Skip to main content

Nvidia's RTX A6000: 48GB of Memory Powers Twice The Performance

Nvidia
(Image credit: Nvidia)

When Nvidia launched its RTX A6000 48GB professional graphics card last October, the company said that it would offer at least twice the performance of the company's previous-gen Quadro cards. These types of claims are not unusual, but how fast is the $4,650 RTX A6000 really in real-world benchmarks? (Interestingly, that's only $650 more than Galax's flagship RTX 3090 GPU.)

Workstation maker Puget Systems decided to find out and ran multiple professional-grade benchmarks on the card. The results turned out to be impressive – in fact, Puget says the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB is the fastest professional graphics card they have ever tested.

An Ampere with 48GB of RAM

Nvidia's RTX A6000 48GB graphics card is powered by its GA102 GPU with 10,752 CUDA cores, 336 tensor cores, and 84 RT cores, and a 384-bit memory bus that pairs the chip with a beefy 48GB slab of GDDR6 memory. In contrast, Nvidia's top-of-the-range GeForce RTX 3090 consumer board based on the same graphics processor features a different GPU configuration containing 10,496 CUDA cores, 328 tensor cores, 82 RT cores, and a 384-bit memory interface for its 'mere' 24GB of GDDR6X memory. 

While the Nvidia RTX A6000 has a slightly better GPU configuration than the GeForce RTX 3090, it uses slower memory and therefore features 768 GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is 18% lower than the consumer graphics card (936GB/s), so it will not beat the 3090 in gaming. Meanwhile, because the RTX A6000 has 48GB of DRAM onboard, it will perform better in memory-hungry professional workloads.  

While all GeForce RTX graphics cards come with Nvidia Studio drivers that support acceleration in some professional applications, they are not designed to run all professional software suites. In contrast, professional ISV-certified drivers of the Quadro series and Nvidia RTX A6000 make them a better fit for workstations. 

The combination of the Nvidia GeForce RTX A6000 drivers, 48GB of GDDR6, a slightly different GPU configuration, Quadro Sync support, enhanced reliability, a different display output configuration, and a blower-type cooler (which is preferable for multi-GPU configurations) create a solution that costs $4,650, which is considerably higher than a $1,500 MSRP of the standard GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, though some custom RTX 3090's push the needle as high as $4,000.

Up to 92% Faster

As far as performance is concerned (read the full review at Puget's website), the GeForce RTX 3090 might get close to the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB, but since the former is not a workstation-grade graphics card, Puget decided to compare the new professional board to Nvidia's Quadro RTX 6000 24GB (TU102 with 4,608 CUDA cores). 

Technically, the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB ($4,650) is the successor of the Quadro RTX 6000 24GB (~$4,000), even though the latter has only half the memory. Meanwhile, the previous generation flagship — the Quadro RTX 8000 48GB (TU102 with 4,608 CUDA cores) — is still priced at $5,000 ~ $5,500. 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Not all professional workloads require enormous onboard memory capacity, but GPU-accelerated rendering applications benefit greatly, especially when it comes to large scenes. Since we are talking about graphics rendering, the same programs also benefit from GPU capabilities. That said, it is not surprising that the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB outperformed its predecessor by 46.6% ~ 92.2% in all four rendering benchmarks ran by Puget. 

Evidently, V-Ray 5 scales better with the increase of GPU horsepower and onboard memory capacity, whereas Redshift 3 is not that good. Still, the new RTX A6000 48GB is tangibly faster than any other professional graphics card in GPU-accelerated rendering workloads.

Modern video editing and color correction applications, such as DaVinci Resolve 16.2.8 and Adobe Premiere Pro 14.8, can also accelerate some of the tasks using GPUs. In both cases, the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB offers tangible performance advantages compared to its predecessor, but its advantages look even more serious when the board is compared to graphics cards released several years ago. 

Like other modern professional graphics applications, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop can take advantage of GPUs. Yet, both programs are CPU bottlenecked in many cases, which means that any decent graphics processor (and not necessarily a professional one) is usually enough for both suites. Nonetheless, the new Nvidia RTX A6000 64GB managed to show some speed gains compared to the predecessor in these two apps as well.

Fastest Professional Graphics Card

Unsurprisingly, Puget found the Nvidia RTX A6000 48GB is the fastest professional graphics card they have ever tested. Evidently, with the massive increase in GPU horsepower versus its predecessor, the card brings its biggest gains in GPU rendering benchmarks as well as in DaVinci Resolve. Other applications can also benefit from the new card, but actual advantages heavily depend on exact workloads.

  • Integr8d
    What’s the hashrate?
    Reply
  • Pirx73
    Card for Real Miners TM
    Reply
  • waltc3
    $650 "more"....MSRP for the 3090FE is $1599, according to nVidia. MSRPs for 3090 AIBs is no more than ~$2k. Looks like you are using scalper's pricing instead of the official MSRPs...:oops: Anyone would pay $4k for an AIB 3090 is nuts, imo. Also, wake me when you have one in your possession to test and aren't just rehashing nVidia's PR pages, courtesy of Puget Sound. Yes, for close to $5k it should be the fastest thing around...! Whew...
    Reply
  • russell_john
    waltc3 said:
    $650 "more"....MSRP for the 3090FE is $1599, according to nVidia. MSRPs for 3090 AIBs is no more than ~$2k. Looks like you are using scalper's pricing instead of the official MSRPs...:oops: Anyone would pay $4k for an AIB 3090 is nuts, imo. Also, wake me when you have one in your possession to test and aren't just rehashing nVidia's PR pages, courtesy of Puget Sound. Yes, for close to $5k it should be the fastest thing around...! Whew...

    If you had actually followed the link provided you would see that Galax is indeed selling their top of the line RTX 3090 for $4000 on pre-order ..... In a professional situation if you can cut your rendering time by 20% you'll get that extra cost back in no time ....

    The A6000 line is used professionally for more than just rendering graphics and you can virtualize several workstations each with a A6000 to create a supercomputer with massive amounts of parallel processing power for AI applications .... These are actually cheap in comparison to the advanced AI and cloud server boards that have 8 A100 GPUs and sell for $199,999 a pop ...... Microsoft recently bought over $200 million worth of these 8 A100 GPU boards for their Azure cloud servers ..... It's part of the reason there is a shortage of consumer devices from TSMC because the A100 and other Enterprise devices take precedent when it comes to manufacturing and then you have the devices for automobiles which are also in short supply sucking up manufacturing time ...... That's why RX 6000, Zen 3 CPUs and game consoles are as rare as hen's teeth right now ..... And it will remain that way as long as demand for Enterprise and professional devices remain high
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    I can't believe I'm going to be the first to ask this.

    But can it run Crysis?
    Reply
  • King_V
    mac_angel said:
    I can't believe I'm going to be the first to ask this.

    But can it run Crysis?
    I'm jealous that you beat me to it! :LOL:
    Reply
  • JOSHSKORN
    King_V said:
    I'm jealous that you beat me to it! :LOL:
    I'm jealous that you beat me to being jealous about someone doing it before you...er...me.

    Curious about what the performance is with simming on this card, though. Specifically, MSFS2020 @ 4K.
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    JOSHSKORN said:
    I'm jealous that you beat me to being jealous about someone doing it before you...er...me.

    Curious about what the performance is with simming on this card, though. Specifically, MSFS2020 @ 4K.
    Something I've been curious for a long time, but I can't find a definite answer on. If Quadro Sync will work on the gaming cards. I know realistically it's expensive AF. Just wondering if it would work. LinusTechTips did something like that, 16 displays all together. But he used Quadro cards with the Quadro sync.
    Reply
  • arconz
    russell_john said:
    If you had actually followed the link provided you would see that Galax is indeed selling their top of the line RTX 3090 for $4000 on pre-order ..... In a professional situation if you can cut your rendering time by 20% you'll get that extra cost back in no time ....

    The 3090 is actually faster than the A6000 in GPU renderering... benched at 7% faster in mine (Redshift)... and that is before overclocking... This is not surprising - Quadros have a lower power draw, are always clocked slower and were never made for speed. They are great for the other purposes you mentioned such as AI which are typically more scientific in nature.
    Reply