NVIDIA's Quadro4 Preview: Threatening the Competitionby Anand Lal Shimpi on February 19, 2002 12:00 PM EST
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Just an expensive GeForce4?
One fact about the Quadro4 that NVIDIA is very proud of is that for the first time since the Quadro was introduced, it is actually a physically different piece of a silicon from its desktop counterpart. In the past, the features that set the Quadro apart from the GeForce were present on both GPUs; they were simply disabled on the GeForce GPU. The most widely known feature that was disabled on the GeForce line of GPUs was support for hardware anti-aliased lines, thus making the original GeForce perform even worse than a TNT2 with AA lines enabled.
The base feature set of the Quadro4 is identical to that of the GeForce4 or GeForce4 MX depending on which model of the Quadro4 you're looking at (we'll get to that later). Currently there are only a handful of features that separate the Quadro4 from the desktop GeForce4/MX line however with future generations of the Quadro you can expect there to be even more features made exclusive to it.
Some of the features NVIDIA mentioned being Quadro4 specific included hardware AA lines (with an entirely new AA line engine for the NV25GL based cards), hardware overlay planes, hardware XOR engine, and hardware clip/window ids. Without cards to test we weren't able to gauge the usefulness of any of these exclusive features but we will take a look at them in the future once review samples are made available.
As we just alluded to, the GeForce4 derived Quadro4 cards use what is internally known as the NV25GL core; likewise, GeForce4 MX derived cards use the NV17GL core. As we mentioned before, the GL suffix actually indicates a different piece of silicon with a larger transistor count and die size than its desktop counterpart. The Quadro4 line will retain all of the features of its desktop counterparts, including multimonitor support through nView.