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Probably a Dumb Question, but.. why are workstation cards so expensive?

Discussion in 'Graphics Cards' started by zmanster, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. zmanster

    zmanster New Member

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    I'm curious why workstation video cards by both NVidia (e.g., PNY Quadro FX 5800 SDI 4GB 512-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 NVIDIA SLI Supported Workstation Video Card -$5,900) and ATI (e.g., ATI FireGL V7350 1GB 512bit GDDR3 PCI-Express x16 Workstation Video Card -$1,500) are so expensive!!! The specs are pretty much the same as video cards that PC gamers use, so why the large $$$$ disparity?
  2. LifeOnMars

    LifeOnMars New Member

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    Good question, i have actually wondered the same so looking forward to some answers :)
    zmanster says thanks.
  3. MickNat New Member

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    High end workstation cards are often pretty much the same card as their cheaper gaming counterparts, but they usually have a lot more video memory, some up to 4gb in a single processor card. And you pay for the proprietry software/drivers.
    digibucc, LifeOnMars and zmanster say thanks.
  4. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    you pay for drivers, certifications, some features and better customer support
  5. angelkiller

    angelkiller

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    The difference is the drivers. These cards have drivers that are optimized for CAD and other similar 'professional' applications. Not games. The drivers are designed to be extremely accurate, not push out as many FPS as possible.

    Plus, they're so expensive because they can. If you're designing some big project that will make you a few hundred thousand dollars, spending a few thousand on a graphics card isn't that big of a deal.
    digibucc, LifeOnMars and zmanster say thanks.
  6. zmanster

    zmanster New Member

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    Thank you all for the quick response. As the old adage states, "you learn something new everyday!"
  7. Trigger911

    Trigger911 New Member

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    Entertaining information
  8. ToTTenTranz

    ToTTenTranz New Member

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    It's basically customer support.
    With a FirePro or Quadro you can call customer support and tell them you've got a rash with your left toe, and they'll do everything in their power to help you.
  9. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    damn, so this is why.

    but autodesk has certified a lot of gaming cards for autocad. hows that?
    i remember my 4650 used to be supported for some insane reason.
  10. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    Because they're targeted at people that use them to make money (mostly CAD). This is why AutoCAD, Visual Studio, Adobe Master Suite, and other professional software is equally expensive.

    It's also supply and demand: considering how many computers are out there, only a small share of them are used for professional CAD work. When you have an expensive product to create and a small user base, you have to charge more to remain viable.


    Because AutoCAD doesn't actually use much/any of the features offered by Quadro and Fire cards. Software like Adobe SpeedStream does.
    Crunching for Team TPU
  11. repman244

    repman244

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    They can be "supported" but won't have all the features enabled. But AutoCAD isn't that demanding when it comes to GPU's.
    But when you start using programs like Solidworks, Catia, 3dsMax, Creo (ProE), then you really start to see the benefits of optimized OpenGL.

    Here is an example of Solidworks (Don't have 3dsMax on my laptop installed currently) with software OpenGL (no GPU):
    [​IMG]

    And with GPU OpenGL:

    [​IMG]
    Note: you also get ambient occlusion (which is enabled) for better shading.

    And on top of that you can model much much faster since there is no lagg when rotating the object/camera (If you have enough VRAM for a complex model).

    Another thing is that (at least for now) you need to have a FirePro card to benefit from a 10-bit monitors, which is an option in the CCC:

    [​IMG]

    Also the top end pro cards have more VRAM than normal consumer counterparts (I'm not talking the extreme cases such as the Sapphire 6GB VRAM version where you probably see no benefit from) and on top of that it has ECC.

    But at the end of the day you pay for optimized drivers and stability.
    Chevalr1c and Frick say thanks.
  12. Jetster

    Jetster

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    I disagree with most of you. The cards are expensive because your dealing with precise measurements. They have to be accurate to thousands of an inch. A gaming card has to be fast. Its to different things. One will not work well for the other. To say its marketing or the CAD engineers are being taken advantage of is just not true. Gamers are more of a target for marketing and fancy fans. Has nothing to do with customer support ether. You drop $3000 on a GPU because you want your product to be perfect when you sent it to Machining and Fabrication.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  13. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    The hardware is exactly the same, same GPUs. Lower level software stack too. They just charge extra for some certified driver support
  14. johnspack

    johnspack

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  15. Jetster

    Jetster

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    Ya that would make sence
  16. W1zzard

    W1zzard Administrator Staff Member

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    yes that feature is always present in hardware and disabled for consumer cards

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