Nvidia Quadro FX 4800: Workstation Graphics At Its Finest?

Performance Gaming Vs. Workstation: GeForce GTX 280 And Quadro FX 4800

Transforming a gaming card like the GeForce GTX 280 into an equivalent workstation model is something that Nvidia quite naturally wants to forestall. Attempts to use workstation drivers in gaming cards by consumers just to see "if they work" are inevitable because the hardware is only minimally different. Since Nvidia inserts special values into its video BIOSes to prevent dissimulation, such attempts are doomed to failure.

Technically, Nvidia offers significantly different drivers for its workstation cards as compared to gaming models. After the sale, Nvidia also offers significantly better product support for workstation models as well. Higher prices for the Quadro models also commanded from a lower number of products sold, higher support costs, and a longer warranty period. In return, buyers can expect swift responses when hardware defects are uncovered. In most cases an exchange will be made ASAP (in no more than 24 hours). Gaming card buyers, on the other hand, don't enjoy this level of service or support (but then, they don't pay for it, either).

As one might expect, the gaming card is carefully impeded and is largely unable to exercise its performance potential when running workstation applications. Our benchmarks show this phenomenon at work clearly and unmistakably.

Performance Comparison: Viewperf 10
Graphics card
Nvidia GeForce GTX 280Nvidia Quadro FX 4800
Graphics RAM
1,024 MB1,536 MB
Core clock650 MHz600 MHz
Memory clock
1,150 MHz800 MHz
Shader clock
1,300 MHz1,200 MHz
3ds Max-04 (3D Studio Max)11.5346.23
proe-04 (Pro/Engineer)14.7260.59
sw-01 (Solidworks)12.94128.71
tcvis-01 (UGS Teamcenter Visualization)4.7739.36
ugnx-01 (UGS NX)5.8933.72

A Quadro FX 4800 moves up to 10 times faster when running workstation applications than the GeForce GTX 280. This leads swiftly to a clear and inescapable conclusion: there's no good reason to use a GeForce graphics card for workstation applications. It just doesn't pay.