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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 cardNvidia GeForce GTX 280Nvidia Quadro FX 4800
ChipGT200GT200
Driver182.08182.08
Graphics RAM1,024 MB1,536 MB
Core clock650 MHz600 MHz
Memory clock1,150 MHz800 MHz
Shader clock1,300 MHz1,200 MHz
3ds Max-04 (3D Studio Max)11.5346.23
catia-0215.2257.95
ensight-0318.3454.47
maya-0235.71221.71
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.

  • why do i feel like when everyone compares workstation cards to gaming ones they get it wrong. a 4800 Fx will performs 99% like a 260GTX and if you softmod it to a Quadro than you have the same effect the other way around. really you are paying for driver support. i much rather just pay for the card.
    Reply
  • ankolistoflower
    They really mean it when they say great support. I once got a custom driver made specificly for my system overnight for a glitch I had. It saved me from loosing a client and a few thousand dollars for that one specific gig...
    Reply
  • cangelini
    bob49574why do i feel like when everyone compares workstation cards to gaming ones they get it wrong. a 4800 Fx will performs 99% like a 260GTX and if you softmod it to a Quadro than you have the same effect the other way around. really you are paying for driver support. i much rather just pay for the card.
    I think the comparison to the gaming card came from readers in past workstation card stories requesting such comparisons.
    Reply
  • ph3412b07
    Great article, I appreciate the benches comparing the GTX 280 on workstation apps. I'll spend my money on gaming cards and leave it to corporations to purchase workstations...
    Reply
  • ohim
    cangeliniI think the comparison to the gaming card came from readers in past workstation card stories requesting such comparisons.this is challanging the consumers intelect with all things on the table ... actulay is the same GPU chip but performs so differently because of few modifications ... wonder how much this thing will keep up from nvidia and amd ... makeing their customers stupid so obvious ... i mean it is the same fukin engine at heart why sell it so overpriced ?
    Reply
  • Looking at the results, I cannot understand how you can wholeheartedly recommend FX 4800 over cheaper FirePro V8700. Quadro benchmark results do not seem "convincing" to me since differences are quite small in most cases. The recommendation has to be based on type of work/application someone is using.
    Reply
  • Spathi
    The naming is getting confusing again... FX4800 HD4650 HD4850 ...
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    that nvs 295 sounds interesting...
    Reply
  • armistitiu
    I'm getting tired of NVIDIA's crap: "....but our cards have CUDA support". Enough marketing! I think someone who's willing to buy a card because they want to program on the GPU MUST know that both vendors have a SDK for stream programming and it's actually the SAME thing. I've tried them both (FireStream and CUDA) and there are very little differences between them. If they wanna brag about 3rd party apps...well how many are they? 2? 3? Just wait until OpenCL (sdk and cl) is finally released and maybe then we'll see more applications in this GPGPU area and maybe they'll stop with this "oh but we have CUDA" thing.
    Reply
  • fayskittles
    I would like to see them use riva tuner and to tell the drivers it is not a geforce and see what kind of bench marking they get then. Or the other way around. Turn the workstation card into a gaming card. How about throwing a game on a workstaion card. See how it handles it.
    Reply