updated 10:40 am EDT, Tue July 27, 2010
NVIDIA revamps Quadro line for new architecture
NVIDIA today began shipping its long promised Fermi-based Quadro workstation graphics cards. They share the same, DirectX 11-capable (and OpenGL 4.1) cores as the GeForce 400 series and are theoretically up to five times faster than the models they replace. At the top, the Quadro 6000 has a large 6GB of GDDR5 video memory and can handle as many as 1.3 billion triangles per second across its 448 processing cores.
Lesser chips primarily scale down in memory and cores. The Quadro 5000 uses 352 cores and 2.5GB of memory, while the 4000 drops to 256 cores and 2GB of memory. A mobile workstation version, the Quadro FX 5000M, uses 320 cores and 2GB of memory even in the tighter spaces of a desktop replacement notebook.
The line is faster for general-purpose math using CUDA, DirectCompute and OpenCL. The 4000 and 5000 should be available today for Windows users at prices of $1,149 and $2,249; Apple plans if any aren't known, but the company just today launched new Mac Pros that aren't due to ship until August. The 5000M's pricing will depend on new notebooks, but both Dell and HP plan systems before the end of the summer. Both the $4,999 Quadro 6000 and a $14,500 multi-card Quadro Plex 7000 external box are due in the fall.
All of the cards will work with 3D Vision Pro, an adaptation of its gaming-focused 3D Vision to tasks such as 3D modeling and collaborative virtual environments. It uses the same pairing of active shutter glasses with a wireless transmitter and should support up to 20 hours of use for a single pair of glasses on a charge. It costs $349 for the glasses and $399 for the wireless transmitter. Both will only be ready by October.