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the difference between gamer & workstation video card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 6, 2007 3:38:43 PM

Hi all,

I own an old 6600GT.
1. are all the new cards more powerfull than this card? (all = x1650, 7800 etc)
2. Let's say I want to buy a new card, and my choice is 8800GT.
would you recommend the ATI over this ard for graphics & 3D design over it?
3. would it be best to buy a workstation video card for a graphics and 3D design? (e.g. v series of ATI or quadro by nVidia)
4. can I use this card for games? if not.. what is the best way to do both?

thanks..
November 6, 2007 4:17:33 PM

1. Not all, but most. Basically if you go over $100 you are almost certainly getting a faster card.

2. Anandtech's article on the 8800GT was subtitled "The Only Card That Matters" that subtitle is accurate. The new ATI cards that aren't out yet may be better, but right now for the money there's nothing better than the 8800GT

3. Only if you are a professional, otherwise you would be wasting your money.

4. Yes but they wouldn't be as fast as gaming cards. The absolute best way is of course to have two computers, one for work the other for gaming, the most cost-effective way is probably to get a gaming card. I haven't done a careful comparison but from what I've heard the difference in performance is a lot greater for gaming then for workstation stuff. Here where I work we do some 3D rendering stuff and the workstations mostly have vanilla FX5200's and X1650 Pros and they seem to work fine.
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2007 5:03:01 PM

Basically one of the main difference between workstation cards and gamming cards are the drivers. Workstation cards have much more stable drivers and they are made to work with 3d packages for purpose of increasing rendering speed. They also tend to have better support if you run into problem normally you can call the vendor right away and talk to some body version hearding an automated reply.

So the xtra cash (and they can cost over twice as much for a workstation station grade vs a consumer with the same specs) is for suppport, stability and driver xtra's that are in the consumer version.
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November 6, 2007 5:14:46 PM

in addition, the quadros are openGL ...
a b U Graphics card
November 6, 2007 6:46:42 PM

zingers said:
in addition, the quadros are openGL ...


They're all OpenGL, both gaming and workstation cards.

Workstation cards differe in the options and optimizations of their drivers, in their certification process, and in their superior customer support.

Which models are better FireGL / Quadro depends on the application.

As fredgiblet said the differences aren't really all that huge other than from a statistical perspective (what's the 'real diff' between 3.1 and 4.4 fps ?).
November 7, 2007 10:49:47 AM

OK, so if I understand correctly:

If we are talking about low to mid range workstation cards (e.g. quadro FX 1500)
There is no significant advantage of the workstation card upon the 6600GT (or any future match by ATI) in 3D rendering application, while there is some advantage for the gaming card upon the low-mid range graphic cards for gaming.

Is that correct?
a b U Graphics card
November 7, 2007 6:21:49 PM

Yes in general, but it does depend on the application.

The best way is to buy a card that can be soft-GL'ed or soft-Quadro'ed so that you can turn on/off the OGL optimizations as needed and not lose the gaming portion.

Unfortunately it doesn't work well for laptops, so I haven't tried it recently or kept up with the latest devs, but if you look you can find the latest supported cards and their benifits/limitations.
November 15, 2007 9:27:40 AM

ok,

what is soft-GL'ed or soft-Quadro'ed?

and for this matter, according to the latest news & benchmarks, which card will fit more to those needs:
8800GT or HD3870? (single card, as my motherboard has only one PCE-E x16 slot)
November 15, 2007 10:18:45 AM


P.S.
In Israel , both 8800GT and 3870 costs almost the same, so this shouldn't be an issue. (30$ diference)
a b U Graphics card
November 16, 2007 1:07:50 AM

Google SoftGL and SoftQuadro, it's basically where drivers make a gaming card appear as a workstation card to apps, and either allow you to load workstation drivers or mimic those features.

I don't know which of those two would best fit your needs yet. Neither has been soft-moded yet AFAIK, and I haven't seen enough benchie on the HD38xx series cards yet to comment on their abilities. Maybe by the weekend.

!