Google Colab Pro vs RunPod GPU Cloud

BY ZHEN LU - JULY 14, 2022
Google Colab Pro Plus costs $50 with a chance to get a V100 or (in rare cases) a A100 GPU. While, with RunPod's GPU Cloud pay-as-you go model, you can get guaranteed GPU compute for as low as $0.2/hour.

We hear Google Colab Pro mentioned a lot and for good reason. Colab Pro and Colab Pro+ offer simple to use interface and GPU/TPU compute at a low cost via a subscription model.

  • Colab Pro $9.99 / month

  • Colab Pro+ $49.99 / month

What's the catch? No guaranteed compute

With Colab Pro your notebooks can stay connected for much longer, and idle timeouts are relatively lenient. Durations are not guaranteed, though, and idle timeouts sometimes vary. With Colab Pro+ you have even more stability in your connection. Colab Pro+ also offers background execution which supports continuous code execution for up to 24 hours.

Colab FAQ

In order to keep costs low, neither subscription model offers guaranteed compute, but Colab Pro+ does give you priority access to faster GPUs with more memory and longer runtimes. Even still, you have to make sure to babysit your instances, otherwise they will get killed automatically when they run for too long.

What does RunPod offer for $50?

  • RTX 3090 (24GB VRAM) - $0.30 / hour

  • $0.30 x 166 hours = $49.8

That's 166 hours of compute without interruptions, or 8 hours per day for 20 days. Can you get same price to performance when compared to Colab Pro+? If you babysit your Colab notebooks and keep them running 24/7, then probably not. It's hard to say, though, since there are no guarantees that you will get what you want every time and you may not be able to keep 100% uptime. RunPod uses a pay-as-you go model and with pricing this low, it's hard to argue against the service we provide. Deploying Jupyter on 1-8x GPUs takes a few seconds.

What about Cloud Storage?

Now, about compatibility and integration with other services and products: Google Colab Pro can easily connect to your Google Drive account so notebooks can easily store data in the cloud. On RunPod, the cloud storage integration choice is left up to you. With RunPod Cloud Sync you can choose from many cloud storage providers like Google Cloud Storage, AWS S3, Azure Cloud Storage, Dropbox, and a few others. This flexibility with free bandwidth offers more freedom to the mass.

RunPod Cloud Sync

Both of these services spoil you in some ways compared to many other expensive GPU Cloud providers. At times (though more often in the middle of the night), Colab Pro will give me multiple A100s at the same time. This has proven Colab’s value: if you’re comfortable with less control, you’ll get your money’s worth.

With RunPod, though, you control when and what GPUs to deploy with guaranteed compute without any interruptions. If you don't believe us, there are plenty of users in our discord willing to help and also provide their feedback. Try us today!

GPU Cloud Pricing

Keep in mind storage pricing is separate but bandwidth is FREE!

Zhen is one of the co-founders of RunPod. He holds a PhD in Computational Chemistry and has lots of experience teaching, coding, and talking to people.

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