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design
02-07-2012, 08:13 PM
I built a computer for work with
win7 64 bit
i7 2600k overclocked to 4.1 GHz
16 gb ram
an older nVidia quadro fx1800 card
1 tb hdd

We just bought Shot (not Shot Pro) to use with SolidWorks and to ease into photo rendering software (we're very pleased with it so far). The fx1800 was more than enough for SolidWorks, but now I'm not sure it's cutting it for use with Shot. I have to use it in CPU mode, which is fine for times when I set it to render for a few hours. However, it's lacking with the ray tracing preview while I'm working with the model. Quick, accurate previews is almost as important as the finished product and from the demo videos and YouTube videos I've seen where users are rotating/moving the model with ray-tracing on, our card is definitely on the slower end of things.

I know it's hard to give an exact number, but if we upgraded from our fx with ~770mb of vram to an nVidia GTX 580 with Fermi/cuda and 3gb of vram, how big of a difference would it be? Astonishing? Marginal? I've compared the numbers and features etc and I get those, but what does that translate into in terms of working with a model in real-time? Would this allow me to run in GPU mode while still keeping the frame rate high while I maneuver my model and modify textures? Would buying two lower end cards be more beneficial? The GTX580 is about our limit price-wise.

One last question, what makes the Quadro-line of cards more expensive when they have less vram? Do they have multiple GPU's like a 590?

Thanks for the help

andy
02-07-2012, 08:43 PM
Quadro cards: there is much discussion about that, but they are pretty much built with a slightly higher standard (supposedly) and add a few features like different drivers for certain applications. You have to carefully weigh those benefits and looking at the software you use, and where you would save the most time. I assume you spend most of your time in SolidWorks, so find out from those users if they notice a benefit from that.
The engineers here use proE and they claim they require Quadro cards. I don't really use it, but I've never had any problems opening any of their files, Ever. It could be one special feature that I'm not using though. Again, make sure what you use works.

That said, you will notice a big jump in speed. Don't expect to rotate around in real time with fully rendered image, but it will look nice fairly quickly.

2 cheaper cards instead of 1 more expensive one? Well, first you'll also need a more expensive PSU, so add another 1-200 dollars there. And they have less memory, so again it depends on what you do. If you are rendering large, have large scenes, have large/many textures, or any combination of those things then a single card with more memory will out perform multiple cards.

Also, can you wait? That card is about to either be unavailable, or get cheaper on the quick. Expect it's replacement out soon. Rumor says May, but I'm guessing June. Probably 2 months before the new cards come out with some hefty improvements.

And no, Quadro's don't have multiple GPU's. In fact, they are usually slightly slower. In the past you have been able to hack the gaming card to run Just like the Quadro. Not sure about the current versions, but that would suggest the cards are the same and you're paying for better support and drivers.