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Workstation VS Gaming Cards

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 15, 2011 10:31:49 PM

Alright, so I'm a pretty big gamer, but I'm also studying in a 3D animation course, mostly using Maya and Zbrush, but some other programs might be used as well. My current rig has 2 GTX 460s (1GB) in SLI. Will these two be strong enough to handle using Maya and Zbrush, or will I have to get a workstation card? If I do need to get a workstation card, would I be able to use it in the same rig as my other two? I have the slots for running them all, and the power supply to do it, so there's no issue in terms of hardware. I also plan on getting a second monitor, which I've heard helps for this sort of thing (1 monitor for gaming connected to the GTX, the other for work connected to the Quadro/Firepro).

Pretty much the biggest difference between workstation and gaming cards are the drivers. Gaming cards are much more powerful, but have much less support and their drivers aren't optimized for workstation programs. I've heard there are modded drivers that can help alleviate this issue, but I would like some imput from some people who have had to do the same, or something similar.

I know the ideal solution would be to get a workstation rig and use that, while keeping my current one for gaming, but that isn't an option right now. Maybe in a year or so I'll be able to do that, but not right now.

If it helps, I was looking at the quadro 600/FX 580 or the Firepro V4800. Yeah, not very good, but my budget is pretty tight atm and I would need the card ASAP (those are the most expensive cards that fit into my budget). Any advice?
a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2011 2:45:05 AM

good idea to run the wkstn card
make sure connected to second monitor and start your 3d programs on that monitor when you use them.
do realize that with twin 460s the difference would be not noticeable and possibly not as good even
though you could have the 3d in secondary and work/play in primary if your cpu is strong enough and that is where the benefit lies.
January 16, 2011 3:12:57 AM

I'm using a stock i7 950. Haven't gotten around to OCing it yet, though I definitely will eventually, when I have the time to do it properly. Either way, while I would pretty much have one monitor for the work and the other for gaming, I wouldn't be playing a game and working at the same time, so usually 1 monitor will be pretty idle, maybe have a playlist of songs or a web browser open, basic things like that.

Basically, you think twin 460s will be equal to using one of those entry level quadros?
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a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2011 3:31:48 AM

gtx 460 sli should be a lot better than a low end work card, the cuda cores should help I believe in rendering? I'm not too sure but that would be my assumption... my 2 cents
a b U Graphics card
January 16, 2011 4:12:15 AM

if your not going to multi-task it then just stick with the twin 460s
!