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Nvidia Quadro 5000: Hardware

If you have been keeping in touch with the market of professional graphics cards, you should already know that products for high-performance workstations are hardly any different from their gaming counterparts. AMD and Nvidia have long developed unified GPU architectures and use them for any applications. By the way, this approach helped them oust the companies that used to develop and promote specialized GPUs for professional applications. Thus, each Quadro series card has a certain gaming cousin, and the new series is no exception.

On the other hand, the Quadro 5000 doesn’t have an exact gaming copy. Although based on the GF100 chip, it has certain unique features in its hardware specs. The execution domain of the GF100 GPU is known to include 16 multiprocessors, each with 32 stream execution cores, but no gaming card makes use of all these resources.

The same is true for the Quadro series. Even the senior Quadro 6000 has only 448 active shader processors out of the total 512. On the other hand, Nvidia enhanced the card’s memory subsystem which is especially important for professional products that have to process huge models. The Quadro FX 4800 used to come with 1.5 gigabytes of memory whereas the Quadro 5000 has as much as 2.5 gigabytes. There is no gaming graphics card today to have that much of graphics memory, by the way. Clocked at 3.0 GHz and accessed via a 320-bit bus, this memory subsystem provides a peak bandwidth of 120 GBps. As a result, the geometry-processing performance of the Quadro 5000 is lower than that of the GeForce GTX 465 but its graphics memory is about as fast as that of the GeForce GTX 470. By the way, one of the unique features of the memory subsystem of the new-generation Quadro series which distinguishes them from their gaming counterparts is that they support ECC.

The Quadro 5000 itself looks ordinary enough. Like the gaming GF100-based solutions, it is equipped with a massive cooling system that uses heat pipes and occupies two slots. Its plastic casing is silvery.

The Quadro 5000 seems to have an original PCB design with memory chips located on both sides, so there is no wonder that the reverse side of the PCB is almost fully covered by a heatsink plate.

The Quadro 5000 is about 2 centimeters shorter than the Quadro FX 4800 and will fit into the same system cases easily. It is about 1 centimeter longer than the GeForce GTX 465, though.

The Quadro 5000’s cooling system seems to be less efficient than the Quadro FX 4800’s as it has a smaller fan. This doesn’t make it loud, though. Its noise is acceptable even at high loads, which must be due to rather low heat dissipation of the GPU. The latter fact is confirmed by the card’s having only one 6-pin connector for additional power supply. According to the official specs, the new card has a peak power consumption of 156 watts, which is 6 watts higher than that of the Quadro FX 4800.

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