Zotac has announced the fourth iteration of its "industry-leading wearable PC" called the VR GO 4.0, designed for Virtual Reality gaming. The latest update to the backpack PC features a CPU upgrade to an 11th Gen mobile CPU and a switch from GeForce RTX graphics to a more efficient graphics solution based on Nvidia's RTX workstation GPUs.
Zotac introduced its original VR-focused backpack PC back in 2016. Since then, Zotac has been improving its design incrementally almost every year. However, this latest interpretation appears to exclusively focus on component upgrades to the VR GO's CPU and graphics card. Zotac didn't mention any serious upgrades to the backpack chassis or associated battery packs.
Despite the upgrades being just with the CPU and GPU in general, the enhancements are substantial compared to the hardware used in the previous generation Zotac backpack PC. The VR GO 4.0 now runs with a Core i7-11800H and an Nvidia RTX A4500 GPU with 20GB of GDDR6 memory and 7,168 CUDA cores. It's a massive upgrade compared to the RTX 2070 and i7-9750H used in the previous model.
However, the move to workstation graphics is quite surprising from our perspective. The A4500 doesn't cater to gaming as it explicitly targets workstation compute applications. However, it runs on the same Ampere graphics architecture as Nvidia's RTX 30 series GPUs, so it is most capable of gaming.
We believe Zotac went with the A4500 in particular due to its shallow energy consumption for the amount of GPU cores and memory it provides. The A4500 is far from a low-end GPU solution with 1,024 more CUDA cores than an RTX 3070 Ti, bringing it in line with a sub-RTX 3080 GPU if it ever existed. However, its power consumption is incredibly low for an Ampere GPU at just 200W. Nvidia's RTX 3080, for instance, consumes 350W.
Power consumption is essential for improving battery life for longer gaming sessions in the confinements of a backpack PC powered by batteries.
Other specs of the backpack PC include 16GB of DDR4 RAM -- which you can upgrade to 32GB, an M.2 slot, and a free 2.5' SATA 3 hard drive/SSD bay for storage. I/O is around the side and top of the backpack, including three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a single USB 3.1 type-C port, DisplayPort, and a 12V DC outlet at the top.
On the side, you get an additional DisplayPort along with an HDMI output, with one more USB 3.1 Type-A port and two more USB 3.0 ports. Finally, you get another DC-in port, headphone and microphone jack, and an SD card reader. Powering the VR GO 4.0 are dual 86.4 watt-hour hot-swappable batteries.
We don't know what pricing or availability will look like for the VR GO 4.0, but with previous models shooting well north of $2,000, expect this model to be just as expensive, if not more so, with the new A4500 workstation GPU.