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Comparisons And Applications

Workstation Shootout: Nvidia Quadro 5000 Vs. ATI FirePro V8800
ModelGPUFabMainstream EquivalentMemoryDVIDisplayPort3-Pin StereoMax Power
ATi FirePro V8800RV870 Cypress40 nmRadeon HD 58702048 MB GDDR5 (256-bit)2 (Adapter)4Yes
208 W
ATi FirePro V8700RV77055 nmRadeon HD 48701024 MB GDDR5 (256-bit)12Yes
151 W
Nvidia Quadro 5000GF100 Fermi40 nmGeForce GTX 4652560 MB GDDR5 (320-bit)12Yes
152 W
Nvidia Quadro FX 4800GT20065 nmGeForce GTX 2601536 MB GDDR3 (384-bit)12Yes
150 W
ModelMemory Bandwidth
DirectXOpenGLShader ModelCore ClockMemory ClockPixel & Vertex Processing
ATi FirePro V8800147.2 GB/s11.04.15.0825 MHz1150 MHz1600 SPUs
ATi FirePro V8700115.2 GB/s10.14.14.1750 MHz900 MHz800 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro 5000120 GB/s11.04.15.0513 MHz1500 MHz352 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 480076.8 GB/s10.03.14.0600 MHz800 MHz192 SPUs

New Applications

Workstation graphics cards of this caliber are usually employed by engineers. Companies like Autodesk, Dassault and Mental Images offer specialized software solutions. Less-powerful models are a good fit for less-demanding applications in fields like digital content creation and desktop publishing.

As a result of the increasing popularity of 3D movies, demand for workstation cards has increased dramatically in Hollywood and its production studios. In the case of films aimed at a theatrical release (as opposed to straight-to-DVD production) the producers often use a resolution that is four times that of full HD. These companies need a quick way to check how their 3D models will appear to the audience. Since time is money, they obviously want to see the results as quickly as possible, and can’t afford long rendering times every time one of the parameters of a model is altered. One such production company is The Foundry, which also produced several scenes for last year’s blockbuster Avatar.

Workstation cards are also very beneficial for video enhancement. For example, MotionDSP offers a software solution that acts as a retroactive image stabilizer for shaky home videos. One solution used by the police and the military is called Ikena. There is even a freeware variant available to home users called vReveal that also offers image stabilization, but has some other tricks up its sleeve as well.

Current developments in the medical sector are interesting as well. Here, powerful workstation solutions like Nvidia's Quadro are used in real-time 4D imaging. Until recently, imaging systems, such as ultrasound and CAT scans, only provided moving images in 2D. 3D images, on the other hand, were always snapshots. That is different today. Medical equipment able to show the beating heart and the flow of blood through its chambers usually rely on workstation-class graphics cards like the ones we are looking at in this review.

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