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HELP!  My IT Manager is forcing a GeForce 330GT card......

Question asked by Kirk Barnes on May 6, 2010
Latest reply on May 9, 2010 by 1-7UEHFD

I teach at a community college. The central IT purchasing department can't see the difference between a GeForce card and a Quadro card. Our college has 24 campuses statewide and most have CAD programs. We are talking about replacing 400 to 600 CAD computers over the next 3 years statewide.


I am currently have 42 CAD stations in two labs with Quadro 380 in  wx4600 workstations


How do I respond?


This was his email to me


"The top 4 most demanding applications that our design technology and visual communications programs utilize are:

  • AutoCad
  • Maya
  • SolidWorks
  • Pro-E

Each of these applications publishers has specific recommended video cards that they have both tested and “certified” or have tested and approved. The fundamental difference between distinctions of “certified” or “recommended” is whether or not the video card has been recommended by both the software publisher and the hardware manufacturer, or just the publisher.

Additionally, for some video cards, the manufacturer and the publisher have decided to only recommend and support certain “family” cards that have historically been associated with professional usage of CAD applications. Here is what Autodesk states regarding usage of “commercial-grade” video cards with Maya 2011…


This specific statement above regarding policy decisions by Nvidia, Autodesk, and ATI to only promote certain ‘branded’ cards essentially keeps the profit margins up for the card manufacturers and keeps the myth perpetuated that only these branded cards can do well with CAD and VISCOM applications.

This false ‘sole credibility’ was also perpetuated in my online chat with a technical representative of  Nvidia. When the employee was queried about the capabilities of the Nvidia GeForce 330GT video card as compared to their own Nvidia Quadro FX 580, which was put out years before but still listed as an acceptable video card for CAD/VISCOM applications, the agent refused to acknowledge that the 330GT card had more horsepower and failed to provide even one example when asked specifically what kind of problems one might face if they used the GeForce card instead of the Quadro card.

These facts point to the reality that higher-end mainstream commercial cards, such as the GeForce 330GT, have the capacity to support the CAD and VISCOM applications that are used in mainstream use; especially given the recent couple of years where the gaming public is demanding such high quality video and the games themselves are being created in such high-tech ways.