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The Pro Market And Workstation Graphics Technology

Pro Graphics: Seven Cards Compared
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Where do we stand technologically? Product cycles in professional cards like these move more slowly than in the mainstream segment. Thus, Nvidia has already introduced the GeForce GTX 280 to the market, which is based on the GT200 graphic chip with a manufacturing process of 65 nanometers. The top-of-the-line model introduced here, the Quadro FX 5600, is still based on the G80 at 90 nanometers. Nvidia already took two intermediate steps by developing the G84, G86 and G92 at 80 nm and 65 nm.

With regard to manufacturing processes, AMD has the advantage, as the FireGL V7700 is already produced at 55 nm. With the presentation of the Radeon HD 4000-series, AMD has already arrived with the RV770, which is employed in the HD 4850 and HD 4870.

Perhaps you can get to know more about future FireGL and Quadro products from this year’s Siggraph. We would also like to point out two interesting software initiatives. For more information on Nvidia’s CUDA platform, check out this story. The competition counters with its own Stream Computing program.

Editor’s note: It’s also important to point out that most workstation customers are still using Windows XP, as the move to Vista—especially in the professional space—is still happening very slowly.

Workstation Cards and Their Mainstream Gaming Equivalents
Workstation-
Model
Chip-
Basis
FabMainstream-
Equivalent
Graphics Memory3-Pin StereoDisplay Port
ATi FireGL V8650R60080 nmRadeon HD 2900 XT2048 MB GDDR4yesno
ATi FireGL V8600R60080 nmRadeon HD 2900 XT1024 MB GDDR4yesno
ATi FireGL V7700RV67055 nmRadeon HD 3850512 MB GDDR4yesyes
ATi FireGL V7600R60080 nmRadeon HD 2900512 MB GDDR3yesno
ATi FireGL V7300R52090 nmRadeon X1800512 MB GDDR3yesno
ATi FireGL V5600RV63065 nmRadeon HD 2600 XT512 MB GDDR4nono
ATi FireGL V3600RV63065 nmRadeon HD 2600 Pro256 MB DDR2nono
Nvidia Quadro FX 5600G8090 nmGeForce 88001536 MB GDDR3yesno
Nvidia Quadro FX 4600G8090 nmGeForce 8800768 MB GDDR3yesno
Nvidia Quadro FX 4500G70110 nmGeForce 7800512 MB GDDR3yesno
Nvidia Quadro FX 1700G8480 nmGeForce 8600512 MB DDR2yesno
Nvidia Quadro FX 570G8480 nmGeForce 8600256 MB DDR2nono
Nvidia Quadro FX 370G8480 nmGeForce 8600256 MB DDR2nono

Overview of important Features
Workstation-
Model
Memory BandwidthDirectXOpenGLShader ModelCore ClockMemory ClockPixel & Vertex Processing
ATi FireGL V8650111 GB/s102.14.0675 MHz868 MHz320 SPUs
ATi FireGL V8600111 GB/s102.14.0675 MHz868 MHz320 SPUs
ATi FireGL V770072,0 GB/s10.12.14.0775 MHz1125 MHz320 SPUs
ATi FireGL V760051,0 GB/s102.14.0500 MHz510 MHz320 SPUs
ATi FireGL V730041,6 GB/s9.0c2.03.0600 MHz650 MHz16 P / 8 V
ATi FireGL V560035,1 GB/s102.14.0800 MHz1100 MHz120 SPUs
ATi FireGL V360015,8 GB/s102.14.0600 MHz500 MHz120 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 560076,8 GB/s102.14.0600 MHz800 MHz112 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 460067,2 GB/s102.14.0500 MHz700 MHz112 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 450033,6 GB/s9.0c2.03.0430 MHz525 MHz24 P / 8 V
Nvidia Quadro FX 170012,8 GB/s102.14.0460 MHz400 MHz32 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 57012,8 GB/s102.14.0460 MHz400 MHz16 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 3706,4 GB/s102.14.0360 MHz400 MHz16 SPUs

Key: SPUs = Stream Processing Units; P = Pixel Shader; V = Vertex Shader

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