Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Performance Gaming Vs. Workstation: GeForce GTX 280 And Quadro FX 4800

Nvidia Quadro FX 4800: Workstation Graphics At Its Finest?
By

Transforming a gaming card like the GeForce GTX 280 into an equivalent workstation model is something that Nvidia quite naturally wants to forestall. Attempts to use workstation drivers in gaming cards by consumers just to see "if they work" are inevitable because the hardware is only minimally different. Since Nvidia inserts special values into its video BIOSes to prevent dissimulation, such attempts are doomed to failure.

Technically, Nvidia offers significantly different drivers for its workstation cards as compared to gaming models. After the sale, Nvidia also offers significantly better product support for workstation models as well. Higher prices for the Quadro models also commanded from a lower number of products sold, higher support costs, and a longer warranty period. In return, buyers can expect swift responses when hardware defects are uncovered. In most cases an exchange will be made ASAP (in no more than 24 hours). Gaming card buyers, on the other hand, don't enjoy this level of service or support (but then, they don't pay for it, either).

As one might expect, the gaming card is carefully impeded and is largely unable to exercise its performance potential when running workstation applications. Our benchmarks show this phenomenon at work clearly and unmistakably.

Performance Comparison: Viewperf 10
Graphics card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 280Nvidia Quadro FX 4800
ChipGT200GT200
Driver182.08182.08
Graphics RAM
1,024 MB1,536 MB
Core clock650 MHz600 MHz
Memory clock
1,150 MHz800 MHz
Shader clock
1,300 MHz1,200 MHz
3ds Max-04 (3D Studio Max)11.5346.23
catia-0215.2257.95
ensight-0318.3454.47
maya-0235.71221.71
proe-04 (Pro/Engineer)14.7260.59
sw-01 (Solidworks)12.94128.71
tcvis-01 (UGS Teamcenter Visualization)4.7739.36
ugnx-01 (UGS NX)5.8933.72


A Quadro FX 4800 moves up to 10 times faster when running workstation applications than the GeForce GTX 280. This leads swiftly to a clear and inescapable conclusion: there's no good reason to use a GeForce graphics card for workstation applications. It just doesn't pay.

Display all 79 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 6:21 AM
    why do i feel like when everyone compares workstation cards to gaming ones they get it wrong. a 4800 Fx will performs 99% like a 260GTX and if you softmod it to a Quadro than you have the same effect the other way around. really you are paying for driver support. i much rather just pay for the card.
  • 2 Hide
    ankolistoflower , April 15, 2009 6:50 AM
    They really mean it when they say great support. I once got a custom driver made specificly for my system overnight for a glitch I had. It saved me from loosing a client and a few thousand dollars for that one specific gig...
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , April 15, 2009 6:52 AM
    bob49574why do i feel like when everyone compares workstation cards to gaming ones they get it wrong. a 4800 Fx will performs 99% like a 260GTX and if you softmod it to a Quadro than you have the same effect the other way around. really you are paying for driver support. i much rather just pay for the card.


    I think the comparison to the gaming card came from readers in past workstation card stories requesting such comparisons.
  • 0 Hide
    ph3412b07 , April 15, 2009 6:55 AM
    Great article, I appreciate the benches comparing the GTX 280 on workstation apps. I'll spend my money on gaming cards and leave it to corporations to purchase workstations...
  • -2 Hide
    ohim , April 15, 2009 7:00 AM
    cangeliniI think the comparison to the gaming card came from readers in past workstation card stories requesting such comparisons.

    this is challanging the consumers intelect with all things on the table ... actulay is the same GPU chip but performs so differently because of few modifications ... wonder how much this thing will keep up from nvidia and amd ... makeing their customers stupid so obvious ... i mean it is the same fukin engine at heart why sell it so overpriced ?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 7:19 AM
    Looking at the results, I cannot understand how you can wholeheartedly recommend FX 4800 over cheaper FirePro V8700. Quadro benchmark results do not seem "convincing" to me since differences are quite small in most cases. The recommendation has to be based on type of work/application someone is using.
  • -2 Hide
    Spathi , April 15, 2009 7:30 AM
    The naming is getting confusing again... FX4800 HD4650 HD4850 ...
  • -1 Hide
    tacoslave , April 15, 2009 8:25 AM
    that nvs 295 sounds interesting...
  • -2 Hide
    armistitiu , April 15, 2009 8:26 AM
    I'm getting tired of NVIDIA's crap: "....but our cards have CUDA support". Enough marketing! I think someone who's willing to buy a card because they want to program on the GPU MUST know that both vendors have a SDK for stream programming and it's actually the SAME thing. I've tried them both (FireStream and CUDA) and there are very little differences between them. If they wanna brag about 3rd party apps...well how many are they? 2? 3? Just wait until OpenCL (sdk and cl) is finally released and maybe then we'll see more applications in this GPGPU area and maybe they'll stop with this "oh but we have CUDA" thing.
  • 7 Hide
    fayskittles , April 15, 2009 9:11 AM
    I would like to see them use riva tuner and to tell the drivers it is not a geforce and see what kind of bench marking they get then. Or the other way around. Turn the workstation card into a gaming card. How about throwing a game on a workstaion card. See how it handles it.
  • 1 Hide
    falchard , April 15, 2009 10:15 AM
    I don't think a business will select a card based on how it does overrall in these benchmarks but how they do in individual benchmarks. I think there is a good reason to go with the FireStream instead if you are using something like Maya predominantly.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 11:37 AM
    I think you do know that they are getting an extremely responsive support team which comes when you pay the premium price of Quadro, right?
  • 3 Hide
    empstar , April 15, 2009 12:02 PM
    fayskittles wrote:
    How about throwing a game on a workstaion card. See how it handles it.


    ya I agree. I want to see the score too. Crysis, 3D mark Vantage etc.
  • 1 Hide
    sisley_111 , April 15, 2009 12:15 PM
    Does the card support SLI ? Or does the programs like Maya and 3DS support SLI ?
  • 0 Hide
    marokero , April 15, 2009 12:48 PM
    Thanks for the article. I wonder if there's a chance Nvidia will send you one of their Tesla solutions for review...
  • -1 Hide
    Tindytim , April 15, 2009 1:19 PM
    cangeliniI think the comparison to the gaming card came from readers in past workstation card stories requesting such comparisons.

    Eh, it would have been more interesting if it was softmodded. I know the GT200's don't take well to being softmodded (appearntly it is possible), but I doubt anyone thought the performance would be the same unmodified.
  • 0 Hide
    Railgun1369 , April 15, 2009 1:37 PM
    empstar, I'm with you on that one. Why only a one way comparo. Let's see the workstation card on the game front.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 3:16 PM
    but will it play Crysis?
  • -3 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 3:22 PM
    I always h
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 15, 2009 3:24 PM
    Me being an ATI fan, I always find it a pitty when NVidia overtakes ATI.
    But then again I can be grateful to NVidia for giving alternatives, and for allowing the concurrence to drop prices of these cards.

    Sorry for my previous post,I accidentally pressed the submit button.
    I wished sometimes we could delete, or modify our previous posts.
Display more comments