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Apart from cost, why not a Quadro FX 1500?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 18, 2006 5:51:20 PM

I am in an unusal situation. I can get a Quadro FX 1500 for less than a comparable GeForce card.

I don't do a lot of either gaming or serious graphics work, but am more likely to play the occasional game than render the occasional feature-length film. Given that situation, is there anything that makes the Quadro _worse to own_ than the GeForce?

I see lots of information online regarding why the Quadro is better for Graphics Workstations. I also see contentions that it is 'worse for gaming', but I can find no detail that specifies why - only assertions like 'it's for Workstations' and 'drivers are not optimized for games'. This makes it difficult for me to decide how much worse they are, and why the deficiency can't be solved by changing drivers.

After all, I'd rather not spend $250.00 USD for a 7900 if it isn't a lot better than the Quadro I'm getting for free.

Thanks.

More about : cost quadro 1500

October 19, 2006 5:58:07 PM

if your getting the quadro for free, why not just try it out and see how you like it.

However i do simpathize with your delima, i wonder things like this myself and can never find the specifics
October 19, 2006 6:42:31 PM

It has to do with the Quadros optimization for OpenGL rendering.

Most games today run on Direct3D, which is what the GeForces are desgined to run with. However, things like Photoshop, movie editors, and CAD programs use OpenGL, which is what Quadro cards are designed to run. It is possible to run Direct3D programs on a Quadro, as it is possible to run OpenGL programs on a GeForce. The difference in performance when mismatching the wrong card for the task, however, is quite large.
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October 19, 2006 6:48:59 PM

I don't know about Quadros for gaming, but I use a Nvidia 7900GS for both gaming and CAD with no noticeable performance issues, so it is compatible in that regard. If you're getting a Quadro for free, see if you like it. Unless you play games maxed out I doubt you'll be able to see the difference
October 19, 2006 6:59:37 PM

http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/06/16/opengl_workstati...

Brief overview of the differences.

Quote:
Clocks tick slower in the OpenGL workstation arena. In contrast to graphics cards aimed at gaming, no manufacturer would even think of chucking products onto the market every four months. Instead, they concentrate on the good old virtues of market maturity and stability. And that's a good thing too, because technically, the hardware for OpenGL graphics cards is no different from its gaming counterparts - the price is three time as high, though!

In order for product positioning to have the desired effect, they use an "independent" label (FireGL instead of Radeon) and modify the card's BIOS and a bit of microcode in the chip. This means that users cannot run FireGL drivers on a Radeon card, and vice versa. The drivers themselves have built-in "artificial brakes", meaning that a gaming card can never achieve decent values in the OpenGL arena - that's reserved for workstation cards. As an aside, both ATi and Nvidia use the same process to position their individual products.

So what justifies the enormous price difference? The majority of the costs result from customer support and driver development. No OpenGL workstation user is allowed to be left alone with his problems, where it's the complete opposite for the gamer. Additionally, it takes a long time before OpenGL drivers can be certified as "stable", so the manufacturers pass these increased costs on to the customer. Why does no-one complain? That's easy: workstations for engineers and designers make a considerable contribution to creating value in the production process. Procurement costs are of little importance, since the workstations are a business expense, and mostly pay for themselves within a short time.


Basically, it'll game OpenGL games real well, but thats about it... The cards are the same, with the Quadro with different firmware and real tech support. Get the card, ebay it, and buy a real gaming card.
October 19, 2006 7:16:11 PM

Also, the Quadro drivers are not optimized for gaming, so they won't game well.
October 19, 2006 7:34:08 PM

Quote:
Also, the Quadro drivers are not optimized for gaming, so they won't game well.


Even the linux drivers? I wouldnt see a reason to have an OpenGL card unless I was gamming in linux (UT2004 for the win!)
October 19, 2006 7:58:12 PM

I'm not sure how it will game with OpenGL, prolly fine, even though most DX cards game with OpenGL fine also. Either way, there is a reason why we have gaming cards and professional cards.
October 19, 2006 8:11:10 PM

Doughbuy:

I did read the article you quote from at
http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/06/16/opengl_workstati...

I've re-read it since your post, and I still can't find anything in it that tells me why or how the Quadro is worse at gaming tasks - only how it is better at design tasks. Have I missed a passage?
October 19, 2006 8:18:40 PM

Quote:
Also, the Quadro drivers are not optimized for gaming, so they won't game well.


Does anyone have more detail about the form this lack of optimization takes, or how much worse it makes the Quadro than the comparable GeForce?

For that matter, why could one not use the GeForce drivers?
October 19, 2006 8:25:17 PM

Quote:
It has to do with the Quadros optimization for OpenGL rendering.

Most games today run on Direct3D, which is what the GeForces are desgined to run with. However, things like Photoshop, movie editors, and CAD programs use OpenGL, which is what Quadro cards are designed to run. It is possible to run Direct3D programs on a Quadro, as it is possible to run OpenGL programs on a GeForce. The difference in performance when mismatching the wrong card for the task, however, is quite large.


I guess I just don't follow where the optimization exists. If the GPU is the same, are there differing support chipsets for OpenGL and Direct3D?

If it is a driver only based difference, doesn't it seem odd that nVidia would not use the same Direct3D code that they have already tested for the GeForce series and add code for superior OpenGL?

It may be a failure of imagination on my part, but it seems to me they would have to deliberately write new and worse Direct3D code to show a drastic performance difference for Direct3D tasks.
October 19, 2006 8:40:50 PM

You pretty much nailed it. Gaming cards are optimized for DX, while proffesional cards are optimized for OpenGL, even though they are exactly the same. There might be a bit of difference to prevent the other firmware to be run on the other card, but other than that, everything is the same.

Mainly because DX is primarily used for gaming, so people like me and you would buy out. But we're poor people, so we need to buy cheap things. Companies are big and rich people, so they can buy expensive things, but they don't game. nVidia won't sell companies cheap cards, because they could make more money on expensive cards, and vice versa, since we can't afford the expensive cards. So they slap some different firmware, and lock each target group for what they can get out of it.
October 19, 2006 9:32:01 PM

The Quadro FX 1500 has been out for how long, how long has the 7900's been out?

The Quadro's tend to have more conservative clock speeds, that is the main difference. There was a day when they had additional features enabled, i.e. they accelerated a larger portion of the OpenGL pipe. I don't know if this is true or not. In addition the workstation cards are more likely to be certified for a particular application. If you paid $20K for software, you will likely be interested in this feature.

There was a day when a workstation class card was significantly different. They had 256 and 512 of ram years ago. Running OpenGL apps on gaming cards was faster but buggy as he11. The pro-apps must have used a larger set of the O-GL library.

Some hardware sites compare image quality, bad rendered areas. The pro cards do better, the ATI and Nvidia cards use to fair much worse than the 3dlabs and such. The reviewers indicated that these rendering issues would cause problems with the CAD models; not true, but irritating to the user. PC OpenGL is still not as good as an old SGI O2, but the PC is Much faster.

The Quadro will be slightly slower than a comparable GeForce. Wireframe will be better accelerated with the Quadro, Shading better on the GeForce.
October 19, 2006 9:34:26 PM

difference is just in DRIVERS, you can download a RIVATUNER, follow instructions and you can have from N7800 when i can remeber Quadro 4000 !! no hardware tweaking and is working from N4xxx line. QUADROS have some driver based special funktions ( nothing extra - wire bluring, etc ) is NOTHING for normal people, games running slower, only if you a GFX 3DMaster and hawe some 10k$ Workstation. and the is better to buy N7800 and switch it to Quadro and you have money for holiday :-)
October 26, 2006 2:20:43 PM

I think we've got the answer. Thanks to jjw and fugo; that makes sense. I can find some evidence of the lower clock speed, and possibly a slight hit due to line anti-alias processing and clip regions, and execellent reasons for accepting these penalties when doing CAD, Animation, or similar work.

It would be great if I could get official information from nVidia, but I suppose the question is too rare to warrant posting answers to - and they can't gain any sales from people in my position, so why bother?

I can't find any indication of separate firmware or support circuitry, and I'll bet I could eventually figure out a tuning method to improve the shading performance by changing clocks or disabling some of the 'pro' features. The likely gain, however, is so slight that I think I just won't bother - the Quadro is going to run Roller Coaster Tycooon 3D just fine, and that's about all I'm interested in.
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