Google Colab Pro/Pro+: is the price worth it?

Google Colab Pro and Pro+ in comparison

The Google Colaboratory service – or Google Colab for short – makes it possible to run Python code in the web browser in so-called “notebooks”. It is used for deep learning and to share and work on data science projects with others.

I actually only use Google Colab to create works of art with AI-supported methods, but the paid packages Google Colab Pro and Pro+ are also interesting here to save computing time.

Google Colab Pro, Pro+ or the free version? The differences are explained here.
Google Colab Pro, Pro+ or the free version? The differences are explained here.

Advantages of Google Colab Pro and Pro+

Faster graphics cards

With Colab Pro/Pr+ you get access to more resources and can choose faster GPUs like the NVIDIA Tesla T4 or the NVIDIA Tesla P100 for your projects. As a user of the free Google Colab, you are often assigned weaker graphics cards and less RAM and have to live with it.

When creating ki-generated images, the processing time of the images in the Pro and Pro+ model is about six times faster than in the free Colab - a good argument to book at least the Colab Pro version for around 10 euros a month.

Longer terms

The runtimes in the Pro version of Google Colab are also longer and the notebooks remain connected for up to 24 hours, while the free version is already disconnected after 12 hours.

An advantage of the Colab Pro+ version here is that the instances continue to run even after the browser window is closed, while they are terminated with the free and the Pro version after the window is closed.

More RAM

Users with the paid models also benefit from RAM. While you have to make do with 16 GB in the free Colab, Pro users can access 32 GB and Pro+ users even have access to 52 GB of RAM. The paid accounts should be a good choice, especially for processing large amounts of data.

Google Colab prices for the free version and the Pro and Pro+ models.
Google Colab prices for the free version and the Pro and Pro+ models.

Availability of Colab Pro and Pro+

Unfortunately, Google Colab Pro and Pro+ is far from being available worldwide. The offer is currently limited to the following countries: Germany, France, Great Britain, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan and Thailand. However, one can assume that other countries will follow.

Comparison of the options in the overview

Colab FreeColab ProColab Pro+
Guaranteed Resourceslowhocham hochsten
GPU (graphics card)K80K80, T4, P100K80, T4, P100
RAM (working memory)16 GB32 GB52 GB
background processnonoja
costs per monthfree9,25 EUR42,25 EUR
user typesometimesseveral times a weektäglich

Conclusion: free, Colab Pro or Colab Pro+?

In my case, Colab Pro for 10 euros is already sufficient, because I was mainly interested in having the fast graphics cards in the selection. The T4 and P100 are not faster in the Pro+ model either, and they have the maximum "equipment".

However, if you are processing large amounts of data, lots of RAM, a long runtime and urgently need processing in the background, you should go for the Colab Pro+ plan, which costs just under 50 euros a month.

Even those who constantly push the resources of the Pro model to the limit are often blocked by the service. So if the focus is on reliable editing - without having to cut costs - then Colab Pro+ is the right choice.

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