Graphics Boosters For OpenGL Workstations

SIGGRAPH Puts On The Pressure

Everything's changed this year. Not long ago, you had to wait around three months for the OpenGL derivatives of mainstream graphics cards to come onto the market. Low demand in times of stagnation has apparently forced a change of thinking among manufacturers.

NVIDIA's NV35GL OpenGL model for use with the Quadro FX 3000, for example, is set to be ready not long after the launch of the NV35 graphics chip, the GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, and right on time for the SIGGRAPH computer trade show.

ATI has acted similarly.

Success in the OpenGL graphics card market does not just depend on the equipment. The bottom line is reliability. Workstation buyers often pay more than twice the price for an OpenGL card, despite the fact that the hardware reveals only tiny changes to its mainstream equivalent. The main difference is in the driver development.

We found the whole business a bit dubious: Have NVIDIA and ATI managed to drastically shorten the development times for drivers or not? It takes a lot more than simply handing over the equipment to the THG test lab.

This test puts ATI's FireGL X2-256 in the ring with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000. Besides these high-end products, we also put budget cards Quadro FX 500 and FireGL T2-128 to the test. The FX 1000 and FX 2000 , and the X1 and Z1 are still current. The latter were also put through the same hoops.

Uwe Scheffel