I would like Toms Hardware to do an article on benchmarks of various applications that use Consumer GPU's vs. PRO GPU's. There are certain nVidia and ATI cards that have identical specs but different driver sets. Now that GPU's are so powerful what really is the performance premium that these "workstation" or "professional" cards such as the nVidia Quadro cards have over regular consumer cards that can apparently accelerate applications like Adobe Photoshop, After Effects as well as Autodesk 3DSMax. I know that 3D applications may show a greater gap in performance but it would be interesting to see just what the difference is in Adobe's applications.
Well, tom's did do a comparison between the desktop Radeon HD 4870 and the professional FirePro V8700, which uses the exact same GPU, and the workstation optimised drivers do show quite a bit of improvement compared to the HD 4870 in most professional applications.
I kinda figured that the workstation card would win easily in 3D apps that directly use the OpenGL for drawing verts and polys. I think what would be more interesting is video and photo applications that are now accelerated using the GPU. I think it would be interesting to see and have explained exactly what is going on when the different parts either perform or underperform because it is missing this part of the driver or that part.
There are a lot of additional benefits to the professional cards that aren't measured in benchmarks that need to be considered. The professional cards generally get tested more rigorously, so they're more reliable. That extends to the drivers. It's rare to hear of a driver problem with professional cards, but it's fairly common in consumer cards. Also, professional card users typically get better support. They're the mass buyers, so it makes sense that the companies would want to treat them the best.