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Old 06-20-2007, 08:28 AM   #1
power5
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Building workstation. What quadro FX is equal to a $250 gaming card?

Really want a workstation card, not one intended for gaming. For $250ish I can get a 7950gt, or an 8800gts. I know the 8800 is almost the top of the heap at the moment. I know absolutely nothing about the quadro FX cards. I know that they are amazingly expensive. Looking at the nvidia site I see that the fx3400 is considered high end. This is what I had on my last work computer. But that was purchased by a much bigger company. Now the budget is a bit smaller. We will be running 680i boards, with c2d or xenon chips and 4gb of ram. Mostly just run AutoCad.

Basically $250-$300 is the price range. What is the best card for rendering programs that I should get? A 8800, or a quadro FX series?

Also, any suggestions on boards, chips, or ram for running AutoCAD?


A comparable ATI card is fine as well.

Last edited by power5; 06-20-2007 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:46 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by power5 View Post
Really want a workstation card, not one intended for gaming. For $250ish I can get a 7950gt, or an 8800gts. I know the 8800 is almost the top of the heap at the moment. I know absolutely nothing about the quadro FX cards. I know that they are amazingly expensive. Looking at the nvidia site I see that the fx3400 is considered high end. This is what I had on my last work computer. But that was purchased by a much bigger company. Now the budget is a bit smaller. We will be running 680i boards, with c2d or xenon chips and 4gb of ram. Mostly just run AutoCad.
XEON chips?

Beware of wasting the money on 4gigs of ram unless you are running 64bit vista. Otherwise you are wasting a gig of ram per computer. I understand its probably cheaper to get 2x2gig sticks in mass quantity but its also gonna be wasted.

Quote:
Basically $250-$300 is the price range. What is the best card for rendering programs that I should get? A 8800, or a quadro FX series?

Also, any suggestions on boards, chips, or ram for running AutoCAD?
To answer the question: a 680i board may not be the best choice as I continue to read that it has some significant stability issues. For workstation computers you may want to opt for something a bit more reliable. However, I respect that you may not have any control over this.

As for the graphics card, becuase you are not getting a enterprise level card(the quardo cards)at this point you should just aim for getting the most RAM. I base this choice on you doing high res rendering, where gRAM is most needed. The 8800GTS has faster clocks which is a plus, but it will have to access the CPU to store into its onboard ram buffer more frequently. Thus, a 512mb 7950GT will probably yield a better overall performance.

At least this is just what I think. This is why I believe the quadros are so expensive, due to their massive amount of ram and high res rendering capabilities. If am wrong, feel free to correct me.

edit:

i'd also like to interject that going from a quadro to a consumer level card(7950/8800)is gonna seem like night and day for high res rendering like I believe you are doing. You will most likely see a significant performance drop no matter what card you purchase. There is a reason the price difference is about $1,000.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fourth View Post
XEON chips?

Beware of wasting the money on 4gigs of ram unless you are running 64bit vista. Otherwise you are wasting a gig of ram per computer. I understand its probably cheaper to get 2x2gig sticks in mass quantity but its also gonna be wasted.



To answer the question: a 680i board may not be the best choice as I continue to read that it has some significant stability issues. For workstation computers you may want to opt for something a bit more reliable. However, I respect that you may not have any control over this.

As for the graphics card, becuase you are not getting a enterprise level card(the quardo cards)at this point you should just aim for getting the most RAM. I base this choice on you doing high res rendering, where gRAM is most needed. The 8800GTS has faster clocks which is a plus, but it will have to access the CPU to store into its onboard ram buffer more frequently. Thus, a 512mb 7950GT will probably yield a better overall performance.

At least this is just what I think. This is why I believe the quadros are so expensive, due to their massive amount of ram and high res rendering capabilities. If am wrong, feel free to correct me.

edit:

i'd also like to interject that going from a quadro to a consumer level card(7950/8800)is gonna seem like night and day for high res rendering like I believe you are doing. You will most likely see a significant performance drop no matter what card you purchase. There is a reason the price difference is about $1,000.
Sorry on the typo, yes XEON. The Xeon chips are slightly lower in the L2 than the e6600. But, as I understand the Xeon chips are more stable than the c2d?

Would a 128mb or 256mb quadro be better than the 7950 or 8800? If I step up to a 256 quadro, I would step up to a 8800gts 640mb since they are similar in price.

Would using a 650i board have any draw backs? We will be tweaking the components to get slightly better performance from them, but wont be going crazy. Is the intel chipset better suited to workstation use, or is it just a brand preference for people?

There are no rules I have to follow for this build except price. Would like to keep the total box cost at $1200. This rig is solely for Auto CAD. What would you guys recommend? I assume the CPU and GPU are the most important aspects. If I can get by with a cheaper board, thats fine. As long as it doesnt affect the overall performance. I mean if I could spend $600 on a quadro card, and figure a way to get the rest of the computer for another $600, that is fine.
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Old 06-20-2007, 09:22 AM   #4
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what quadros are we talking about here compared to what 7950/8800s?

this gets to be kinda delicate cause we are talking about very different specs and pretty important price decisions.

in my opinion start with cpu and gpu and build the rest of your system around that. id suggest going with a c2d setup as they have bigger l2(which may make a difference for you but doesn't generally for the average user)and are a bit more efficient (in terms of instructions/cycle) than amds.
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Old 06-20-2007, 12:17 PM   #5
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If I remember right, the instability of the 680i boards had to do with overclocking, and faulty capacitors or resistors, which has been addressed by nVidia and their board partners. All 680i baords that are bought new should not have this problem.

Of course, correct me if i'm wrong.
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:19 PM   #6
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I work with AutoCAD both at work and at home. At work I am running a Quadro FX3500 And I can tell you that my 8800GTX is better and SLI blows it out of the water... I am also running E6600 and 4GB of DDR2 800 ram at work under XP Pro. Like Fourth said you don't need 4GB of Ram I am running 2GB under Vista just fine at home.
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:35 PM   #7
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You are probably right. I have a eVGA 680i SLI 122-CK-NF68 >T1< and have had none of the problems that the >TR< owners had in the past.


Definately not getting an AMD at this point in time. Last computer was an AMD, when they were top dog, before the ghz era. From all the benchmarks I have researched, they are no where close to Intel right now.

I was thinking of the xeon since it is a server based chip, so should be more durable. But I have been reading that the Xeon 3050 and the c2d e6600 are identical in every way. Even read one place that the newest Xeons are not able to run in dual CPU boards. This throws me off, since I always thought of Xeons as the 'better' chip than the normal intel. Still, this will be a single CPU system and the Xeon is reviewed to run with less voltage than the c2d. So, something must be up with the chip if its identical, in every way I have read, to the e6600. Price difference on Newegg is only $20. << Anyone have insight on this difference?

On the graphic cards, what I am trying to figure out is this. Will a 'smaller' 256mb quadro be comparable to a 8800gts? I am trying to build a computer around a quadro card if I can. But, if the $500 cards are no better than a 8800, or worse, I see no point. Again, I dont want to do anything with this computer except CAD. Games dont matter at all. If a geForce card will be as good as a cheapo quadro ~$500 (cant afford a fx3500 ~$1000), then I would just save some cash and get a geForce 8800gtx.

Another angle. Lets say for now I am going to use a Xeon 3050. 2gb of ram.

Should I get the 256mb FX1500 ~$529, or a 768mb 8800gtx?

If I cant come in under budget with those mega cards, I have option 2:

Should I get the FX1400 ~$349, or a 640mb 8800gts?

I just never even thought about building a workstation before. The dual Xeon (single core chips) with 2gb ram and fx3400 was provided for me at my last job. I built my current e4300 c2d, 680i w/ 2gb and 7600gt for playing some games, and to replace my presario 5140 from '98 . Once I get the graphics card figured out for this workstation, I should be able to figure out the rest.

Thanks

Additional Comment:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ava1anche View Post
I work with AutoCAD both at work and at home. At work I am running a Quadro FX3500 And I can tell you that my 8800GTX is better and SLI blows it out of the water... I am also running E6600 and 4GB of DDR2 800 ram at work under XP Pro. Like Fourth said you don't need 4GB of Ram I am running 2GB under Vista just fine at home.
I cant afford 2 8800gtx, and cant afford a fx3500 either. But are you saying that it takes 2 8800gtx to equal a fx3500? You run 4gb on XP at work? Does Autocad support it? I will be running XP on this work computer, not vista.

Last edited by power5; 06-20-2007 at 02:35 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:38 PM   #8
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I cant afford 2 8800gtx, and cant afford a fx3500 either. But are you saying that it takes 2 8800gtx to equal a fx3500? You run 4gb on XP at work? Does Autocad support it? I will be running XP on this work computer, not vista.
i think he is saying that a single 8800gtx is better and sli is just outta control.
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Old 06-20-2007, 02:50 PM   #9
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In Autocad with the FX3500 I will get delays when remove large hatches (for example) where at home with one GTX I don't. Now I am running AutoCad 2008 ADT with dual screens res at 1600X1200(<- @ work Can't run dual monitors in SLI).

Personally depending on what you setup will be I would not go under a FX3500.

Comparing the two I think a GTX is much better than a FX3500.

Comparing the GTX to a Quadro @ Nivida going by spec it looks like the 8800 GTX is about the same as the FX4600. With graphic memory bandwidth higher on the GTX.
FX4600
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Last edited by Ava1anche; 06-20-2007 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:00 PM   #10
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So, if I want to spend in the $500 range, the 8800gtx is the card to get. Will be much better than a fx1500.

How about in the cheaper range?

If I step down to a 320mb 8800gts, I assume it will pound a FX560 into submission. So, even money spent, pick the Geforce card over the quadro?

If everyone agrees with that, I guess its a 8800gts for me then.
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:31 PM   #11
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I agree the GTS will be better than a Quadro FX560. Maybe compare the Quadro FX560 to the 6600GT.
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:25 AM   #12
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quadros are useless i use 3dsmax and the difference between a quadro and an x1950xt is neglible
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Old 06-21-2007, 09:17 AM   #13
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Hehe, 64XP is fine until you want to actually want to install drivers, unless that's changed over the last few months. Seriously, last time I tried it, I couldn't even get a driver for my eth card, never mind all the fun stuff like sound and graphics.
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Old 06-21-2007, 10:59 AM   #14
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AutoCAD dose not work under XP64bit <--- at least it would not work for me. ( I don't know about vista 64bit ) get as much RAM as you can and also 8800s are faster than FX series cards, even if you just use the 8800gts you will not have a problem. one more thing has autodesk even multi-threaded autoCAD yet?

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just checked the help pages 2008 will work with vista 64bit but not XP 64bit.
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Old 06-21-2007, 07:49 PM   #15
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You realize that you can get a 7900/7950gt and flash it to the according quadro card bios? and then just use quadro drivers...
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:44 AM   #16
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Hi,

Sorry to butt-in, but I am going through a similar dilemma and wanted to share my research.

I have not found any conclusive results to back it up, but users are claiming that the 8800 GTS cards are outperforming the entire line of quadros in many regards due to AutoDesk's implementation of D3D in the 2008 family of products and in 3dsMAX v.9.

http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=220942

Do you need to step up to the GTX or the Ultra? For 99% of CAD work, no, a simple, OC'd, 320 MB GTS card will be fine. The extra graphic piplines and faster memory will not even be touched. If you are planning on doing full color, full shaded 3d modeling then, maybe you can step up to a GTX card, but I would not even consider the Ultra.

The big difference in the quadro cards (I have a real 4500 in my WS at work) and the GeForce family is reliability and, most importantly, hardware based OpenGL. A few yrs back Nvida was using the same chips in both lines, the NV40, it was tweakers dream come true. All one had to do was to unlock certain features and you could turn a $300 6800 GT/Ultra card into the top of the line quadro. I am still using one of them at home; it performs, and is read by the system, as a full featured 4500 quadro card. Nvidia got wind of that and changed chips; the soft mod is no longer possible. You _can_ fool your card into thinking it's a quadro, but you can not unlock the OGL features.

I also tried a SLI (7800 GTX) setup on my workstation at home and found it to be slower than the softmodded 4500 quadro card in CAD and 3dsMAX, and the dual monitor solution is, well, less than perfect... Although it did run Doom 3 at over 140 FPS...

As for memory, I ran 4 gb for a while and to be quite honest it ran significantly better with 2, so I ditched it. (XP Pro, SP2) .

With regard to the Xeon, I have dual 3.4, dual core, Xeons in my workstation and for modeling it does not really "feel" any faster than my X2 4600 at home... rendering is another story, that is 100% processor and RAM based, but it was FAR less expensive to build a dedicated rendering server than to build even a single processor xeon system.

SO, for my money, my next build is probably going to be:

6420 C2D processor
(or maybe wait and see what the July 22 price cuts bring)
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:21 PM   #17
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I have a 3700+ and a 7600gt maybe I have low standards but I have never had any lag with AutoCAD on this rig even with rendering. my P4 now thats a different story......
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