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CrazyFatDude December 28, 2012 06:02

Need help: Quadro 600/2000 or GTX 650 Ti
Hi everyone, this is my first post to this great forum. I am building a PC to be run as a Linux workstation for CFD and FEA work with OpenFoam, ParaView, Gmsh, Matlab, Blender,...etc.

I went for Intel i7 3930K processor, Intel MB, 32GB 2400 DDR3 RAM, 1TB 6GB SATA WD HDD, and now the graphics card.

I HAVE read all the similar threads everywhere and everyone seems to recommend the Quadro for this type of thing, problem is I don't see it in the specs!!!!! Where? So, is it in the Nvidia driver? The GTX 650 Ti has 768 cores vs 192 on the Quadro 2000, they are both 128 bit and the clock speed on the GTX 650 Ti is a whopping 1071MHz vs 625 MHz on the Quadro 2000. The memory is 2 GB on the GTX vs 1 GB on the Quadro, both GDDR5 on the 2000, and embarrassingly DDR3 on the 600.

So, could you please chime in with your thoughts, and I will appreciate it if you could point out why you think the Quadros are better.


evcelica December 28, 2012 10:25

Its all in the drivers, not the hardware. Quadro card drivers are made for OpenGL which is what most CAD software uses, GeForce cards are more for games which use Direct3D. If you are not doing huge models you probably wouldn't see a difference. You can also check whether the programs you are going to use are written for OpenGL or direct3D

Also GeForce usually has its dual precision floating point performance severely limited, e.g. to 1/4 or 1/8 of that of the Quadro/Tesla GPUs. This limitation is purely artificial and imposed by nVidia solely to differentiate the gamer/enthusiast segment from their much more expensive professional segment. Lower DP performance makes GeForce boards bad candidates for stuff like scientific or engineering computing and those are markets where money streams from.

Quadro cards are intended for CAD. High end CAD software still uses OpenGL, whereas games and lower end CAD software use Direct3D (aka DirectX).
Quadro cards simply have firmware that is optimised for OpenGL. In the early days OpenGL was better and faster than Direct3D but now there is little difference. Gaming cards only support a very limited set of OpenGL, hence they don't run it very well.
CAD companies, e.g. Dassault with SolidWorks actively push high end cards by offering no support for DirectX with any level of performance. (Probably because nVidia pays them to push their higher profit margin cards)

Other CAD companies such as Altium, with Altium Designer, made the decision that forcing their customers to buy more expensive cards is not worthwhile when Direct3D is as good (if not better these days) than OpenGL.

CrazyFatDude December 28, 2012 10:40

Well, on Linux there is only OpenGL, DirectX is Windows (Microsoft) only, so I will only live in the OpenGL world.

After more reading, I have seen all what you said about the optimized drivers...etc. but is are the Quadro drivers optimized for the specific software running OpenGL, i.e. 3dMax, AutoCad, Maya...etc. or is it optimized for OpenGL in general?

In the linux world, it seems there is NO gain rendering with Blender under GTX or Quadro. Also the Fluid/PhysiX Benchmark for OpenGL seems to indicate that GTX chips 460, 580 are WAY better than Quadro 2000, here:

Any idea why this is happening? I mean if the performance of the GTX 460 is that good, heck they are $99, I'd get 2.

evcelica December 28, 2012 11:47

I believe they are optimized for openGL in general.

I didn't see any scores for quadro cards on that benchmark page.
Also that benchmark is more of a PhysX benchmark than an openGL benchmark, and it uses the CPU as well and GPU for PhysX processing, again PhysX is made for gaming, so I would expect the GeForce to outperform the Quadro in this benchmark. The GTX460 also has a huge range of scores, and its top ones are using 2 GPUs and overclocked CPUs.

I myself go with the GeForce cards because I'm not spinning around huge and complex models on openGL based CAD software, and the GeForce cards are cheaper and perform better at everything else. I think for CFD you would never have a ridiculously complex geometry because you wouldn't be able to perform the simulation anyways. You would probably be fine with a geforce card. But for the Designers at my work who are working with huge CAD models of entire buildings filled with intricate detail of every part within the building, they would need a quadro.

If you are doing general rendering and everyday tasks: go with GeForce
If you are doing GPGPU computing or working with large complex models, go with Quadro

CrazyFatDude December 28, 2012 14:04


The benchmarks for the Quadro 2000 is in here:

CTRL F and search for Quadro, it's abysmal, scoring 18!!!

I think what you're saying make a lot of sense.

CrazyFatDude December 29, 2012 21:02

This morning I was browsing the Nvidia Quadro line and found out that the High performance drivers, (there are 3 or 4 of them) that elevate the performance of Quadro cards, are not available for linux, period! Which is of course a deal breaker for me. Without these drivers, the double-precision OpenGL performance is comparable to the GTX line.

AMD so far does not seem to limit the double-precision OpenGL performance like Nvidia does, but their linux Catalyst driver is riddled with bugs and the performance is nowhere near what you get under Windows. So, it is not even an option.

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