    • bljack

                      13.3″ is too small for me. When GTX 965M laptops will be available? I could wait a month or two – I’m not in a rush anyway 🙂

                    • they are already available, but I don’t know about the Clevo midrange models you are looking for – probably soon enough.
                      No rush = wait

                    • bljack

                      I bet PCS would change their offers somewhere in between Feb and March. Still, I may get something equivalent to 850m but maybe with DDR5 instead 3. You are right, I will wait a bit because it is beginning of the year and many things may change yet. Thx for your opinion 🙂 I appreciate your help…

                    • For such a price you can get a GT 860M GDDR5 laptop easily from PCS, especially if you don’t need an OS
                      But there is also the matter of screen quality, that’s why I’ve asked about the 13.3″ option which has an IPS display

                      Another option – Asus N551JM with an excellent 1080p IPS display, 860M, I7, good keyboard. You can order it from Amazon.IT and they’ll take off the Italian VAT and you’ll pay only the UK VAT

                    • bljack

                      Italian keyboard is ridiculous. I’ve worked on it a bit and all I know is that it confusing me because the keyboard is translated to italian language… About PCS 860m laptop, I could get it but I rather spend less money on my laptop (about £600 ish). I would love to spend even £800 on it but, as I mentioned before, I have ps4 as well so I start to doubt that something better than 850m would be needed. I will wait a bit and see what happens. Meanwhile, I’m off for now. Thx for your assistance 🙂

                    • do you need an OS included in the price?

                    • Ben

                      ooh, this was a good forum to come across, how is your PC specalist laptop running? i have ordered mine, the 15.6″ cosmos II with i5 4210m & GTX 850m, its due to come tomorrow, managed to get it for £520 with a 120gb SSD by installing windows myself 😛

                    • 120GB SSD and that’s all? no additional HDD?

        • Oliver fang

          Obviously the second one is the best, and if u just want to make a choice from these three, my recommendation is the second one