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Nvidia Quadro FX 4800: Workstation Graphics At Its Finest?

Nvidia Quadro FX 4800: Workstation Graphics At Its Finest?
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Nvidia's gaming graphics cards have been slowly moving away from the old-faithful G80 chip. Now, in fact, Nvidia's latest workstation offerings are outfitted with derivatives of Nvidia's GT200 GPUs, which many have come to know through their inclusion in the cheaper mainstream GeForce GTX 260 and 280 cards.

The first entrants in this product line are the Quadro FX 5800 at the extreme high-end, with its 4 GB frame buffer, and the more "reasonably priced" Quadro FX 4800, with its 1.5 GB of graphics memory. That latter board found its way into our test labs, so that we could put it through its paces. In a few weeks, we expect to get our hands on other models in this series as well.

The FX 4800 commands a price premium of over $300 compared to the equivalent FirePro V8700 from AMD's ATI division, which online resellers retail for about $1,250. Can buyers expect a boost in features and performance for this extra outlay? First, let's take a look at the comparable cards and their speeds and feeds from both companies in the tables that follow, then we'll get around to answering this burning question.

Workstation Graphics Cards and their Mainstream Equivalents
Workstation ModelDerivative GPU
FabMainstream-EquivalentGraphics RAM
3-Pin StereoDisplayPort
Nvidia Quadro FX 5600G8090 nmGeForce 88001,536 MB GDDR3yes
no
Nvidia Quadro FX 4800GT20065  nmGeForce GTX 260 (280)
1,536 MB GDDR3yesyes
Nvidia Quadro FX 4600G8090 nmGeForce 8800768 MB GDDR3yes
no
Nvidia Quadro FX 1700G8480 nmGeForce 8600512 MB DDR2yesno
ATI FirePro V8700RV77055 nmRadeon HD 48701,024 MB GDDR5yesyes
ATI FireGL V7700RV67055 nmRadeon HD 3850512 MB GDDR4yesyes
ATI FireGL V5600RV63065 nmRadeon HD 2600 XT512 MB GDDR4nono
ATI FireGL V3600RV63065 nmRadeon HD 2600 Pro256 MB DDR2nono
Workstation ModelMemory (RAM) BandwidthDirectXOpenGLShader ModelCore ClockMemory ClockPixel & Vertex Processing
Nvidia Quadro FX 560076.8 GB/s102.14.0600 MHz800 MHz112 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 480076.8 GB/s103.04.0600 MHz800 MHz192 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 460067.2 GB/s102.14.0500 MHz700 MHz112 SPUs
Nvidia Quadro FX 170012.8 GB/s102.14.0460 MHz400 MHz32 SPUs
ATI FirePro V8700115.2 GB/s10.12.14.0750 MHz900 MHz800 SPUs
ATI FireGL V770072.0 GB/s10.12.14.0775 MHz1,125 MHz320 SPUs
ATI FireGL V560035.1 GB/s102.14.0800 MHz1,100 MHz120 SPUs
ATI FireGL V360015.8 GB/s102.14.0600 MHz500 MHz120 SPUs

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  • 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.
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