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Pro Graphics: Seven Cards Compared

The Pro Market And Workstation Graphics Technology

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-ModelChip-BasisFabMainstream-EquivalentGraphics 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
Workstation-ModelMemory 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

  • zajooo
    Hi guys,

    I was allways wondering, how it would look with comparison of these cards with gamers cards, wheather the gamer ones did not give us as we say "Lot of music, for a little money". Whould we get simmilar results in the field of geometry transformation, without using any alliasing a any of the really not necessary features ???

    Thanx
    Reply
  • Evendon
    I would also like to know how these cards handle games. Especially im interested in how mobile versions of quodro fx work with games.
    I would also like to play with my work laptop with quodro fx-chip (fx 3600m)
    Reply
  • neiroatopelcc
    I was pretty much wondering how low a geforce 8800gt or ati 4750 would stack? given the lowest prices in denmark for a v3600 or fx570 start at 1150kr and a 8800gt256 costs only 680kr (4750 @ 1070kr), they're comparable in the budget department.

    We're only doing basic grid stuff mostly at work, but we're using intel 945 chipsets with onboard graphics for that - the pentium dualcore seems to do that okay, but it isn't happy about textures at all. However for those things we use old p4's with geforce 6600gt cards - not quadro anything, and I can't help to wonder if using gamer cards is the right or wrong choice (worked great for us so far).


    ps. we use inventor, mechanical desktop and revit from autodesk (newest and second newest versions only), so only the 3dstudio results are interesting for me.
    Reply
  • venteras
    Where's the Quadro FX 3700 and 4700?

    I don't see how you can do a review dated 13 August that seemingly cover all current main stream cards and not have 2 of NVidia's primary cards included?

    Was this paid for by ATI?
    Reply
  • sma8
    zajoooHi guys,I was allways wondering, how it would look with comparison of these cards with gamers cards, wheather the gamer ones did not give us as we say "Lot of music, for a little money". Whould we get simmilar results in the field of geometry transformation, without using any alliasing a any of the really not necessary features ???Thanx
    Pro graphic cards are different from gamers/consumer cards. Pro graphic cards are designed to be capable of handling workstations applications such as AutoCAD or 3D Studio MAX whereas gamers/consumer cards are designed for desktop pc apps or games. You can see the differences of both cards here:
    http://www.nvidia.com/object/builtforprofessionals.html
    That's a good example how both cards work in workstation application. That's why pro graphic cards cost very expensive
    Reply
  • anonymous1000
    Hello. Thank you for the interesting article. What is also interesting is the huge gap between Spec results and my day to day experiences with ATI pro cards. When the first spec results showed up, I started recommending my clients to buy FireGL 3600-8600 cards but nfortunately, they where VERY pour performers in 3DSMAX work... apart from the fact that you couldn't even use half of their strength with the first drivers, even now, comparing the FPS count on the V5600 card with that of 9600GT on 3DSMAX shows it is much more comfortable to work with the latest.. If you want to move a large project on your viewport it moves allot faster if you have a 9600GT card installed. THIS is a benchmark I would like to see here because IT REALLY MATTERS to animators. Thank you
    Reply
  • hixbot
    nobofy?
    Reply
  • bydesign
    sma8Pro graphic cardshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_processing_unit are different from gamers/consumer cards. Pro graphic cards are designed to be capable of handling workstations applications such as AutoCAD or 3D Studio MAX whereas gamers/consumer cards are designed for desktop pc apps or games. You can see the differences of both cards here:http://www.nvidia.com/object/built onals.htmlThat's a good example how both cards work in workstation application. That's why pro graphic cards cost very expensive
    Not true I can flash the bios on my 8800 GTX and it will run just like it's workstation cousin. They are using the same hardware but handicapping the consumer card.
    Reply
  • theLaminator
    Wish this article had been published about three days ago, it would've made my decision on which new laptop to get for school (i'm an engineering major, so i actually will use this). I finally decided on an HP with with the FireGL v5600, looks like a made the right choice based on these benchmarks. Guess we'll see when I actually get it and try it in application.
    Reply
  • "I would also like to know how these cards handle games. Especially im interested in how mobile versions of quodro fx work with games.
    I would also like to play with my work laptop with quodro fx-chip (fx 3600m)"

    I also have a Quadro 3600M in my laptop. In 3dMark06, I get a score of 8800. COD4 and UT3 run smoothly with all settings maxed out at 1900x1200. Quadro cards are as good or better at gaming as their Geforce equivalents.
    Reply