We have just taken a real close look at the new generation of professional graphics accelerators from ATI and Nvidia based on the new GPUs manufactured with 90nm process. I would like to stress right away that ATI and Nvidia cards acquired a significant performance boost thanks to the new R520, RV530, G71 and G73 GPUs used for them. Although the new GPUs are primarily remarkable for their faster shader processing speed, more advanced production process allows the developers to increase the number of pixel pipelines and raise the working frequencies. As a result, we got an impressive performance growth in 3D modeling and CAD applications.
Moreover, the top ATI FireGL V7350 and Nvidia Quadro FX 5500 graphics cards got 1GB of graphics memory this should definitely be demanded by some professional users who work with huge amounts of texturing data.
I would like to draw your particular attention to mainstream professional solutions that proved very interesting. We were especially happy with the Nvidia Quadro FX 3500. Thanks to its fast memory and G71 GPU this solutions demonstrated superior performance and sometimes proved even faster than its high-end brother.
Its rival, ATI FireGL V7200, also performed quite well in our test session. It demonstrated the same performance as its more expensive fellow – FireGL V7350. So, if you do not need 1GB of graphics memory, and are happy with ATI’s professional graphics solutions, then FireGL V7200 will be a great choice for you.
Summing up, I wouldn’t give any specific recommendations about purchasing this or that professional product. These solutions are quite expensive and you should address this matter responsibly. Especially, since professional users are very rarely working in several different applications at the same time. Therefore, your choice of a workstation graphics card will be strictly determined by the type of applications you will be running on your platform. Of course, Nvidia Quadro FX solutions are faster in most cases than ATI FireGL, however there are tasks where FireGL will be irreplaceable. For example, in Maya. So, we encourage those of you who have read this article to the end to make your own conclusions basing on the results and analysis we have shared with you today.