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Quadro vs GeForce for AE/3D apps

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Trevor Phillippi
Quadro vs GeForce for AE/3D apps
on Aug 27, 2009 at 2:13:28 pm

Ok so i'm building a new workstation and I'm trying to nail down my graphics card, and I've run into alot of different opinions on the issue. I'm really trying to decide between a Quadro (probably 3800) and another model from the geforce series. It seems the specifications on other typical GPU's are far better for the price than most of the Quadro series, but some people assure me it's better for content creation, and working in 3D apps. I run C4D, MAX and MAYA in addition to AE. So I'm wondering if someone has experience with the Quadro FX series and can tell me if it really is better for modeling/rendering/animation or if it makes just as much sense to go with a cheaper card that statistically should outperform the Quadro. One person told me that a geForce 295 should be able to outperform a Quadro by about 6X, and that unless an app stipulates that the Quadro should be used, I should go with something else. Thanks in advance!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Quadro vs GeForce for AE/3D apps
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:55:05 pm

Trevor -

My new system, which I had configured by a MnM Computers in Manchester NH, consists of this:

Intel Motherboard - DP45SG - this has an ESATA connector for a RAID
Quad Core2 Q9550, 2.83GHz, 1333MHz, L2 12M
8GB of PC3-10600 CL9 DDR3 240p DIMM RAM
GEForce GTX 260 - EVGA graphics card
2 - 500GB Seagate SATA2 7200rpm hard disks - one for OS, one for Applications
2 - 750GB 7200rpm 32mb SATA2 hard drives - for media files - this is NOT striped - at some point I will probably add a RAID array for doing HD - I haven't tried editing true HD on this pup yet
600watt silent fan power supply - this thing is really quiet - I can probably do audio recording in the same room with this running.
Case - X-Cruiser Black system chassis - this is a gamer case with plenty of room for expansion.

I went with the GTX 260 for monetary reasons, and thus far the system is really kicking butt. In addition to the test mentioned below, I took an AE render which had taken an hour and a half to render on my old box (WinXP, 4GB RAM, 3.0GHz processor), and it rendered in 7 minutes! From what I understand, the OpenGL card only has bearing on the preview capabilities in AE (though you should ask someone who knows more than me about that!). The Quadro series seems to be optimized to run with the CS4 software, so it sounds as if there's a lot more realtime stuff going on under the hood - almost as if the Quadro is an accelerator card specifically for CS4, rather than just a video card. I went with the GTX 260 partly because of some reading I had been doing about what's coming down the pipe in terms of the graphics card being used for general processing speed as well - it seemed to be a good bet, and the price was right.

That's about it, other than that it's running Vista Business 64-bit. I was originally going to go with XP Pro 64-bit, but I think the upgrade path to Win7 will be smoother, plus Adobe recommends Vista 64 for the CS4 production bundle, and so far, I can see why. This thing screams! I just loaded 40 minutes of cloud footage I shot yesterday in 1080i; it loaded fine in .mts (Canon native format) format into AE, and I was able to speed it up 2000 times, giving me a really nice, smooth time-lapse effect, without the usual light stutter you get when you use the intervalometer setting on a camera. It will render about one minute of preview (depending on content of course) or better to RAM with the current 8MB of RAM. Good luck with your choice. As long as the card you choose is on Adobe's list, you should have at least some improvement in the OpenGL world, although there's much debate about OpenGL among users. I think it all boils down to what works best for you.

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia

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Trevor Phillippi
Re: Quadro vs GeForce for AE/3D apps
on Aug 28, 2009 at 3:07:15 pm

Wow, sounds like a great system. I'll keep that in mind. Sooo it performs well in AE, we've got that nailed down, but do you run any 3D apps, C4D, MAX, Maya? Mainly C4D is what I need it for of the three. I'm going to try to keep this machine dedicated for the more system intensive tasks, and leave other things like web projects for my older machine. I am still just wondering what the buzz is about the Quadro, some people rave and others, like you, speak of great performance on less expensive cards. Take care,


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