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which graphic card serie Workstation or Gaming?

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by Giovanni Azua, Feb 22, 2005.

  1. Hello all,

    I have been comparing the two ATI series also the
    equivalent NVidia and can not figure out what are
    the major differences between the Workstation
    and Gaming series?

    One main difference is obvious: price tag

    I have a DELL Worstation 670 with 64-bit extensions
    and PCI-Express graphic port and would like to upgrade
    it with the most powerful and reasonably priced Graphic
    Card but I am affraid of selecting the cheaper Gaming
    models serie and then realizing it would not perform
    as well as the Workstation model ...

    My needs?

    - Software Development
    - Database Development
    - Gaming :) Half-Life 2/Counter-Strike/AOM/etc
    - No CAD applications
    - Support for different OS(s): XP, Linux, Unix, Solaris 4 Intel.

    My Workstation shipped bundled with an ATI Fire V3100 I
    did not want to ask DELL for a different one because they
    would most likely overprice it, I decided to get the cheapest
    bundled from DELL and upgrade later on.

    Best Regards,
    Giovanni Azua, Feb 22, 2005
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  2. Giovanni Azua

    Conor Guest

    Go for the gaming one. You only need the workstation one if you use

    If you intend using Linux, go for a nVIDIA one for better driver
    Conor, Feb 22, 2005
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  3. Giovanni Azua

    Luc Monod Guest

    Don't touch the professional video cards for gaming (Maybe the NVIDIA Quadro
    would be ok). They are solely meant to be stable using 3D apps and are not
    made to perform fps wise.
    Anyway, FireGLs seem to always have bugs when running CAD applications and
    suck for games (Precision 470 here, also w/ a V3100).
    Luc Monod, Feb 22, 2005
  4. Hi Luc,

    Thank you for the response, I somehow had already decided
    to wait for the NVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra PCI-Express
    with the 256MB GDDR3 to arrive to Switzerland or probably
    could have it shipped to me from US.

    My impression is the same about the ATI V3100, the games
    look pretty bad, in fact it is the major bottleneck I have
    in my Precision 670. I regret I didn't ask DELL to deliver
    without Graphic card and get the 300CHF back ... but it's
    too late already.

    Best Regards,
    Giovanni Azua, Feb 22, 2005
  5. That's not true. I've been gaming with Quadro and FireGL cards for years...

    The Nvidia Quadro and ATI FireGL use the same GPUs like the "gaming cards".
    In games they perform the same like the cheaper consumer cards (Geforce and
    Radeon). The only problem is the ATI FireGL driver which uses settings fixed
    on "quality" which is slow and doesn't provide any tabs for changing any of
    these settings. With utilities like RageTweaker You can change the settings
    like You can do on a generic Radeon card. With the Nvidia drivers it's
    different, with Quadro cards You get much more settings in the control

    Both FireGL and Quadro perform equally well on Games like the corresponding
    Geforce and Radeon models...
    The ATI drivers always had problems with OpenGL. The FireGL drivers are
    better than the Radeon drivers but still not as good as the drivers from

    Benjamin Gawert, Feb 22, 2005
  6. It's simple. The workstation cards offer certified drivers (which You need
    if You want support from Your vendor of Your CAD software), several features
    needed in the professional market (i.e. antialiased lines, multipipe output
    with PCIe cards, etc), a very good analog signal quality (to avoid blurry
    pictures on a big crt), and a very hig price...

    From a technical point of view the FireGL and Quadro cards are almost
    identical to the Radeon and Geforce models...
    a Dell Precision 670...
    no advantage with a professional gfx card
    no advantage with a professional gfx card
    no advantage with a professional gfx card (but no disadvantage, either)
    so You don't use anything that would benefit from the additional features of
    a professional gfx card...
    If You say Linux You want Nvidia. ATIs Linux drivers suck really badly...
    Right decision...

    I bought a similar machine (HP xw8200 Dual XEON 3GHz EM64T w. PCIe) but
    without gfx card. My previous workstations always had professional gfx cards
    like the QuadroFX2000 and ATI FireGL X1-256p. They worked also very well for
    gaming, but this time I bought a cheap PNY Verto Geforce6600GT card since at
    the moment I saw no reason to spend that much money for a professional gfx
    card. What should I say, the card also works perfectly with my CAD
    applications, and it's fast enough even for the latest games. It has 2x DVI
    outputs, has 3 years warranty, and also provides an excellent analog signal.

    Of course a GF6800Ultra would be faster, but not that much faster than what
    it is more expensive. IMHO the most attractive cards at the moment are the
    GF6600GTs. And in the end it's better to buy a 6600GT now and a new card in
    say two years than spending now the money for a 6800U and having to spend
    money again in 3 years because the card gets too slow...

    Benjamin Gawert, Feb 22, 2005
  7. Hello Benjaming,

    Thank you very very much, you are indeed very well
    informed on the subject :) I will follow your advice
    and will go for the previous NVidia model 6600GT.

    Many thanks,
    Best Regards,
    Giovanni Azua, Feb 22, 2005
  8. Giovanni Azua

    J. Clarke Guest

    The workstation boards are more likely to have dual DVI outputs, generally
    have better-quality passive components (capacitors and the like), and
    generally have firmware tuned for openGL rather than Direct3D. Other than
    that they're pretty much the same--if you compare some models of consumer
    and workstation board you'll find that the circuit board itself is
    Unless you're developing graphics-intensive software the video board makes
    little difference here, and if you are it should be typical of what you
    expect your target market to be using.
    Video board makes _no_ difference.
    Definitely do not want a workstation board for this.
    Removes the compatibility-with-CAD issue.
    This may end up the decision-making driver. Just about everything supports
    XP. ATI and nvidia take different approaches to Linux support--nvidia's is
    closed-source but pretty much fully supports the capabilities of their
    chips, ATI has a closed-source driver that's so-so and on an intermittent
    basis works with the developer community to allow open-source support for
    their chips, but it generally doesn't happen while the chip is current. So
    for Linux, if politics is more important to you than performance you'd want
    to go ATI, while if performance is more important than politics you'd be
    better off to go nvidia. Solaris you're likely on your own. As for Unix,
    don't encourage SCO.
    J. Clarke, Feb 22, 2005
  9. Hello Clarke,

    Many thanks for your exhaustive response!

    I have had second thoughts about buying a previous
    cheaper version of NVidia or ATI e.g. NVidia ASUS N6600GT
    128MB, instead of upgrading to this one I would rather
    stay with my current Fire V3100 4 pixel pipelines 128MB ...
    if I want an upgrade I want an upgrade :)

    Actually checking more in details the NVidia vs ATI I found
    that ATI has more appealing numbers i.e.

    "ATI Radeon X800 XT Platinum" clock rate 520Mhz
    "ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum" clock rate 540Mhz


    "NVidia 6800 Ultra" clock rate 400Mhz

    Which somehow contradicts with your judgement that NVidia
    is usually faster than ATI ... funnily I loaded my 3DMark
    project for their latest benchmarking (I got 1180 score)
    and reviewing others saw the topmost 12K score being NVidia
    6800 Ultra, perhaps very few people have bought ATI latest
    already ...

    When the comparison comes to drivers availability I think this
    changes continuosly ... I think is better getting the
    most powerful card and wait for the drivers to upgrade than
    getting great drivers support but then stay with the desire
    of having the fastest card :)

    What do you think?

    Best Regards,

    PS: Playing Counter-Strike with ATI V3100 (latest drivers XP) is
    really frustrating ... the lagging is noticeably horrible.
    Giovanni Azua, Feb 23, 2005
  10. Hi Benjamin,

    Thanks again for your assistance ...

    I had the NVidia GeForce 6600GT card yesterday in front
    of me ... but what made me hesitate before buying it was
    the fact that it only includes 128MB instead of 256MB.
    I know that more is not necessarily better but I wonder
    if the lack of 128MB would impact my experience gaming?
    at the end I can not know how much of this RAM is being
    actually used? by e.g. Counter-Strike, Half Life 2 ...

    I have also searched all over internet and did not find
    any GeForce 6600 featuring 256MB ...

    Price-wise the difference is very heavy specially here in

    NVidia GeForce 6600GT : 300CHF
    Nvidia GeForce 6800 xxx: +700CHF

    meaning +350USD difference ...

    Any ideas?

    I would also like to know if you have any brand opinion
    I would say ASUS is the best one ... isn't it?

    Best Regards,
    Giovanni Azua, Feb 23, 2005
  11. Giovanni Azua

    RaceFace Guest

    GPU clock speed comparisons between ATI and nVidia are misleading. Just as
    clock speed comparisons between the AMD 64bit CPUs and the Intel P4's are
    misleading. In every benchmark that I've seen (artificial and gaming; ) the
    6800 Ultras are faster than the X800XTs.

    While clock speed is a factor, the number of pipelines, vertex/pixel
    shaders, memory architecture, and general GPU architecture also play a large
    factor in determining GPU performance.

    RaceFace, Feb 23, 2005
  12. Giovanni Azua

    RaceFace Guest

    In the current games out there (HL2, D3, etc) 128MB of Ram on the video card
    will prevent you from using the high quality textures. They simply take up
    too much room to fit comfortably in 128MB. Benchmarks on
    www.tomshardware.com have shown this. As they increased resolution and/or
    texture quality the performance of the 128MB 6600GT fell of noticably. That
    said, if you're happy with using medium-quality textures, the card will
    perform completely fine.
    RaceFace, Feb 23, 2005
  13. Hi Luc,

    I have 2GB RAM in my Precision 670 but no idea if the Graphic card
    would ever use the RAM on board? btw I have found that XP 32-bits
    doesn't "see" more than 3GB ... you would need XP 64-bits, I read
    that in some DELL forum ...

    Giovanni Azua, Feb 23, 2005
  14. Giovanni Azua

    Luc Monod Guest

    Then again, you can always add more RAM in your DELL, up to 4GB...
    I'm not sure how a PCI-Express graphic adapter accesses this memory though,
    I'm so used to AGP Aperture.
    Luc Monod, Feb 23, 2005
  15. Yes, that's right. Only some (much slower) GF6600s (non-GT) offer 256MB...
    Well, with 128MB the high-res textures of some games don't fit in the cards
    memory. This leads to texture swapping which was a huge performance hog on
    AGP systems. With PCIe, texture swapping isn't that much of a problem like
    it was with AGP...
    Simply because there aren't any...
    I have a MSI NX6600GT and a PNY Verto 6600GT here. The MSI is crap, the
    heatsink is cheap and doesn't cover GPU and memory correctly. The PNY card
    is fine, and it offers a very good picture quality (important of You use a

    Benjamin Gawert, Feb 23, 2005
  16. Giovanni Azua

    J. Clarke Guest

    You missed the point. I was not making a judgment about the performance of
    the hardware, I was commenting on the availability of drivers. Regardless
    of any differences in the hardware, that 6800 Ultra on Linux using the
    nvidia optimized drivers is going to outperform the ATI board using the
    default SVGA drivers in X.
    That is true for Windows where both companies release updated drivers on a
    regular basis. Linux is not Windows. Nvidia has consistently provided
    solid drivers for Linux, ATI has been spotty and their drivers have
    typically supported a subset of the features of their boards.
    Bottom line--for Linux I'd go with nvidia. Every experience I have had with
    ATI and Linux has been bad. And not because I don't like ATI--most of the
    video hardware I own is ATI.
    J. Clarke, Feb 23, 2005
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