Nvidia Quadro FX 580
If the performance and specs of the Quadro FX 380 leave you unimpressed, but you do feel the need for an inexpensive professional graphics card, you should turn your eyes to the Quadro FX 580. Although based on the same G96 chip, it differs from its junior cousin in a number of ways and is theoretically two times as fast as the latter. The Quadro FX 580 costs about $180. It is positioned as an entry-level solution like the FirePro V3750.
The Quadro FX 580 and FX 380 share the same GPU but look completely different. The Quadro FX 580 employs a more complex PCB that has no counterparts in the gaming world. These dramatic external differences are due to the FX 580 having two times as much graphics memory and, unlike the FX 380, being equipped Displayport interfaces.
These are not the only differences between the two cards, though. The Quadro FX 580 features a full-featured version of the G96 with 32 rather than 16 shader processors. This explains why the Quadro FX 580 is faster than the junior model while having the same GPU frequency of 450MHz. The FX 580 is equipped with GDDR3 memory clocked at 1600MHz and connected to the GPU via a 128-bit memory bus. Thus, it is superior to the competing AMD FirePro V3750 in technical specifications as well as in most benchmarks.
The cooling system looks different, too. It uses a heavier aluminum heatsink that covers not only the GPU but also the memory chips. Unfortunately, this heatsink is only cooled by a small centrifugal fan that does not sound nicely at high speed.
Like the more expensive professional solutions, the Quadro FX 580 has two Displayports and one Dual-Link DVI connector. It means you can connect two monitors with resolutions up to 2560x1600 to this graphics card. To avoid any inconvenience, there are Displayport → DVI and DVI → D-Sub adapters included into the kit. By the way, Displayport and DVI have different signaling protocols, so an adapter from one into another contains active electronics and is rather expensive. So, the manufacturer shows its care about the user by including such an adapter into the kit and saving him the extra expense until monitors with Displayport interface become widespread.