OpenGL: ATi FireGL X2-256t and NVIDIA Quadro FX 1100

No Major Innovations

Gone are the days when resellers could make a fortune selling business PCs. Ten years ago, a high-performance graphic workstation would have set you back 30 times as much as a conventional PC. Then, a high-end workstation could easily cost as much as a luxury-class car. Customers still paid five times the price fewer than five years ago. Today, however, vendors struggle to justify the price of a high-end graphics workstation that is twice the price of a conventional PC. A 50% premium, along with a reliable service contract, is about as much as many are willing to pay.

Pricing pressures have also trickled downstream into the graphics card market. Now, for example, the crème de la crème of product development is only bought by a meager 1% of all purchasers. In the case of OpenGL, most buyers work in the automotive design or film production sectors. Unlike during the past, the vast majority of buyers only need medium-performance graphics, which now generally suffice for most applications.

Nowadays, a notebook with OpenGL enabled graphics that offers satisfactory performance, has become affordable. In this comparison, we test ATi's FireGL X2-256t and NVIDIA's Quadro FX 1100 , and compare the two boards with their predecessors, the X2-256 (without "t") and the FX 1000. The test platform used was the HP Workstation xw4100 , for which we also provide performance specifications.

Uwe Scheffel