For what tasks? For gaming a 5970 will definitely beat a Firepro V8750 but for work station apps it still might lose out depending on how well the application and drivers are optimized. The drivers for the Radeon cards are not optimized for workstation applications.
Ok, I am currently taking machinist courses and will soon start working with workstationapps, I will be transfering to a 4 yr Mechanical engineering program so I am trying to choose a card that will run mainly workstation apps. I just didn't want to dump a ton of money into a workstation card when I could have bought a high end gaming card and done the same thing. I don't really game on a PC anyways, I was just trying to not short change myself. I'm going to buy an off the shelf PC with most likely a i5 or i7 chipset, 8 gb ram, it comes with either 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4650, or 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 220, or i can keep the cheapest 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4350. I thought maybe I could add a workstation card and be happy with it. to later run a dual monitor setup. this comes out to an even grand with no monitor. Any suggestions its an HP elite. any better setup suggestions would be good. with no monitor I don't want to go over $1000 bucks. Just for info. I am currently taking machining and gunsmithing. My interest in engineering is weapon system designs. I want to get a pc that I will be able to use for a long time. Thank you, in advance to any PC suggestions graphic card solutions. Not sure what we will be using but most likely industry standard apps.
The big ingredient in the workstation cards is something called OpenGL, currently at v3.xx.
DirectX(Microsoft) has been its competitor. Both are toolkits for software developers to render graphics.
OpenGL WAS the standard until DirectX 8 became the standard for games because the toolkit was easier to use and had new features, OpenGL has then been supported by content creation (3DSM, MAYA, AutoCAD, Autodesk Revit, Solid Works and so forth).
Any card with Open GL 3.xx is what you want.
Workstation cards are set to render the OpenGL created content at higher refresh rates, resolutions, anti-aliasing and what not. Game cards can do this but their not as fast.
Most of our engineers use their home computurs to run our UG/NX and AutoCAD software out of the office. They don't report any problems. Because of this and only modest advice against doing this, we just bought a high end HP i7-975 with NV 260 gaming card for AutoCAD and UG/NX6 applications, it works just fine. I'd buy the best gaming machine you can find for your money, it should run what you need as a ME student just fine.
I'll expand a little bit more. We also bought a HP with a quad Q9505 CPU. This machine has a Nvidia GeForce GT 230 graphics card in it and 8 GB ram. It runs our AutoCAD electrical extremely well. HP put in 1.5 GB ram in this card and 1.8 GB in our GTX 260 card. Were not sure if it's a result of the memory or graphics card processors but both machines are performing extremely well in their engineering applications even though they are marketed more as "Gaming machines.)