Nvidia Quadro FX 3800
Although Nvidia offers even more expensive professional graphics cards, the 3000 series is touted as delivering high performance at an optimal price. The Quadro FX 3700 model we reviewed previously proved to be a very appealing solution for 3D designers and engineers but now Nvidia can offer an even more attractive product. The appeal of the Quadro FX 3800 is that, priced at about $800, this card is based on the GT200b processor which is manufactured on 55nm tech process and has earned a good reputation in the gaming series GeForce GTX 200.
The Quadro FX 3800 can be viewed as a professional equivalent to the GeForce GTX 260. This card’s GPU has 192 stream processors and 16 raster back-ends. The GPU’s main and shader domain frequencies are 600 and 1200MHz, respectively. The memory subsystem is somewhat different from the gaming card’s. The Quadro FX 3800 has a cut-down 256-bit bus but the total amount of memory is increased to 1 gigabyte (in GDDR3 chips clocked at 1600MHz). Even with these specifications, the Quadro FX 3800 is competitive to AMD’s top-end professional models.
The exterior of this card does not give you any inkling as to how much power it contains. We are accustomed to massive dual-slot coolers and paired power connectors on high-performance gaming solutions, but the Quadro FX 3800 is different. It has a large, yet single-slot cooler made from copper and aluminum. And it has only one additional power connector. As a result, this card is most appealing in terms of power efficiency. Its specified peak power draw is 108W.
It should be noted that Nvidia has been spending much effort in developing its professional product series. The company not only boosts performance in straightforward ways, but also introduces interesting innovations. For example, the Quadro FX 3800 series supports SLI Multi-OS technology. If you install two professional cards into one system and deploy virtualization software, this technology will allow multiple virtual machines to work with the two cards in parallel. In other words, you can use SLI Multi-OS to have two full-featured virtual machines with independent monitors out of a single workstation. Besides, the Quadro FX 3800 can be used with an SDI daughter card (Serial Digital Interface) to output HD video in real time with an overlay rendered by the graphics card.
The Quadro FX 3800 has a standard selection of outputs: one dual-link DVI and two Displayports. The kit includes adapters for monitors and a power adapter that can be used if your PSU does not have 6-pin 12V power connectors.