Earlier this year, we conducted a series of reports on both the high-end and mid-range workstation graphics card markets with a range of comparative tests. In our prior tests, we found performance to be exceptionally close between comparatively priced products from AMD/ATI’s and NVIDIA’s high-end and mid-range cards. NVIDIA is typically stronger on the high-end, whereas ATI’s cards are winning in the mid-range; it was pretty cut and dry. However, once you start pricing these cards out, you’ll soon realize that there is a huge, gaping hole in the price spectrums of each respective competitive product offering.
ATI and NVIDIA sell their high-end (V8650/5600) cards for $2,500+, while mid-range cards sell for anywhere from $1,000 and under. The fact that there were no suitable options in the market for the $1,000 - $2,500 price range was a problem which would eventually be solved, and we’re finally starting to see workstation graphics cards finally coming to market in this price range. Cards in this price range would be expected to handle high-end tasks with relative ease, but aren't required to post absolute top-notch performance or feature huge frame buffer memory on board. Buyers in this range likely want to make sure they’re getting solid performance, but have a reasonable budget in mind.
With that in mind, today we'll take a look at NVIDIA’s entry to this market, the QuadroFX 3700. This card has an MSRP of about $1,700, which is smack-dab in between the price tags of their mid-range and ultra-high-end product lineups, although street prices are much lower. This card is based on NVIDIA’s popular new G92 graphics processor, which has been prominently featured in their GeForce 8800 GT/GTS lineup at a very competitive price point. Likewise, with NVIDIA's G92 GL GPU underneath this professional-grade QuadroFX should also deliver substantially better performance in high-end OpenGL applications, while tackling DirectX 10 performance similarly to the 8800 series GPU as well. Or so it would seem. We'll make and effort to prove this theory out in the pages ahead.
NVIDIA's "G92-GL / G92-875" is the heart and soul of the QuadroFX 3700
As with all Workstation class, professional certified cards, the QuadroFX 3700’s price tag is about $1,500 higher than its consumer counterpart, GeForce 8800 GT 512 MB. So we'll take a look at the performance profile you’ll see in workstation graphics scenarios with this new Quadro board versus the rest of its workstation-class competition.