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The RTX A5500 Is a Real Sleeper Beast
Published: 4-18-2022

Credit: Nvidia

To look at the RTX A5500ís sleek, featureless black shroud, itís easy to think thereís not much to this GPU. Unlike the gamer-centric RTX cards with their flashing lights and hypercar-inspired designs, the A5500 is all business.

Under the hood, however, youíll find a card with specifications similar to an RTX 3080 Ti, but with several professional features, you wonít find in Nvidiaís high-end gaming cards.

Error-correcting VRAM

In an RTX 3080 Ti, youíll find GDDR6X memory. Thatís high-performance memory perfect for pushing frames to a screen, but when every value has to be correct in your calculation or render, standard VRAM just wonít do.

Instead, the A5500 uses GDDR6 memory with ECC features. The RAM checks for mistakes in memory and corrects them at the hardware level. With professional workloads where small errors can have catastrophic consequences, flawless calculations are more important than performance at any cost.

Ray Tracing and Machine Learning

Just like the consumer-grade RTX cards, the A5500 has dedicated ray tracing and machine learning cores onboard. Youíre getting the same second-generation RT and third-generation tensor cores from the RTX 30-series, but with the benefit of workstation grade drivers and support from Nvidia.

These cores can seriously accelerate real-time ray tracing in render previews and AI applications where youíre building algorithms from data using deep learning techniques. The workstation-grade RTX cards have moved these compute-intensive jobs out of data centers and onto the desktop, so if thatís the type of computation you need, youíll surely want to look into swapping your old Quadro cards for something from the new A-series family.

NVLink Support

The only consumer card models to support Nvidiaís NVLink feature are RTX 3090s. The A5500 on the other hand does have NVLink support, so if you want to combine the power of two A5500 cards, you can. Even better, modern NVLink implementations have an additive effect on VRAM as long as VRAM pooling is supported by the software in question. So in theory you could have 48GBs of VRAM and nearly twice the performance of a single A5500 card.

DisplayPort for Days

The A5500 eschews HDMI entirely in favor of four DisplayPort 1.4a ports. Not only that, but thanks to Nvidia Mosiac, you can run 16 displays scaled across 4 GPUs! Nvidiaís software is set up so that you can control all of these outputs from a single workstation, so itís the perfect way to build a command center. Houston, we donít have any problems here!

SSD Acceleration

The A5500 includes support for RTX IO technology, which uses the GPU to accelerate SSD transfer speeds beyond what the drive itself can accomplish.

The GPU can bypass the CPU entirely and read data directly into VRAM. It can do this because data decompression happens in the GPU, which also relieves load on the main processor.

Excellent Power Efficiency

The A5500 only draws at most 230W of power and only needs a single 8-pin PCIe connector. Since itís just a dual-slot card, that makes running two cards practical for most workstation users. It also means itís a drop-in upgrade for most workstations out there, even if they have fairly modest PSUs!