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Best graphic cards for VW/RW?

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aparently I am going to have to answer my own question... tech support listen up.

This taken from http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/archive/index.php/t-12217.html

-- check out the heated debate that followed this posting.

if you are using 3D to pay your bills, if every minute saved is dollars saved, then quadro FX is worth its price. if you are student or 3D hobbiest, fx5900 or other nvidia gaming cards(dont try other brands [Razz] ) is enough.

here is a list of a professional card/gaming card difference taken from a PNY presentation:

The customers expectations

The term professional workstation usually implies high driver and hardware quality, excellent reliability, responsive support, and high performance.

The expectations of workstation users exist because they have a different point of view when they?re looking at their computers. It?s a tool, not a toy, they have to work with it.

Their goal is to design, create scenes or demonstrate their work. Time is money, so they don?t accept crashes, baffling bugs or avoidable delays in workflow.

They don?t change their adapter twice a year, so they expect driver support for at least 2 years.

Because in most companies the purchased hardware has to be qualified, it should be available for a long period of time, no matter if it?s up to date

Public Opinion

People often ask for the differences between Quadro and GeForce adapters, because their technique appears to be very similar and their price is differntiating.

Even in CAD-relevant newsgroups there are many estimations of users telling that GeForce adapters work fine in 3dsmax, Inventor, AutoCAD and so on.

What people mostly forget, is that especially this similarity dropped the prices for professional adapters. NVidia?s concept worked for both, the quality and versatility of consumer adapters and the pricing for professional products.

But there are lots of differences, and NVidia spends ambitious efforts to create the perfect solution for both parties.

1.1 Hardware antialiased lines

A unique feature of the Quadro GPUs is to support antialiased lines in hardware. This has nothing in common with the GeForce full-scene antialiasing.

It works for lines, not for shaded polygons, without sacrificing performance or taking extra video memory for oversampling. Most professional applications support this feature because it is standardized by OpenGL.

1.2 Logical Operations

Another unique feature of the Quadro GPUs is supporting OpenGL Logical Operations. Those can be implemented as a last step in the rendering pipeline, before contents is written to the framebuffer. Workstation applications use this functionality to draw on top of a 3D scene, for example to mark a selection by a simple XOR function.

Having this function done in hardware prevents from significant performance losses like a GeForce Adapter would show.

2. The OpenGL Differences

On consumer and workstation adapters, OpenGL is used for different purposes:

Most common applications for GeForce adapters are full-screen OpenGL games.

CAD applications are working with OpenGL windows, in combination with 2D-elements

The unified driver architecture provides an optimized implementation for both, professional and consumer demands. While consumer applications have a quite simple request, bug-free functionality and performance over all, there are several optimizations for professional applications that would not improve anything in full-screen OpenGL. They only make sense for window-based OpenGL and are therefore working on Quadro-based hardware only.

They will be explained next?

2.1 Clip Regions

A typical workstation application contains 3D and 2D elements. While viewports display window-based OpenGL, menus, rollups and frames are still 2D elements. They oftenly overlap. Depending on how they are handled by the graphics hardware, overlapping windows may noticeably affect visual quality and graphics performance.

When a window has no overlapping windows, the entire contents of the color buffer can be transferred to the frame buffer in a single, continuous rectangular region. However, if other windows overlap the window, the transfer of data from the color buffer to the frame buffer must be broken into a series of smaller, discontinuous rectangular regions. These rectangular regions are referred to as ?clip regions.

GeForce Hardware supports just one clip region, mostly sufficient for displaying menus in OpenGL. Quadro GPUs support up to 8 clip regions in hardware, keeping up the performance in normal workflow using CAD/DCC applications.

2.2 Hardware-Accelerated Clip Planes

Clip planes allow sections of 3D-objects to be cut away so the user can look inside solid objects. Looking inside objects is particularly useful for visualizing assemblies. For this reason, many professional CAD /DCC applications provide clip planes.

The Quadro family of GPUs supports clip-plane acceleration in hardware?a significant performance improvement when they are used in professional applications. Tests 6 and 10 of the SPECopc Viewperf MedMCAD-01 Test define a clip plane, and are useful for quantifying the performance benefits of clip-plane support on the Quadro2 family.

2.3 Quadro Memory Management optimization

Another feature offered by the Quadro family of GPUs is Quadro memory management optimization, which efficiently allocates and shares memory resources between concurrent graphics windows and applications. In many situations, this feature directly affects application performance and so offers demonstrable benefits over the consumer-oriented GeForce GPU family.

The graphics memory is used for the frame buffer, textures, caching and data. NVIDIA?s unified memory architecture dynamically allocates the memory resources instead of keeping a fixed size for the frame buffer. Instead of the remaining frame buffer memory being wasted because it is unused, UMA allows it to be used for other buffers and textures.

Especially when applications require much memory, using quad-buffered stereo or full scene antialiasing, it becomes more important to manage the resources efficient. The table below contains different constellations on GeForce and Quadro hardware showing the advantage of this effectiveness, both have 32MB on board

2.4 Common problems solved with Quadro drivers:

Two-sided Lightning

Quadro hardware supports two-sided lighting. Objects which are not created as solids may show triangles from their ?back-side? viewing the objects from the inside.

Two sided lightning prevents the diffuse and specular lightning components from dropping to zero when the surface normal points away from the light source. As a result, these ?backward-facing?triangles remain visible through all viewing angles.

2.5 Hardware Overlay Planes

The user interfaces of many professional applications often requires elements to be interactively drawn on top of a 3D model or scene. The cursor, pop-up menus or dialogs appear on top of a 3D-viewport. These elements can damage the contents of the covered windows or affect their performance and interactivity.

To avoid this, most professional applications use overlay planes. Overlay planes let items be drawn on top of the main graphics window without damaging the contents of the windows beneath. Windows drawn in the overlay plane can contain text, graphics, and so on?the same as any normal window.

The planes support a transparency bit, which when set, allows pixels underneath the overlayed window to show through. They are created as two separate layers, nothing has to be blended together. This prevents damage to the main graphics window and improves performance. Likewise, clearing an overlayed window to the transparency bit and then drawing graphics within it allows user-interface items to be drawn over the main graphics window.

Clearing and redrawing only the overlayed window is significantly faster than redrawing the main graphics window. This is how animated user-interface components can be drawn over 3D models or scenes.

2.6 Quad buffered stereo

The Quadro GPU family supports quad-buffered stereo; the GeForce GPU family does not. Quad-buffered stereo is an OpenGL functionality, not depending on special stereo hardware to show the effect. Two pictures are generated, both double-buffered, one per eye. Displaying is done alternately or interlaced, depending on the output device.

Many professional applications like 3ds max, SolidWorks or StudioTools let users view models or scenes in three dimensions, using a stereoscopic display. It can be done by a plugin, like in Solidworks, by a application driver like MAXtreme in 3ds max, an external viewer like QuadroView for autocad-based products or by the application itself. The use of stereoscopic display is to have an overview in complex wireframe constructions, making walkthroughs much more realistic and impressive or simply to improve the displaying of proportions in large 3D-scenes.

Stereo support on the Quadro GPU family significantly benefits professional applications that demand stereo viewing capabilities.

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