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What is the difference between a professional graphics card and a normal gaming graphics card?

post #1 of 16
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I you look here you will find that this graphics card is priced at $1,780.00. And the specs say it has 352 shader cores and 2.5GB of VRAM.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133325


But a GTX 580 3GB would have more shader cores, more VRAM, 384-bit bus (vs the 320-bit bus) and it still has DX11 and OpenGL support. What is the purpose of professional graphics cards?


Probably a noob question, but i'm very curious.
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post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by White Fire View Post

I you look here you will find that this graphics card is priced at $1,780.00. And the specs say it has 352 shader cores and 2.5GB of VRAM.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133325
But a GTX 580 3GB would have more shader cores, more VRAM, 384-bit bus (vs the 320-bit bus) and it still has DX11 and OpenGL support. What is the purpose of professional graphics cards?
Probably a noob question, but i'm very curious.
Sorry I got carried away smile.gif the difference is the drivers they use. the price is meant to reflect the cost of making the drivers. CAD used in manufacturing can benefit from different drivers and therefore the card uses these different drivers which supposedly cost a lot more to develop. In hardware terms they are no different to normal cards.

you only need a professional card if you are going to be using CAD at a high level, and if this is the case then your company will buy the card for you.
Edited by GerroffMe - 12/31/11 at 12:23pm
 
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post #3 of 16
That card is for professional rendering. Like Autocad or something like that. This card will not game at all. Its not meant for gaming.
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post #4 of 16
The pro series card allows for certain drivers used in CAD applications and 3D rendering. The are designed to take a higher advantage of CAD and have special drivers.
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post #5 of 16
The first card you linked is mostly for ray tracing, video processing, rendering, and computational fluid dynamics.


Gtx 580 is for gaming.
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post #6 of 16
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Many of these cards use the same core as the game- and action-oriented GeForce video cards by NVIDIA. Those cards that are identical to the desktop cards can be software modified to identify themselves as the equivalent Quadro cards and this allows optimized drivers intended for the Quadro cards to be installed on the system. While this may not offer all of the performance of the equivalent Quadro card,[citation needed] it can improve performance in certain applications, but may require installing the MAXtreme driver for comparable speed.
The performance difference comes in the firmware controlling the card.[citation needed] Given the importance of speed in a game, a system used for gaming can shut down textures, shading, or rendering after only approximating a final output—in order to keep the overall frame rate high. The algorithms on a CAD-oriented card tend rather to complete all rendering operations, even if that introduces delays or variations in the timing, prioritising accuracy and rendering quality over speed.

From the Nvidia Quadro wiki.

I can explain further if you wish.
    
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
But I still don't see how a card like that could process anything as fast as a 580. Explain further thumb.gif
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post #8 of 16
The drivers allow different resources of the card to be used specific to the program. For example a certain CAD program the card will be able to maximise it's efficiency whereas a standard gaming card would not because it wouldn't have the drivers.

The hardware specifications are not what you are paying for, you are correct in that a normal gaming card could easily reach these clocks and hardware parameters at a fraction of the cost. However, a normal card would not be able to run CAD as efficiently.

The performance increase in CAD and other rendering packages between a pro card and a gaming card however are debatable.
 
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post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GerroffMe View Post

The drivers allow different resources of the card to be used specific to the program. For example a certain CAD program the card will be able to maximise it's efficiency whereas a standard gaming card would not because it wouldn't have the drivers.
The hardware specifications are not what you are paying for, you are correct in that a normal gaming card could easily reach these clocks and hardware parameters at a fraction of the cost. However, a normal card would not be able to run CAD as efficiently.
The performance increase in CAD and other rendering packages between a pro card and a gaming card however are debatable.

This. I finally understand it now. Thanks!
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post #10 of 16
Ok so let's be clear about the difference.

The Quadro, FX, Fire and FireGL, and any other cards that have been introduced to the professional production market are built to do specific tasks and be used for specific functions.

So for instance if you're an engineer or an architect and you need massive power to do CAD work on a large scale (24/7 essentially, or full time job), then you will want a card built for that specific purpose, which is what the 'professional' (as you refer to them) cards are built for.

They're intended for CAD, vector work, 3D modeling, special commercial software, custom built software, etc. They are not intended to be gamed on.

Now, that's not to say that some people will buy a gaming version or vice versa and use them for both. The gaming cards use mainsteam driver sets whereas the 'professional' cards use other drivers not intended for mainstream use.

There are some cases where a mainstream card (like the 8800GTX) can actually perform the same functions as a more expensive Quadro version of it, with the Quadro drivers and modding. But this isn't often what's done as the companies (AMD/ATI & NVIDIA) have separated the cards more so in the last few generations than previously.

95% of mainstream and non-daily or non-professionals will use a gaming card for both tasks, whereas a large company, developer, or what have you (entrepreneur, designer, CAD specialist) will opt for the more powerful and specific 'professional' cards.
    
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