When Nvidia rolled out its RTX family of GPUs last year it was all about gaming. The new Ray Tracing (RT) cores aimed to create more realistic game experiences, assisted by inferencing (AI) cores that enabled the acceleration of low-noise ray tracing. This year at SIGGRAPH, Nvidia is touting how RTX is making progress with creative professionals. Specifically, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Boxx are rolling out 10 new RTX Studio laptops, adding to the 17 previously announced. The new crop makes Turing GPU performance much more accessible to a wide range of users.
The new laptops span both Nvidia’s family of consumer and professional RTX GPUs, with some sporting GeForce RTX models (2060, 2070, and 2080) and others Quadro RTX (3000, 4000, 5000) versions. Models with the Quadro RTX 5000 also offer up to 16GB of graphics memory — a real boon for those training large AI models, among others. Nvidia touts up to 7x performance compared with the MacBook Pro, but I suspect Apple will be coming out with some speedier GPU options in its MacBook line soon. Here’s a round-up of the ten new Nvidia Studio laptop models:
- Lenovo Legion Y740 Laptop Studio Edition, which features up to GeForce RTX 2080 GPUs within 17- and 15-inch laptops, available later this fall.
- Lenovo ThinkPad P53 and P73 mobile workstations support up to Quadro RTX 5000 GPUs within 17- and 15-inch systems. The ThinkPad P53 is available now; the ThinkPad P73 will be available starting August.
- Dell Precision 7540 and Dell Precision 7740 mobile workstations, available today, are configurable with up to Quadro RTX 5000 GPUs.
- HP ZBook 15 and 17 mobile workstations feature Quadro RTX GPUs, with the 17-inch model configurable with up to a Quadro RTX 5000.
- BOXX GoBOXX SLM mobile workstations are available with a Quadro RTX 3000 GPU in the 15-inch system and either Quadro RTX 4000 or 3000 in the 17-inch system.
Creative Apps Move to Support RTX
Nvidia also announced that more than 40 creative and design applications have in some way embraced RTX — using the dedicated RT and AI cores for new features and performance enhancement. To make optimal use of those applications, Nvidia has also updated its GeForce Experience driver manager to offer the option of Studio Drivers, in addition to Game Drivers.
As someone who games on my main video editing machine, the new driver options can be a bit confusing. I installed the Studio edition of drivers for my 1080, but then when I launched a game it warned me that I didn’t have the most recent drivers (the Game drivers are a newer version). It isn’t clear to me if it is possible to have a driver set that is optimized for both gaming and creative apps, and if not, what the tradeoffs are between them.
RTX Doesn’t Come Cheap
From a quick check of current pricing on one of the new models — the Dell Precision 7740, a solid configuration that includes an RTX 3000 (the only RTX model available on the web site) prices out at over $3,000 after discount. The 6GB RTX 3000 is priced at a $300 premium over the non-RTX Turing-based T2000. So, just as with skepticism over the initial game support of RTX last year, I expect some wait-and-see until there are more specifics on exactly how extensively RTX has been integrated into common creative applications before there’s a huge wave of adoption.