NVIDIA RTX 3000 Ada Generation Laptop GPU
The Nvidia RTX 3000 Ada Generation, not to be confused with the A3000, P3000 or RTX 3000 Turing Generation, is a higher-end professional graphics card for use in laptops that sports 4,608 CUDA cores and 8 GB of GDDR6 VRAM (with optional ECC). It would be fair to say that this is a GeForce RTX 4070 (Laptop) in disguise; consequently, the graphics card is fast enough to run many games at 1440p with high quality settings. Brought into existence in 2023, the RTX 3000 leverages TSMC's 5 nm process and Nvidia's Ada Lovelace architecture to achieve higher-than-average performance combined with moderate power consumption.
Quadro series graphics cards ship with much different BIOS and drivers than GeForce cards and are targeted at professional use rather than gaming. Product design, large-scale calculations, simulation, data mining, 24 x 7 operation, and certified drivers - if any of this sounds familiar, then a Quadro card will make you happy.
Architecture & Features
Ada Lovelace brings a range of improvements over older graphics cards utilizing the outgoing Ampere architecture. It's not just the better manufacturing process and the higher number of CUDA cores that we have here (up to 16,384 versus 10,752); under-the-hood refinements are plentiful, including the immensely larger L2 cache, the optimized ray tracing routine achieved by simplifying the evaluation of what is transparent and what isn't, and other changes. Naturally, these graphics cards can both encode and decode some of the most widely used video codecs, AVC, HEVC and AV1 included; they also support a host of Nvidia technologies, including Optimus and DLSS 3. The latter employs machine learning to generate additional frames on the fly for manyfold frame rate increase in supported games at the cost of just a few artifacts.
The RTX 3000 features 36 RT cores of the 3rd generation, 144 Tensor cores of the 4th generation and 4,608 CUDA cores, making it ~11% inferior to the RTX 3500 Ada Generation as long as we disregard the clock speed differences. (The 3500 also has more VRAM, for reference). The RTX 3000 comes with 8 GB of 128 bit wide ECC GDDR6 memory for throughput of ~256 GB/s. The fact that error correction circuitry is present here proves that the graphics adapter is indeed targeted at professional users.
Just like Ampere-based cards, the RTX 3000 makes use of the PCI-Express 4 protocol. 8K SUHD monitors are supported, however, the DP 1.4a video outputs can potentially prove to be a bottleneck down the line.
Having reviewed the Dell Precision 5480 and its 50 W RTX 3000 Ada Generation in September 2023, we can firmly say the graphics card is in the same league as the RTX 4060 (Laptop) and the RTX 4050 (Laptop), despite sharing most of the specifications with the RTX 4070 (Laptop). 48 seconds in the Blender 3.3 Classroom CUDA test and a 3DMark 11 Performance GPU score of less than 30,000 points are nothing to write home about. The GPU's gaming talents are not mind-blowing, either, although it is certainly capable enough for 1080p gaming.
- Tiny Tina's Wonderlands - almost 90 fps at 1080p / High
- Cyberpunk 2077 - over 60 fps at 1080p / High
Nvidia's marketing materials mention 20 TFLOPS of performance, a very noticeable improvement over the 14.5 TFLOPS delivered by the RTX 2000 Ada Generation. Your mileage may vary depending on how competent the cooling solution of your laptop is and how high the TGP power target of the graphics card is. A 100 W RTX 3000 Ada might be able to come close to the RTX 4070 (Laptop); we will do what we can to test more laptops built around this professional graphics adapter soon.
One other thing worth mentioning is that enabling the ECC VRAM mode appears to reduce the amount of video memory that is available to applications and games by up to a gigabyte.
Nvidia no longer divides its laptop graphics cards into Max-Q and non-max-Q models. Instead, laptop makers are free to set the TGP according to their needs, and the range can sometimes be shockingly wide. This is especially the case for the RTX 3000, as the lowest value recommended for it sits at just 35 W while the highest is 300% higher at 140 W (most likely including dynamic boost). The slowest system built around the RTX 3000 can easily be half as fast as the fastest one. This is the kind of delta that we've seen on consumer-grade laptops featuring the latest GeForce RTX cards.
Last but not the least, the improved 5 nm process (TSMC 4N) the RTX 3000 is built with makes for very decent energy efficiency, as of mid 2023.
RTX Ada Generation Series
|Pipelines||4608 - unified|
|Tensor / AI Cores||144|
|Cache||L2: 32 MB|
|Memory Speed||16000 effective = 2000 MHz|
|Memory Bus Width||128 Bit|
|Max. Amount of Memory||8 GB|
|Memory Bandwidth||256 GB/s|
|API||DirectX 12 Ultimate, Shader 6.7, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 3.0, Vulkan 1.3|
|Power Consumption||115 Watt (35 - 115 Watt TGP)|
|Displays||4 Displays (max.), HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a|
|Date of Announcement||21.03.2023|
|Link to Manufacturer Page||nvdam.widen.net|
|Predecessor||Quadro RTX 3000 (Laptop)|