NVIDIA Quadro DDR

by Gary Jones on January 25, 2000 11:44 AM EST

The competitors

NVIDIA’s competitors in the technical workstation graphics card market segment include 3Dlabs, Evens & Sutherland, Diamond, and Intergraph.  Some of the key characteristics of NVIDIA's Quadro based cards and the competitors’ products sold on the open market are summarized in the following table:

Quick Comparison Chart

Card

Estimated Street Price (USD) Driver with Profiles for Professional Applications Transforming & Lighting Memory Sub System
NVIDIA Quadro DDR

Unknown

Not Yet

On-chip 50 GFLOPS 64MB - 128 bit DDR

ELSA GLoria II - NVIDIA Quadro SDR

$650.00

Yes

On-chip 50 GFLOPS

64MB - 128 bit SDR

3DLabs VX1

$200.00

Yes

Host CPU

32 MB - 128 bit SDR

3DLabs GVX1

$680.00

Yes

On Card - 3 GFLOPS

32 MB - 128 bit SDR

3DLabs GVX210

Unknown

Yes

On Card - 5 GFLOPS

64 MB - 256 bit SDR

E&S Lighting 1200

$400.00

Yes

Host CPU

15 MB 3DRAM, 16 MB CDRAM

E&S Tornado 3000

$1,250.00

Yes

Host CPU

30 MB 3DRAM, 16 MB CDRAM

Diamond Fire GL1

$770.00

Yes

Host CPU

32MB - 256 bit SDR

Note: The 3Dlabs GVX210 was announced an shown in August, 1999 but is not yet in production.

In addition to these products other high end products are available as part of complete workstation systems: 

1) Intergraph Wildcat cards in Intergraph, Dell, Compaq and IBM workstations.

2) HP’s fx+ series of graphics processors available in their workstations.

3) SGI’s line of NT workstations with SGI’s own integrated graphics processor (Cobalt).

4) NEC’s new line of high end NT workstation with their hot new TE4E graphics systems on sale in Japan at only about $15K-$25K US.

Price – The sweet spot in this market seem to be in the $500-$1000 range; 18 months ago it was $2000-$3000.

Drivers - Cards sold into this market need to have OpenGL driver tuning profiles set up for the mainstream technical applications.

Transform & Lighting  – Dedicated transform and lighting hardware can provide real performance benefits when running large models.

Memory system - A graphics card’s memory design is one good indicator of its fill rate performance potential.

The Quadro GPU designs does appear to have a key technical advantage over the competition; it has an on chip 50 Gflop transform and lighting engine. Of the other cards only the 3Dlabs (GVX1 and GVX210) and expensive Wildcat 4110 cards have this specialized hardware support.  However, note that these cards use a separate processor chip for this function and that the processing rate is approximately 10 to 16 times slower. 

The Applications The Card

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