Comparisons And Applications
|Model||GPU||Fab||Mainstream Equivalent||Memory||DVI||DisplayPort||3-Pin Stereo||Max Power|
|ATi FirePro V8800||RV870 Cypress||40 nm||Radeon HD 5870||2048 MB GDDR5 (256-bit)||2 (Adapter)||4||Yes||208 W|
|ATi FirePro V8700||RV770||55 nm||Radeon HD 4870||1024 MB GDDR5 (256-bit)||1||2||Yes||151 W|
|Nvidia Quadro 5000||GF100 Fermi||40 nm||GeForce GTX 465||2560 MB GDDR5 (320-bit)||1||2||Yes||152 W|
|Nvidia Quadro FX 4800||GT200||65 nm||GeForce GTX 260||1536 MB GDDR3 (384-bit)||1||2||Yes||150 W|
|Model||Memory Bandwidth||DirectX||OpenGL||Shader Model||Core Clock||Memory Clock||Pixel & Vertex Processing|
|ATi FirePro V8800||147.2 GB/s||11.0||4.1||5.0||825 MHz||1150 MHz||1600 SPUs|
|ATi FirePro V8700||115.2 GB/s||10.1||4.1||4.1||750 MHz||900 MHz||800 SPUs|
|Nvidia Quadro 5000||120 GB/s||11.0||4.1||5.0||513 MHz||1500 MHz||352 SPUs|
|Nvidia Quadro FX 4800||76.8 GB/s||10.0||3.1||4.0||600 MHz||800 MHz||192 SPUs|
Workstation graphics cards of this caliber are usually employed by engineers. Companies like Autodesk, Dassault and Mental Images offer specialized software solutions. Less-powerful models are a good fit for less-demanding applications in fields like digital content creation and desktop publishing.
As a result of the increasing popularity of 3D movies, demand for workstation cards has increased dramatically in Hollywood and its production studios. In the case of films aimed at a theatrical release (as opposed to straight-to-DVD production) the producers often use a resolution that is four times that of full HD. These companies need a quick way to check how their 3D models will appear to the audience. Since time is money, they obviously want to see the results as quickly as possible, and can’t afford long rendering times every time one of the parameters of a model is altered. One such production company is The Foundry, which also produced several scenes for last year’s blockbuster Avatar.
Workstation cards are also very beneficial for video enhancement. For example, MotionDSP offers a software solution that acts as a retroactive image stabilizer for shaky home videos. One solution used by the police and the military is called Ikena. There is even a freeware variant available to home users called vReveal that also offers image stabilization, but has some other tricks up its sleeve as well.
Current developments in the medical sector are interesting as well. Here, powerful workstation solutions like Nvidia's Quadro are used in real-time 4D imaging. Until recently, imaging systems, such as ultrasound and CAT scans, only provided moving images in 2D. 3D images, on the other hand, were always snapshots. That is different today. Medical equipment able to show the beating heart and the flow of blood through its chambers usually rely on workstation-class graphics cards like the ones we are looking at in this review.