Apple’s share of the laptop market is increasingly tiny these days, but it’s still the prominent device and ecosystem for a certain class of professional: creators, designers, visual effects experts, finishing artists, and so on.
So instead of pitching to their traditional cabal of gamers, Nvidia used its Computex conference to target the MacBook Pro crowd.
The pitch revolves around Nvidia Studio, a new ecosystem designed to target the graphics workstation end of the market. This isn’t necessarily aimed at users doing genetic simulations or compute at those high levels, but artists and animators working on Hollywood movies, architects Autodesk and Unreal Engine for clients, 3D modellers, texture artists, and other professionals whose rendering needs lean towards the extreme.
The first element of this is new Studio-branded workstations, thin-and-light laptops with Quadro 3000, 4000 and 5000 GPUs (although some lower-end models using the RTX gaming cards will also be available). Nvidia showed off some rendering tests and use cases during their conference, including playback of an uncompressed 8K REDCODE video, and a demo showing live ray-tracing and on-the-fly adjustments to a scene from Aquaman.
A specific pitch was aimed at MacBook Pro users: in Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Premiere Pro and Autodesk Maya, the RTX and Quadro-powered machine were supposedly up to seven times faster than a MacBook Pro, although the figure is unsurprising given the advancements in GPUs (and the slower cadence of MacBook refreshes). MacBooks also aren’t equipped with graphics cards capable of using real-time ray tracing, which is expected to feature more prominently in gaming from next year with the next generation of game consoles.
Some elements of Nvidia Studio are already commonplace among PCs, like the proliferation of CUDA support among the Adobe suite and 3D rendering programs, and the creator-focused Studio drivers for GeForce and Quadro graphics cards. The Studio drivers are designed to be a more stable version of the Game Ready drivers that Nvidia releases frequently for new game releases; whereas a new Game Ready driver might be released every fortnight, the GPU maker says they only expect to release a new Studio driver once a quarter for higher stability.
Two laptops carrying the Nvidia Studio moniker have already been announced: refreshes of the Razer Blade 15 and Razer Blade Pro 17. The former will be updated with a 4K OLED screen, while the screen in the Blade Pro 17 will be updated to a new 4K 120Hz display. Both refreshes will come with a Quadro 5000 GPU, making the laptops more suitable for editing of 5K and 6K content. The laptops will be released later this year, although local pricing was yet to be announced.