Asus and Nvidia’s new ProArt StudioBook One might be the answer to contrent creators’ infinite need for graphics speed. Announced Wednesday afternoon at IFA in Berlin. and claiming the modest title of “world’s most powerful laptop,” the Asus and Nvidia collaboration will be the first to boast Nvidia’s Quadro RTX 6000 GPU.
Nvidia offered few hard details but did say the ProArt StudioBook One will include a Core i9 CPU, 64GB of DDR4, a 1TB NVMe SSD, WiFi 5, a 90-watt-hour battery, and three Thunderbolt 3 ports. Pricing wasn’t available either, but if a Quadro RTX desktop GPU itself is $3,600 today, this laptop won’t be cheap.
The mobile version of the desktop Quadro RTX 6000 will feature “desktop-like” performance, according to Nvidia. Mobile GPUs had crept close to desktop performance in previous years, but both the GTX 10-series and the RTX 20-series generation saw desktop jump far ahead again. For example, laptop GPUs have topped out at the GeForce RTX 2080, with no mobile version of the wickedly fast GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The same happened with the GeForce GTX 1080, which offered no GeForce GTX 1080 Ti equivalent.
Nvidia said the Quadro RTX 6000 will close the “mobile performance gap.” Nvidia didn’t detail specs of the Quadro RTX 6000 beyond 24GB of GDDR6 RAM, but it’s close if not the same as the desktop Quadro RTX 6000, which features 4,608 CUDA cores, 576 tensor cores, 72 RT cores and 10 Giga Rays per second of performance. For comparison: A GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has 4,352 CUDA cores, 544 tensor cores, and 68 RT cores. While both are rated at 10 Giga Rays per second, anything approaching either of the desktop cards is likely to be dandy.
Two reasons why we haven’t seen mobile GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or GeForce RTX 2080 Ti are likely cooling and power. That’s where Nvidia lent its aid in the form of an Nvidia-designed titanium vapor chambers, capable of cooling up to 300 watts in a 25mm-thick body.
Nvidia officials said the titanium vapor chambers were selected mostly to reduce weight. While titanium isn’t known to be particularly conductive of heat, it was likely chosen as a trade-off in thermal efficiency.
In another unusual twist, The ProArt StudioBook One will actually integrate the CPU and the GPU behind the display. Yes, we’ll say that again: The hottest components are behind the display. It’s fairly unusual, especially for a powerful laptop.
A tiny, yet powerful power brick
To keep the laptop running, there’s also a pretty tiny yet powerful 300-watt power brick that appears to use a USB-PD connector. You can see the brick in the screenshot below on the right. Nvidia said it’s about half the size of a traditional 330-watt brick (which is literally the size of a brick), yet it looks like a USB-PD or USB-C connector is used.
If you’re in the USB-C fan club, you know USB-PD’s maximum power delivery today is 100 watts. There are three possibilities here. The first is that it’s just the wrong picture and it’ll be a traditional barrel port charger used. The second is that somehow Asus and Nvidia are ahead of the curve on more powerful USB-PD.
The third and most likely answer is the power brick is proprietary but still USB-C/PD. Dell pulled this trick with its XPS 15 2-in-1, which featured a 130-watt power brick. To get around the 100 watt max, Dell has the charger check to see whether it's connected to the XPS 15 2-in-1. If it is, it may exceed the 100-watt limit. If it isn’t, it limits itself to the standard or lower.
Nvidia said the StudioBook One will also be the first laptop to use an “enhanced Optimus” technology. Optimus today works by dynamically switching between the CPU’s integrated graphics when there is a very light graphics load, to the discrete GPU when there is a heavy load. Details of the enhanced Optimus weren’t made available, but it appears to be more granular. Today, if the GPU is running an intensive app, it pretty much stays on even if the application isn’t doing much. It looks very much like if you are typing mostly text in a graphically application, the integrated GPU will take over.
One requirement for professionals is a high-end display. The ProArt StudioBook One features a 15.6-inch 4K display with 120Hz refresh rate. It will hit 100 percent of Adobe RGB, has a Delta E of <1 and is Pantone validated to be 97 percent of DCI-P3. The display is also factory-calibrated.