Machine Design

Why do you need a professional graphics card?

A common question is why should I choose a professional graphics card such as NVIDIA Quadro over gaming cards such as GeForce? For one thing, professional users such as CAD designers and engineers have more stringent hardware requirements than those of average users or gamers. The primary concern of workstation professionals is stability and reliability. Professional graphics, such as NVIDIA Quadro, are designed to meet those needs by working closely with the software companies such as Autodesk, Dassault Systems, PTC and Siemens PLM to certify that both the Quadro hardware and drivers are optimized specifically for those applications and can handle the workload. For the CAD user, this can mean greater performance and, more importantly, rock solid stability. Because, as we all know, sitting in front of a non-responsive screen can be very frustrating.

Professional cards can often also expand the range of options available within applications. For example, in SolildWorks, gaming cards do not offer the ability to enable a high performance ultra-realistic viewing mode called RealView. This allows designers to view models with detailed shadows and reflections to show a more realistic representation of the design. Additional advantages of using a professional card in SolidWorks include expanded full scene anti-aliasing (FSAA) modes and performance, and enhanced performance displaying solid models with visible edges (Shaded with Edges).

Unlike consumer gaming cards which are designed by a wide range of board vendors, all Quadro graphics products are manufactured exclusively by NVIDIA and have a planned product availability of at least 18 months. This allows companies who standardize on a Quadro solution to be comfortable with the knowledge that units will continue to be available for an extended time period. Since NVIDIA controls both the board design and production as well as the drivers, it simplifies product support inquiries should they ever be necessary.

Additionally, Quadro boards support all the same functions available on consumer gaming products. While Quadro boards are designed for demanding professional applications, they are equally capable of providing afterhours fun by allowing users to play today’s top PC games.

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