The Pro version of the Nvidia RTX 4090 Mobile may turn out to be a bit disappointing
As expected, Nvidia unveiled a pro version of the RTX 4090 mobile, the fastest laptop GPU on the market at its GTC 2023 event earlier today. The RTX 5000 Ada Generation will equip mobile workstations from the likes of Lenovo (ThinkPad), Dell (Precision) and HP (Zbook).
Like its consumer alterego, it has 9728 CUDA cores, 76 Ray Tracing cores and 304 Tensor cores. It has a maximum power consumption of 175W, not a surprise given that it uses the chip as the RTX 4090 and is likely clocked at the same speed. The only major differences are the use of ECC GDDR6 memory (16GB) and the price.
A top of the range MSI CreatorPro Z16P with an Nvidia RTX A5500, the highest performing available mobile workstation GPU of the past generation, retails for around whopping $4,400. Note that the most powerful graphics card remains the RTX 6000 Ada Generation for which there is no current mobile equivalent.
What makes these pro cards different is the fact that they are more stable and reliable both in terms of hardware and drivers. They are also ISV certified, which means that they are actually tested by a number of the biggest software vendors on the planet; from Autodesk’s AutoCAD to Dassault Systemes’ Solidworks and everything in between.
RTX 4090 vs RTX 5000: A battle fit for creators
Laptop manufacturers have been trying to look for new ways to convince businesses to buy more of their products and, arguably, the most successful strategy to date has been to bundle gamers and creators together, even extending to business laptops.
A rivalry between siblings will take place with RTX 4090 laptops competing with RTX 5000 mobile workstations as budget cuts and cost of living forces businesses and creatives to make tough decisions. You can get a 4090 laptop* with an Intel Core i9 CPU and 32GB of RAM for under $3,000.
How much of a gap can we expect between the two? If the desktop counterparts of these two cards is anything to go by, the RTX 4090 is likely to perform just as well, if not better than the RTX 5000 except if you use professional Nvidia drivers that have been fine tuned for ultra niche software packages. Various benchmarks (Catia, Solidworks, Siemens NX, Creo, 3DS Max, Maya and Davinci, Premiere Pro, Blender, Topaz) show that consumer graphics cards (and that includes the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX) will put a real fight against Pro workstation-class cards.
* Just be mindful that not all RTX 4090 are created equal. Some may have a TGP as low as 100W which will make them far slower than others. Do check before you buy.
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