Ok, so why is the Quadro 4500 better than the X1900XT..

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by UnixMac, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. UnixMac macrumors 6502

    UnixMac

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    #1
    Sorry if this is obvious to the people "in the know" but I just ordered a mac pro (specs in my sig) and along with it I opted for the X1900XT as it seemed like a good card for the money.. though I hate to wait a month for it.

    I am curious however, the specs on it seem to be better than those of the Quadro 4500 which sells for over $1200 more.. what gives? What's so special about the Quadro4500? is it really worth that much more in terms of performance?

    thanks for baring with a low-tech geek like me..
     
  2. quruli macrumors regular

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    Aug 11, 2006
    #2
    A Quadro is optimized for real-time 3D Rendering. Maya, etc. That is why is it $1200 more. Yes it handles games better, but the market for the two cards is completely different.

    If you are playing games, the X1900XT is great. If you were doing 3D rendering, you'd want to go with a Quadro.
     
  3. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #3
    I've seen people say that if you don't know what makes the workstation class (Quadro series) graphics cards so much more expensive than the normal cards, then they're not for you, or something like that.

    I don't know for sure myself. I know the Quadro has a "stereo 3D" port, because it says so on apple.com. I don't know what that port does, though.
     
  4. quruli macrumors regular

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    #4
    I would have to agree with that statement. I find it unfortunate that people (gamers with no computing knowledge) may buy a Quadro to have the best without knowing that they don't need it.

    I guess I find it slightly negligent on Apple's part to post gaming benchmarks for the Quadro. Oh well.
     
  5. UnixMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    UnixMac

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    #5
    thanks.. I figured the 4500 was more of a "pro" card, but I guess I'm curious is all, what specifically makes it better as the specs from Apple's sight show the X1900XT for the most mart out doing it in terms of verticies per second, memory bandwidth, etc. and only a bit slower in fill rate.. here: http://www.apple.com/macpro/graphics.html

    So assuming I might want to dabble in Motion, or other lighter duty 3D apps.. is it really worth 3x as much? I don't mind paying the extra money if I can be convinced of it's value, but nobody seems to understand what makes it that much better when I call over to the Apple store or call the 800-number.

    Thanks again for baring with me...
     
  6. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #6
    I found an interesting wikipedia article on it. The Quadro FX 4500 is based on the same chip as the GeForce 7800GTX, but the BIOS/EFI and drivers for the GeForce line are crippled so that the "3D workstation features" can't be used. Then of course there's that stereo 3D port.

    I don't think this applies to Motion and lighter duty 3D apps.
     
  7. quruli macrumors regular

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    #7
    Drivers make it better. Plain and simple. A Quadro4500 has the same GPU as the top end consumer card(7800GTX). However the drivers for it are completely different.

    The Quadro is meant to give you high frame rate real time rendering. Again this is done through driver optimization.

    http://features.cgsociety.org/story_custom.php?story_id=3321&page=3

    That shows the performance of a few Quadros as opposed to a 7800GTX. As you can see, the Quadro line gives better numbers.

    In some cases, consumer cards can be hacked to make it look like a Quadro and this be able to use the optimized drivers.

    So I hope that answers your question. There is very little physical differences between a Quadro FX4500 and a 7800GTX, the real magic comes in the fine tunes drivers. Which is what you are paying for.

    As far as what you should buy. If you are just going to dabble, the X1900XT is fine for you. If this was your lifes work, there would be no question.
     
  8. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    #8
    Stereo 3D port allows you to plug in a CRT display and, with the appropriate glasses, view 3D images of models etc. Really handy in molecular modelling applications.
     
  9. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816

    Felldownthewell

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    #9

    If you are just dabbling, then the x1900 will do you just fine. The quadro is for people who use programs that require massively powerful graphics cards, usually people doing 3d modeling, or using a whole bunch of screens, as said before.

    The x1900 is a damn good card; unless you plan to take up a career in 3d modeling, stick with what you have; it looks like a mind-blowingly amazing setup already. :)

    Put the money towards a 30 incher. :D

    Edit: or you could pay attention to quruli who seems to know way more than me on the topic. :p
     
  10. UnixMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    UnixMac

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    #10
    Thanks Gentleman.. I suppose the extra $1200 for optimized drivers and a few extra (and useless to me) out's is just not worth it. I was hoping to convince myself of the "need" for the card on a pure daily performance advantage so as to shave a month of the ship date! :D I tend to like to get the latest and greatest stuff, but only if I can actually get something out of it.
     
  11. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #11
    Thanks, Chundles. That makes sense. I think I've seen those back in university.
     
  12. UnixMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    UnixMac

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    #12
    I just might..

    I will, for sure thanks again gentleman.
     
  13. UnixMac thread starter macrumors 6502

    UnixMac

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    #13
    Well, here goes the fastest change of mind in my personal history!

    Ok, so my friend who's offering to buy my G5 offers me $700 for my 23" and my wife tells me she wants the 30" now since she'd doing more CS2 with her photo business.. so I guess, we'll make the 30" fit! ;)
     
  14. gothicx00 macrumors member

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    #14
    This is not the only thing that makes it better. Intel and AMD have use a similar strategy for ages. I'm willing to put money on the G70 GPUs that go in the Quadro cards come from batches where higher precentages of the chips from the same wafer passed the stress tests. Or, alternatly, they hand pick the G70's that had the best stress test ratings and throw them on the Quadro's for better real time rendering.

    See, even a chip that makes it into a board sold on the shelf can have variations in it that cause the parts of the chip that handle error correction work harder. Not much harder, but a little bit harder. This results in lower framerates.

    Intel and AMD have done this with CPU's for a long time. The ones that don't make the cut, get clocked lower, to the point where their rate for error is acceptable and get badged as, say, a 3400+ when the chip that was sitting right next to it on the wafer gets baged 3700+ (don't quote me on these exacts, as they are merely for demonstration. I have no clue atm if the current 3400+ is the same proc generation as the 3700+, but you get the drift).

    So drivers aren't the be all and end all of performance. They may very well use GDDR3 chips that have better heat tolerences, there for can handle better constant framerates.

    All in all, my point is, that *exact* G70 chip is sitting on that quadro for a reason, and not a 7800.

    IMHO the x1900xt is better anyway. Avivo makes all the difference. Sure it may get a few less frames per second than the 7900 in some areas, but each of those frames is gonna look beautiful thanks to Avivo!
     
  15. bigrell486 macrumors 6502

    bigrell486

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    #15
    Woah! When I first saw this threads title, I thought he was talking about the old Quadra Macs. :)
     
  16. quruli macrumors regular

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    #16
    Regardless of the performance of these "handpicked" chips. They would still not perform as well as they do in 3D Rendering applications without the drivers. Plain and simple.

    In addition, some nVidia cards can be hacked via firmware to run the drivers of the Quadro as I stated before. And those cards give close to if not the same performance as the equivelent Quadro/Fire cards.

    SO, yes the drivers are the end all be all of performance. Because without those drivers, a Quadro would be just another consumer card.

    And what was the point in saying that the X1900XT is better? Better than what? The Quadro? To say that would make no sense. Even talking about the 7900 is irrelevant to the topic at hand.
     

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