Graphics Boosters For OpenGL Workstations

Equipment Table

Product Video Outputs Digital TMDS Displays Stereo Connector Framelock / Genlock Space req. Aux. Power Connector Memory
ATi FireGL T2-128 VGA + DVI-I 1 single link no no 1 slot no 128 MB
ATi FireGL X1-128 DVI-I + DVI-I 2 single link no no 1 slot yes 128 MB
ATi FireGL X1-256 DVI-I + DVI-I 2 single link yes no 2 slots yes 256 MB
ATi FireGL Z1-128 DVI-I + DVI-I 2 single link no no 1 slot yes 128 MB
ATi FireGL X2-256 DVI-I + DVI-I 2 single link no no 1 slot yes 256 MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 500 VGA + DVI-I 1 single link no no 1 slot no 128 MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1000 DVI-I + DVI-I 2 single link yes no 1 slot yes 128 MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 2000 DVI-I + DVI-I 1 dual link yes no 2 slots yes 128 MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000 DVI-I + DVI-I 1 dual link yes no 2 slots yes 256 MB
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000G DVI-I + DVI-I 1 dual link yes yes 2 slots yes 256 MB

Conclusion: NVIDIA Performance Leader, ATI More Performance For The Money

The Quadro FX 3000 from NVIDIA is the undisputed winner in the performance category of the comparison test. But customers have to fork over a wad of cash for this card. Not everyone is willing to pay street prices of $2000 for the FX 3000 and even $3000 for the FX 3000G. At $900, the FireGL X2-256 is a real bargain by comparison. And its performance isn't shabby, either.

In general, the test shows that ATI has the better price/performance ratio.

For engineering offices with modest requirements for rendering performance and a small budget, the FireGL T2-128 is a good choice. While this entry-level product may cost $50 more than the Quadro FX 500, it also delivers better performance figures.

Compared with earlier OpenGL tests, not everything went smoothly this time. The Quadro FX 3000 and the FireGL T2-128 at first crashed in the 3D-Studio-Max benchmark. The problem even occurred on two different test platforms with E7505 and i875P chipsets. NVIDIA was finally able to solve the problem with a driver update, while ATI can only handle this partial test on the i875P system with a certain AGP aperture setting. Thus, the old rule still applies: OpenGL hardware can be produced fast while drivers take a little longer. However, suppliers have eradicated the major bugs, so we now can give buyers the green light.

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