8 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2012 7:24 PM by Richard Gergely

    What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?

    Cliff Debenedetto

      I'm specing out a rad workstation that screams, and graphics cards are expensive.  Is there a point of diminishing returns with graphics cards, or is it best to go all out?

       

      Thanks,

      Cliff

       

      ATI Fire Pro V4900 1GB

      NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1GB

      NVIDIA Quadro 2000D 1GB (2 x Dual Link DVI)

      NVIDIA Geforce GTX 670 2GB

      ATI Fire Pro V5900 2GB

      NVIDIA Quadro 4000 2GB

      NVIDIA Geforce GTX 680 2GB - (Special Order)

      ATI Fire Pro V7900 2GB - Extended Lead Time

      ATI Fire Pro V8800 - Extended Lead Time

      NVIDIA Quadro 5000 2.5GB

      NVIDIA Quadro 5000G 2.5GB - Extended Lead Time

      ATI Fire Pro V9800 - Extended Lead Time

      NVIDIA Quadro 6000 6GB - Extended Lead Time

      NVIDIA Quadro 6000G 6GB - Extended Lead Time

       


      • Reply
        • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
          Anna Wood

          What do you do with SolidWorks?  This will determine how much you need to spend on a graphics card.

           

          You can spend a lot of money for a rad graphics card.  But you may not need to.

           

          Be sure to put your money into the CPU, first and foremost.  Then think about the video card.

           

          Cheers,

           

          Anna

            • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
              Cliff Debenedetto

              Anna,

               

                 I design large systems (1,000's and 1,000's of parts) for renewable energy production.  I design them from end to end then create the drawings.  No rendering, FEA or anything like that.  I think the I7 is the best one on the market right now until the Intel Ivy-bridge comes out.  My biggest concern is buying a middle to better graphics card and get that lag that causes us to bang our heads against the wall waiting for the computer to think.

               

              Thanks,

              Cliff

                • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                  Jerry Steiger

                  Cliff,

                   

                  According to the benchmark tests, there is a definite flattening of the performance curve as you spend more bucks. But I don't think that the benchmarks use really large assemblies. I suspect that the flattening of the curve is real even with large assemblies, but that is just a suspicion. I know that higher end cards were a total waste of money on our systems a few years ago when we bought a high end card and a low midrange card and compared them, but our assemblies are in the 1000 part range, with most of those parts being hidden inside on the printed circuit assembly. Unless someone chimes in who works with large assemblies and has experience with a range of cards, I'm afraid you are going to have to take your best guess.

                   

                  Jerry Steiger

                  • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                    Anna Wood

                    The biggest and best cpu first and foremost.  A lot of RAM.  SSD drives.  A big video card will benefit you since you are working with large datasets.

                     

                    Which is best is a matter of debate.

                     

                    Nvidia and ATI/AMD both have brand new video cards that were just released at Siggraph 2012 last week.  You may want to do some research on that before you buy.

                     

                    Cheers,

                     

                    Anna

                • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                  Quintin Pet

                  I'm 'only' an engineering student who loves to work in Solidworks, especially flow simulation and modelling. But i had my experiences running Solidworks Student 2011/2012 version (which is a watermarked Premium as far as i know) on several iterations of my 'workstations'.

                   

                  In regard to _currently available_ graphic cards: don't buy a consumer/gamer grade ATI/AMD card of the 7000 series. Flow works becomes highly unstable with hardware OpenGL enabled. The solver crashed at random, or would just crash back onto the desktop. The Flowsim add-in would stabilize with software OpenGL enabled but performance is 'unworkable' at least on detailed models.

                  In a final attempt to get it to work i replaced my ATI/AMD card for a Nvidia GTX670 and i have not witnessed a crash ever since, plus rendering over the CUDA cores on 3rd party software has cut down visualisation time from hours and hours to literally minutes!

                   

                  Plus realview can be enabled via a simple registry 'hack' and works flawlessly, though the performance hit on importing parts and sub-assy's, on detailed models only slowed me down on actually getting work done. (this was also evident on the ATI/AMD card though)

                   

                  Just wanted so share my experience, Quadro/Firepro/FireGL cards are just way out of the budget of most humble enthousiasts (not professionals).

                    • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                      Kelvin Lamport

                      Just wanted so share my experience, Quadro/Firepro/FireGL cards are just way out of the budget of most humble enthousiasts (not professionals).

                       

                      I have read that other people have used the GTX670 with good results but.....

                       

                      GTX670 costs $414

                      http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130787&name=Desktop-Graphics-Cards

                       

                      Quadro 2000 costs $399

                      http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133353&name=Professional-Graphics-Cards

                       

                      FirePro V5900 cost $429

                      http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814195106&name=Professional-Graphics-Cards

                        • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                          Quintin Pet

                          Mr. Lamport, thanks for the heads up!

                           

                          I suppose i forgot to add in 'comparable performance' between Quadro/Firepro and Geforce/Radeon cards vs. price.

                           

                          As far as i can tell the firepro and quadro you mention are nowhere near the general performance of a GTX6xx series card. Bases on raw bandwith and processing power.

                          Back to back testing is hard to find. Especially whát the difference is between the professional drivers and gaming-grade drivers,

                          its not all looks, precision is what counts and driver 'reliability' as well...

                          The OpenGL crashing on my HD7850 ATI card was a proof of this

                           

                          The pro cards are equipped with ECC memory and the gamer cards are not, so thats a 'mission critical' thing.

                           

                          What really opened up a world for me is rendering on the CUDA cores of these cards, it's so blazing fast compared to CPU only.

                          ATI has OpenCL but for now it seems to be underdeveloped, and CUDA gets all the favor.

                           

                          As a sidenote: being able to demonstrate your design in a convincing way, being a HD rendered movie or super HD image is a

                          competence that seems to grow in importance around me. There is so much competition these days!

                           

                          In that respect, CUDA core count, a GTX660, Ti or non-Ti edition, would suffice as well, i opted for the memory bandwith of the GTX670.

                          Just to be sure.

                          I even doubt that a GTX650 would struggle with demanding assemblies in solidworks, and still have 300+ CUDA cores available for raytracing in 3rd party programs.

                           

                          What i actually wanted to point out is that the current 7000 ATI/AMD series seem to be flawed in OpenGL stability in Solidworks, my VAR (or actually the SW support at our university) confirms this. Since most students use gaming-grade cards at home, they get a lot of feedback on running Solidworks on 'non certified' systems, Nvidia seems to work everytime.

                           

                          But to put it in perspective, the workstations at our university (engineering department) are equipped with the most low-end quadro cards (carved out of stone if you ask me), and as long as i don't use real-view, and go to very very low detail on the quality settings, it works fine on whatever i want.

                           

                          One more thing:

                          In the end it boils down to user experience, comfort and luxury, to my opinion, as a low-end system would be sluggish but still valid in terms of end-result. 

                           

                          For what its worth:

                           

                          I ran the performance test on my system:

                           

                          SW2011


                          Graphics 26.5

                          Processor 83,5

                          I/O 56,7

                          Overall 166,6

                          Rendering 35,6

                           

                          I7 3820 | 16gb | SSD running SW | GTX670 | W7 X64

                           

                          Looking in the 2011 database, and mathing the CPU, a Quadro 4000 comes close at 34.7 seconds. 

                           

                           

                           

                          Message was edited by: Quintin Pet. Edit: one more thing added

                            • Re: What Are The Best 3 Graphics Cards In Order?
                              Richard Gergely

                              TBH you aren't looking at this right. If you are a designer and your cheif aim is to find the cheapest graphics card that works fast it isn't worth it. One day of lost work messing around sorting problems pays for that workstation graphics card easily.

                               

                              Just spend a bit extra and get a proper workstaion graphics card that you can instal load the drivers and forget about. Been through it years ago with a company they got the cheapest computers made up and someone was always in constantly fiddling with them the amount of time lost was shocking.