It seems to me that the graphics demands that I place on my engineering cards are no where near as demanding what high end games do, such as Call of Duty etc.
My question is why is it then that engineering cards are (such as my NVIDIA Quaro FX) are much more expensive than gaming cards and looking at them do not seem nearly as substantial from the hardware point of view?
I have also heard (but I do not know if it it true) that Nvidia build into their cards algorithms that detect if you are using a gaming card for engineering applications that drasticly reduces the cards performance if detected, is this true?
The graphics card is only half the story; you need a driver to make use of the card.
Workstation cards, and their drivers, are optimized for professional APIs like OpenGL, rather than Direct3D. Also, workstation drivers go through longer and more rigorous testing, therefore they are released less often.
As for your last question, I would be surprised if it were true, but I would not be surprised if the OpenGL drivers are not as optimized on consumer cards.