November 14, 2018 // 10:27 a.m.
Nvidia has announced a new Turing-based graphics card, the Quadro RTX 4000, which marks the company's first attempt to bring its real-time ray tracing acceleration technology to the midrange market - though, given its workstation focus and the card's price, it's using a very broad definition of 'midrange.'
Following on from the unveiling of the Quadro RTX 5000, Quadro RTX 6000, and Quadro RTX 8000 back in August, inaccurately billed by Nvidia as being the 'world's first ray tracing GPU' thanks to the embedded 'RT cores' featured in its new Turing architecture, the Quadro RTX 4000 is Nvidia's attempt to bring the technology to a wider audience. As a result, specifications have been pared down: Where the Quadro RTX 8000 features 48GB of GDDR6 memory and 10 gigarays per second (GR/s) of real-time ray tracing rendering capability, the Quadro RTX 6000 24GB of memory with the same performance, and the Quadro RTX 5000 16GB of memory with a slower performance originally stated as 6GR/s but since upgraded to 8GR/s, the Quadro RTX 4000 drops the memory to 8GB and the ray tracing performance to 6GR/s.
The change in performance comes from a reduction in the number of cores available on the Turing GP: Where the RTX 5000 packs 3,072 CUDA cores, 384 artificial-intelligence-boosting Tensor cores, and 48 RT cores, the RTX 4000 drops to 2,304 CUDA cores, 288 Tensor cores, and 36 RT cores. These reduced specifications are felt elsewhere, too: As well as reduction in ray tracing performance, the card's general compute performance takes a hit and drops from 11.2 trillion FP32 floating-point operations per second (TFLOPS) to 7.1 TFLOPS.
There are positives to the performance reductions, though: The card draws considerably less power at 160W compared with 265W which leads to a new single-slot design, while the price has been reduced - though at $900 (around £700 excluding taxes), RTX technology is still very much restricted to those with relatively deep pockets.
Nvidia has not yet offered a UK launch date, but interested parties can sign up to be notified when cards are available on the official product page.