25 Aug 2013

RedShark Summer Replay: What's the difference between Consumer and Pro graphics cards?

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Pro or consumer GPUs? Pro or consumer GPUs? Nvidia/RedShark


Redshark's only 10 months old, and our readership is growing all the time. So if you're a new arrival here you'll have missed some great articles from earlier in the year

These RedShark articles are too good to waste! So we're re-publishing them one per day for the next two weeks, under the banner "RedShark Summer Replay".

Here's today's Replay:


What's the difference between Consumer and Pro graphics cards?

How do you choose between consumer and pro graphics cards? Low cost and high performance are compelling with the lower-end products, but compatability and support are better with the professional versions. Oren Payton explores this in depth

Most of us know that in order to run graphic intensive tasks, you need an add-on graphics card. We are also pretty much resigned to the fact that the top-of-the-range examples get fairly pricey, and a few hundred pounds is not unusual for a recently released all bells-and-whistles card. It is a little more difficult to justify why we are required to fork out four or five times more than that for a top of the range professional graphics card.

The Nvidia Quadro K5000 (and there are more expensive Quadros out there) is listed on Scan Computers’ website for £1813 , whereas a roughly equivalent Geforce will set you back around £400. This is especially striking since, according to some sources on the street, they are sometimes almost identical in hardware and use only a slightly modified driver and BIOS.

I'd like to start off by confirming what many think (especially those spending their own personal cash), that in many cases, an expensive professional GPU is not entirely needed. It is important to remember though that in many other cases, a good professional card will make all the difference between working smoothly and efficiently, and having to put up with a lifetime of difficulties. The same arguments apply to both Nvidia and AMD, with Quadro and FirePro cards representing the pro corner and GeForce and Radeon in the consumer corner.

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