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Pro cards vs. gaming cards

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 6, 2006 2:02:10 AM

Hi everyone, just want to say that I am newbie to this forum, and I have some moderate video card knowledge. I have been reading up a bit and I am presented with the following dilenma;

I am a young professional. I plan on doing video editing and effects with Premiere pro 2 and After Effects 7, I plan on doing 3d graphics with Lightwave 9, and I use other programs like Flash 8, Photoshop CS2, Encore, and Audition.

Obviously the Quadro series intrigues me since they are supposedly made for these types of applications. But I could probably only afford a Quadro 1500.

Other system specs:
Core 2 Duo 2.4
4GB Corsair DDR2 667
Raid 0 10,000RPM (havent decided on the capacity)


Monitors:
Dual 19 inch CRT
One 1/4 HD Projector (native resolution 960x540, max 1024x768)

I have a personal distaste for LCDs because as a graphic designer, i hate not having even contrast throughout the screen, but if someone has a better recomendation than what I have below, please let me know what you think.

I plan on using the projector as a part of a media center. I already have it, and i would buy a tv tuner card and basically tv through my computer onto the projector


I also want to do gaming, I plan on getting a few games as soon as I get this system, but the bigger necessity is my profesional work, so the questio is; How should i handle this? Are pro cards worth the price? Will I have a big drop off in gaming? Will two 7900 GT (256MB or 512MB - I dont know yet) work better than any pro card at the same price range? Why the hell are Quadro cards so freakin expensive?

If I asking for too much info, I would love any resources to where I could get oriented, I just dont have that much time to scour the net and forums. I WILL ETERNALLY APPRECIATE anyone who can help me out here, I plan on getting my system as soon as I have these questions answered, and I know for sure that any investment I make is worthwhile. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

More about : pro cards gaming cards

September 6, 2006 2:11:25 AM

Quote:
Why the hell are Quadro cards so freakin expensive?


Drivers. Pro cards' hardware is essentially not different from so-called "gaming" cards. For your purposes a pro card would be worth the investment, if you are serious about 3D animation and such that is....

If we talked analogies, why is Hummer H1 almost three times the price of all other Hummers while its rated horsepower is less than theirs? Answer - torque. Uhmmm.... it all depends on your purpose. You cannot get good gaming out of a pro card. Nor can you get as much power for your purposes out of a gaming card.. or two.
September 6, 2006 2:57:51 AM

to the best of my knowledge, the drivers in gaming cards are tweaked to have not-so-good performance in opengl which is what most 3d apps use, but to have better performance when using direct3d, and vice-versa for the pro cards. also, the drivers on pro cards have to be extensively tested to be sure that they are perfect, cuz if you spend a few thousand on a card, it damn well better be able to wrok perfectley. but on the hardware side, most of them are almost, if not exactly, the same as their gaming counterparts, and some gaming cards can be soft modded to work as pro cards.
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September 6, 2006 3:07:16 AM

Ok - gaming cards vs 'Pro' cards - being a mechanical engineer who uses full-on 3D CAD software (solidworks and I-Deas) as well as an avid gamer, I can tell you there is a huge difference. Most software packages that require this kind of card won't even certify drivers for the 'gaming' grade cards. Hardware wise, there is there is actually a very significant difference. Yes, the base GPU is very similar in nature and the gaming cards are derived from the 'pro' cards, but there are significant differences that make the 'pro' cards better at what they do. The list is too long to enumerate here, but include features like hardware accelerated clipping planes, bit depth and type of texure processing, and memory bandwidth (40Gb/s on the 1500) If you want more details, check out the 'tech-specs' sheets of a quadro 1500 and a 7600GT and you will see some other surprising differences. Another big difference in addition to hardware is twofold: 1:the microcode used within the GPU is much more heavily streamlined for OpenGL rendering engines, which is what most of the 'Pro' applications use (I wish games would use this more, it's so much more efficient) Anyway you will get significantly better performance from a 'pro' card in your professional apps. 2: Drivers - the drivers are heavily oriented to OpenGL and the support is both more stable and more extensive. I have used gaming cards for CAD apps before and had significant stability problems, so the drivers are key. The bonus for you is that I've never had a 'pro' card that couldn't handle any game I threw at it. While the pro cards are far superior in their professional applications, they are also no slouch when it comes to games . That 1500 will definitely run any game out there right now. Maybe not at 2048x1024 with 8xAA and 4xAF, but if you have more reasonable expectations from your gaming experience and are willing to tone down some of the detail settings, you will find that that card will serve you well in games. I gamed for quite awhile on a 3DLabs CAD card and it never hiccuped once. I would definietly recommend the 'pro' card and just use it for games - the headache, stability problems and downtime you will save by using a 'pro' card instead of trying to get a 'gaming' card to do your 'pro' work will more than make up for the difference in price. Trust the voice of one who has walked both roads - go pro, you will not regret it.

EDIT: In response to the "two 7900GT's" question - the pro applications have absolutely no use for SLI - they are not written to take advantage of it, even if the driver support is there - I have not known anyone to get a tangible benefit from SLI in professional grade 3D applications.

Cheers!
-J
September 6, 2006 3:47:04 AM

With the apps that you're using, you should go for the Quadro or the ATI FireGL.
September 6, 2006 1:32:09 PM

Wow, thanks to everyone for the help, especially jnjkele for taking the time to give me such a well informed reply. I will attempt to research a bit more before I make my decision, since these cards a very pricy. Can anyone provide me with a link to hardware sites that will have reviews of the quadros and fire gls. I am almost convinced that the pro card is the way to go, now its just a matter of which pro card. Can anybody make any suggestions, cause if getting a 3500 or even the new 4500 X2 are worth every penny, i wouldnt mind saving up my money for it, What do you guys think?
September 6, 2006 2:01:12 PM

no experts on the graphics but you can do better on the storage
dell system pull drives are pretty cheap on ebay and have been working well for me
you can get an atlas ii for about $80 or some cheaper fujitsu mam3 drives for under $20
you get seek times under 6ms with either
September 6, 2006 2:27:12 PM

Toward the bottom of the first page of this thread it talks about converting game cards to pro cards.
September 6, 2006 2:49:39 PM

Depending on your software requirements , I would go for a cheaper solution... 6800 Ultra cards usually can be turned into quadro fx cards with rivaturner. All softwares will recognize them as quadro. And 6800 ultra quadro will be stronger than quadro 1500 solution.
In professional rendering, quadro cards, have better power (due specific instructions in openGL used by the softwares) over 25% (some application can hit over 65%) against same gpu core gamming cards...
7 series gamming card cannot be turned into quadro with rivaturner (screen indicates that, but performance did not change at all) so 6800 ultra is now the most economical solution if you need a powerfull 3d professional solution. Regarding SLi , some softwares can use it's extra power. Catia and Medina , can use SLi configuration in my system with some increase in perfomance (about 20%) so must judge if it does worth or not... at least 6800 ultra in SLi will perform good with games, so depending on your games requirement and professional requirement... you can go thru 6800 ultra... I did and do not regret...
September 6, 2006 4:16:11 PM

I retired from Sandia National Labs about 6 months ago.. One of the real pleasures I had before retiring was working on Gauss at Lawrence Livermore.
http://www.llnl.gov/pao/news/news_releases/2005/NR-05-1... The ablity to do things like this is the big difference between the Pro cards and the game cards. A big part of what you pay for in the Pro card is 24 hour tool free tech support and advance replacement fo the card if something goes wrong. Right now I would say that the nvidia drivers are better than the ATI drivers but that may change with AMD buying ATI. ATI doesn't support Open GL in linux but the former head of Suse Chris Schlaeger has been hired to run the R&D facility at Dresden and I have been told tht the Open GL issue will be resolved by year end. The other part of the equation is how well the CPU handles what you do. You can take all the benchmarks you see here and throw them out the window in professional uses. If you go to spec.org you will find that in professional uses that for example the 2xopteron 152 (two single cores used in Gauss ) is 33% faster than the dual core Conroe 6800 or the equivelent Woodcrest. The benchmarks are those approved by ANSI/ASTM and are well thought out from a professional point of view and not a hodge podge of gimmick benchmarks that are used for gaming. Just as the performance of the pro graphics card is different from the game version, the performance in heavy duty work apps is different also. So keep that in mind as you go.
September 7, 2006 2:43:48 AM

Hi everyone, thanks again for all your help. I have been doing my research and thanks to this link

http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id...

i will go with the quadro fx 540 or 560. Some of the post you guys made were assuming i would use CAD and in no way shape or form do I plan on using that program, I plan on using 3D progs and video, and not only does the quadro 540 perform just as well with 3D apps compared to the more expensive cards,, but it has better video compatibility with its break out box and HDTV output, so its definately the card of choice, and the best part is its cheaper. More over, the benchmarks clearly show that gaming cards suck for 3d modelling. Kinda lucked out there since its cheaper and I dont need to go through the learning curve of tweaking the drivers and whatnot. Plus i get more stability and stuff

I am going to open a new thread then to see if anyone can help me out turning a quadro into a decent gaming card.
September 7, 2006 11:29:44 AM

Quote:
Some of the post you guys made were assuming i would use CAD and in no way shape or form do I plan on using that program, I plan on using 3D progs and video, and not only does the quadro 540 perform just as well with 3D apps compared to the more expensive cards.


CAD, or 3d programs, there's no difference really. It's the geometry that you are displaying, not the fact that CAD is different than other 3D programs.
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