Nvidia Corp. this week unveiled a new low-end professional graphics card aimed at CAD/CAM applications. The Quadro 400 does bring a substantial performance improvement compared to the predecessor, but the novelty is based on a chip, which was originally released in late 2009 and which was morally outdated even back then.
Nvidia Quadro 400 is powered by the GT216GL chip (GeForce GT 220/ GT 315) and has 48 stream processors, 16 texture units, 8 raster operation units, 512MB of DDR3 memory with 64-bit bus as well as a DisplayPort and single-link DVI-I connectors. The board has maximum power consumption of 32W and comes in low profile. Given the fact that it is powered by an outdated GPU, it only supports DirectX 10.1 capabilities and no trendy features.
Despite of the old GPU under the cooling fan, Quadro 400 offers five times higher performance compared to GeForce GTX 580 based on Pro/Engineer score in the SPEC Viewperf 11 on a standard industry workstation (Core i7 965 3.2GHz, X58 motherboard, 6GB RAM, Win7-64, 265.81 drivers). Previous-generation low-end Quadro for CAD/CAM featured only 16 stream processors, hence, the novelty should outperform it by the factor of three.
Nvidia Quadro graphics solutions are usually powered by chips with lower performance compared to gaming graphics boards, but thanks to excellent optimization of drivers for professional software, they deliver significantly higher performance than solutions for gaming.
"Designers and engineers, whether designing the largest assemblies or smallest components, rely on Quadro. The Quadro 400 is the right tool to help ensure that job gets done the right way, especially when it comes to running professional apps like Autodesk AutoCAD," said Jeff Brown, general manager of professional solutions group Nvidia.
The Quadro 400 ($169 MSRP) is available immediately for the HP Z800, Z600, and Z400 workstations, and for all Fujitsu Celsius workstations. It will be available later this month and next on select Lenovo ThinkStation D20, C20, S20 and E30 models. It's also available from Nvidia Quadro channel partners including PNY Technologies in North America and Europe, Elsa in Japan, and Leadtek in Asia Pacific.