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Workstation Vs Graphics Cards? price/performance

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 21, 2003 2:27:57 AM

One question I have never been able to get a clear answer on, is what performance am I going to get for with a workstation card in comparison to a games card of the same price.

For instance, If I was to pay $400 for a top of the line games card, what would I expect to get from a $400 workstation card.?
Is a 400$ workstation card going to draw my 3ds max stuff faster and clearer and handle more polys than a $400 top of the range 3d games card? Because $400 is nothing when it comes to top of the line workstation cards.?

Would the workstation card (of equivelent price) be anywhere near as good at rendering 3d games???

It seems to me that workstation cards are just overly priced games cards with a driver tweak.

I guess my question comes down to..
If I have 400$ and do both games and fairly intensive 3d work, would it be worth considering a workstation card?

Thanks
Adam
November 21, 2003 3:38:07 AM

Workstation cards are usually optimized for huge polygon count and overdraw. They're not meant to render at 100 FPS but rather provide a consistent performance for intensive work. A game card is optimized for relativly low polygon count and overdraw. Performance drops much more drastically.

Most games use visibility determination in software to make sure the card is not stressed too much. This is possible because most games have narrow corridors blocking most of the surroundings, and models still clearly have sharp edges. A workstation card will have it's own visibility determination system in hardware so that even gigantic city design and rounded objects can be rendered at smooth framerates. In a nutshell, a game card uses brute force while a workstation card tries to play smart.

Anyway, 3DS MAX only uses your card for the design and preview window since the final image is mostly ray-traced. So unless it becomes unmanageably slow when working with huge scenes, I think you should be fine with a high-end game card. Many workstation cards also only have good OpenGL drivers.
a b U Graphics card
November 21, 2003 5:03:58 AM

Sometimes the $400 pro card is nothing more than a $250 gaming card with different BIOS! There are driver hacks that can force such game cards to be configured as professional cards.

When you buy a pro card, you're supposedly paying mostly for driver developement. In reality, you're paying more because card companies know they can charge more.

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February 12, 2009 10:23:13 PM

OK so these comments are pretty old.

Does anyone have any info with cards available in the beginning of 2009?
Seems like 'gaming' cards are damn fast now. How much better would be a 'workstation' card?
April 30, 2009 1:49:23 AM

I'm with tonykara on this one, whats the current consensus? I remember back then that there were driver tweaks available, but as far as i know people dont really do that anymore? Who has answers?
July 6, 2009 7:11:37 PM

Also with tonykara,

a google of "workstation cards" brings up this thread as #1, but it is out of date.

There doesn't seem to be much clear info on the merits of a workstation card vs a gaming card.

a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 7:15:59 PM

STOP RAISING DEAD THEARDS!!

I botherd to read the first two posts only to see they are 7 damn years old!!!!

If you msut have a question answered, look harder (this has been answered a million times). If you still cant find teh answer post in a new thread so we can tell you to use google there (and probalby answer your question to boot), while at the same time not wasting my time reading this old crap.
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 7:27:26 PM

To be quite honest, it had some relevance to the way things were done and as to whether they might still do that...

It seems he people have looked in google etc... maybe you cross posted to person pointing that out

When I have looked up relatively hard to find info there is NOTHING more infuriating than a post like yours...
...an Answer in the thread is Much more useful

even when it has been answred a million times - trawling through google only to see each thread killed by "Go Look It Up :fou:  " is maddening :( 
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 8:55:16 PM

That is an issue with the way google includes forum posts in its engine, not with the forums themselves.

Forums are not designed to make the best google hits. It is designed for us to look at as forums. If a forum post gives good info for those google users that is fine, but it is not the requirement. I understand that old threads may creep into google, but that is no reason to bump it.. Read it, if you have more questions make a new thead. If we start talking about things in a thread with posts from a decade ago it just spreads confusion if said posts are now incorrect from age.

Asking a question a million times over is damn annoying too, but we still answer them time and time again.. It is an entirely different beast raising things from the dead for no real reason then to tell us it appears on google. Everything appears on google...

While it may not be as huge an issue with this topic, as it does have some relevance today, thre are a million necromanced threads that do have abolutely no relevance anymore. It is simply far more polite to those that use teh forums not to needlessly bump something for 6 or 7 years ago, as 99% of the time it is outdated and just serves to confuse people..

Besides that, if someone is telling a person to stop being lazy and look up info for themselves then it is probalby easy to find info. Were this info hard to find I woudlnt have said anything about going to look it up.But it is not, a simple forum search finds dozens of hits, the product page for any professional card will also explain the entire situation... But as I said, being lazy and necromancing an old thread are entirely different problems..
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 9:20:01 PM

in many cases I agree with you very much too, but as you said, maybe not so much this time


I had just had a Very frustrating time on another forum trying to find some rare accurate info on a common topic people asked about...

Took me maybe 1.5 hours or more reading through hundreds of threads all with either wrong info or mostly saying go look it up
out of 13 pages of matching forum search results I finally found what I needed on an ancient thread...

A quick answer with a "Go Look it up next time" can help a many people in their searches ^^
a b U Graphics card
July 6, 2009 11:55:50 PM

You are correct. I guess I rank annoyances in a different order though. :D 

Cheers.
September 5, 2009 3:02:29 AM

What a shame. All these years, and not one answer to the original post -- which, by the way, is still a relevant question:

For $400, what card will run my CAD software best?

For $200?
September 5, 2009 3:13:09 AM

quick lookthrough at newegg and for $200 workstation cards, you're only getting some old warehouse inventory pretty much, stuff looks weak, for 2-400 bux you're best with gaming gfx imo - btw if people google its not their fault, the good thing about forums is unless its closed, YOU'RE allowed to POST
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