When Uwe reviewed the FirePro V8800, he concluded that it trailed the Quadro 5000 in almost every benchmark and rightly awarded Nvidia’s board a victory.
Then AMD got its drivers into better shape. The FirePro V8800 would likely still trail the Quadro by a notable margin today. Remember that the FirePro card also sells for significantly less, though.
Today’s comparison is far less balanced from a pricing perspective. The V9800 is a $3500 card, while the Quadro is available under $2000. That premium gets you a 4 GB frame buffer (which AMD says is good for massive rendering tasks), six display outputs (which works well for professionals doing their jobs across huge desktops), and frame lock/genlock support. If none of those features sound important to you, the FirePro V8800 is a more sensible board to consider. Fortunately, the performance reported here, with the latest drivers, should be representative of that card, too. The V9800 only runs 25 MHz faster than the V8800, and we didn’t use any workloads capable of taxing that large repository of GDDR5. From that angle, we’re simply updating Uwe’s results from September with newer software, and coming to the same conclusion—generally, Nvidia’s Quadro is the faster card.
AMD and Nvidia each have their own fortes that make generalizations much less meaningful than they’d be in a desktop graphics card review.
If you’re a creative professional working with Adobe’s CS5 suite, then the Quadro is hands-down a no-brainer. The fact that Nvidia had the engineers to help develop Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine was a huge strategic win for both Adobe and Nvidia. The former was languishing in its development, only just implementing 64-bit support, while the latter needed a more complete GPU-based acceleration solution than Elemental’s Accelerator plug-in for CS4. The extent to which hardware support speeds up the rendering of effects-heavy work simply embarrasses the FirePro lineup. And if you didn’t watch the video of the Paladin trailer we used for testing, you really owe it to yourself to check out.
At the same time, it’s possible that Nvidia’s emphasis on GPGPU computing caused it to fall behind elsewhere. AMD’s Eyefinity technology has proven to be a boon on the desktop space, and it’s now strutting its stuff in the workstation market. The FirePro V9800’s ability to drive six DisplayPort-equipped displays concurrently is unprecedented. If that’s a capability that means something to you, you’re only going to find it in one place. Even AMD’s FirePro V8800 can do four simultaneous display outputs, while Nvidia’s highest-end board is limited to a now-pedestrian two.
Clearly, this story doesn’t end with a handful of tests from SPEC. There was a period there, after the workstation graphics market consolidated down to ATI and Nvidia, that professional cards looked a lot like their desktop counterparts with some special driver sauce sprinkled on top. Now we’re looking at true differentiating features that steer professionals toward one product or the other based on their tasks.
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Nvidia shines in the industrial/commercial/scientific market, with their driver team and CUDA/GPGPU tech. Too bad the V9800 fell short of expectations. Also, Nividia cards are obviously going to have better results in Adobe Mercury since both companies worked together on hardware optimization. AMD needs to be more aggressive in working together with software makers, (including games!) to have a stronger hold on both the CPU and GPU markets. Overall, a good read.Reply
It would actually make sense if they compared with the V8800 and the Quadro 6000. We also need a review of the Quadro 4000, 2000 and the 800, along with the lower Firepro 3D series.Reply
reprotectedIt would actually make sense if they compared with the V8800 and the Quadro 6000. We also need a review of the Quadro 4000, 2000 and the 600, along with the lower Firepro 3D series.1. Definetly, a review of the "lower end" cards would be nice.Reply
2. Plus, it would be nice to see how well the SLi cards scale.
3. Also, with the updated (e)nVidia desktop cards (GF100 to GF110), will the Quadro ones see a revision too - if so, when?
Benchmark with gpu base render engin like mental images IRay or Chaos Group V-Ray RTReply
radiovan1. Definetly, a review of the "lower end" cards would be nice.2. Plus, it would be nice to see how well the SLi cards scale.3. Also, with the updated (e)nVidia desktop cards (GF100 to GF110), will the Quadro ones see a revision too - if so, when?Reply
Good question (3), I'll ask!
This was a rather underwhelming test suit. I think the fundamental problem you have is that most of the tests you ran were CPU based.Reply
What most of these production apps use the GPU for is on the fly rendering. For example, sculpting in blender can tax the GPU quite nicely given enough vectors. Another good blender one would be playing back a super resolution baked fluid simulation in real time. For example, take the tom's hardware logo you had before, turn it into water and let the water fall onto a flat surface. Bake the simulation with a ridiculous resolution (as much as you can before blender crashes) and then play the simulation back in real time while watching 5 high definition videos at the same time.
What a disappointment, hopefully next firepro will be aa winner.Reply
The FirePro has still the long way to go to catch up with the Quadro. I hope ATI makes good progress in the workstation models soon like they have come a long way in the desktop market.Reply
In this article's conclusion appeared this statement:Reply
"If you’re a creative professional working with Adobe’s CS5 suite, then the Quadro is hands-down a no-brainer."
Benchmarks indicate that the lower priced GTX 480 is a far better choice (cost effective)for those taking advantage of the Mercury Playback Engine running Premiere Pro CS5.
At the top of this page, click on the "MPE Performance Chart" to get a comparison between the different Nvidia Cards with Premiere Pro CS5.