Of course, a good workstation requires a good graphics card. If you are planning to use your dual-processor platform for CAD applications and 3D modeling tasks, it would be ideologically wrong to equip it with a regular 3D gaming graphics accelerator. Especially, since the leading 3D graphics solution developers offer their professional products for these specific needs.
For our test session we managed to borrow a graphics card based on the latest and greatest professional GPU from NVIDIA – Quadro FX 4500. It is based on the G70 architecture. This card also became a part of our dual-processor workstation.
Since NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 graphics processor is based on the same architecture as NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX, their features have a lot in common. However, professional graphics cards work at higher core clock frequency and hence provide better performance. The main part of the Quadro FX 4500 core works at 550MHz, which the GeForce 7800 GTX chip works at 430MHz. The vertex processor unit of both solutions works at the same frequency of 470MHz.
The graphics memory of a professional and a gaming graphics card also works at different frequencies. The GDDR3 memory used on the gaming graphics accelerator works at 1200MHz frequency, while the graphics memory on Quadro FX 4500 works at a lower frequency of 1050MHz. In both cases the memory communicates with the GPU via the 256-bit bus, however the contemporary GeForce 7800 GTX cards feature only 256MB of memory, while the professional Quadro FX 4500 boasts a 512MB frame buffer.
Higher GPU frequencies and the desire to make the card as quiet as possible resulted into an absolutely unique cooling system design on Quadro FX 4500.This cooler is relatively big, so that it takes up the space allocated for the next expansion slot on the mainboard. This cooler features four heatpipes and an 80mm fan. As a result, the cooling efficiency has got significantly better: it increased by 50% compared with the cooling solutions of the previous-generation graphics cards. Moreover, this cooling system generates 30% less noise because the fan doesn’t have to speed up to its maximum rpm rate.
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 features two DVI Outs and supports SLI technology. So extreme professionals (or professional extreme fans?) will have the chance to enjoy even greater performance than a single NVIDIA Quadro FX 4500 can deliver. Moreover, they will have at their disposal such features as 32x full screen antialiasing and quad-monitor support.