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Comparing 90's Workstation with today's GPUs

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 1, 2012 2:23:35 PM

I used to work at Sun in the 90's and sold lots of engineering workstations for $30,000+. I've been looking for some common stats between today's GPU and the metrics we used back in the 'dark ages' of 100Mhz CPUs and 4MB Graphics cards.

I'm trying to answer a general question as to how much faster a ~$500 card is today vs a top-shelf system. We looked at Vectors/Sec, Triangles/Sec - but those don't seem to be tested or measured any more...
a b U Graphics card
November 1, 2012 2:33:30 PM

Don't know why you really need this information, but lets just say right now, with the gpus we have and cpus, we would $%#@@^! all over the computers back then.
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November 1, 2012 3:02:50 PM

While I don't disagree - I was looking for a metric a little more precise than $%#@@^!. I was explaining to my kids that a 'super-expensive' $500 card today was way more capable than a 30-50K workstation from not too long ago. Is it 100X? 1,000X? 1,000,000x?

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a c 216 U Graphics card
November 1, 2012 3:20:45 PM

The best you might be able to do is compare benchmarks, if you can even get a system to use a benchmarked used back then. Hardware is so different today then back then, comparing seems impossible.

The best I can think of is if you work your way up in spec's starting at the system you want compared to something a few years newer, and do the math. You may be able to find system comparisons in 2 year increments until you reach today.
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a b U Graphics card
November 1, 2012 3:30:01 PM

bystander said:
The best you might be able to do is compare benchmarks, if you can even get a system to use a benchmarked used back then. Hardware is so different today then back then, comparing seems impossible.

The best I can think of is if you work your way up in spec's starting at the system you want compared to something a few years newer, and do the math. You may be able to find system comparisons in 2 year increments until you reach today.


+1

Its not really feasible making comparisons as simple as a ratio.. New technologies have emegred since then offering completely different solutions... Back then it wasn't uncommon to have 2d and 3d cards as completely seperate devices and the programs used have evolved to make better use of the hardware....

Is this in relation graphic design and publishing? if so then you really have to factor in software development as well...

You may have difficulty finding benchmarks comparing 90's technology with todays....

My first Graphics card was a 3dfx Voodoo 2 and now have 570's in SLI, not workstation graphics but I was only 10... I cant even think of how they compare...its like a bicycle and a motorbike, they both have 2 wheels but worlds apart...

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November 1, 2012 7:18:40 PM

Well look at super computers. From 2007 to now (5 years) the fastest super computer today is 120X faster than 2007. That's just 5 years...
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November 1, 2012 7:21:28 PM

If I had to guess it'd be around 50,000 times faster.
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November 1, 2012 7:50:50 PM

Heres an interesting video about the road map of gpus from 1990 to 2006 with nvidia.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbcQIteef1Y

As far as a number to show how much faster it is.. I agree with the above posts. That's a hard hard thing to do just because of how much the software and hardware has advanced. They're not only faster, but able to process things they couldn't in the 90's.

Good luck :D 

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