PNY Quadro 900XGL

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The PNY Quadro 4 900XGL
Professional MCAD Testing Of Nvidia's Flagship Workstation Card

By -John Fiegener
September 16, 2002

 

Its been a while since we have gotten our hands on a new Nvidia professional level video card. Last time we here at (tool.) tested the Elsa Gloria II "Quadro", we were quit impressed with the performance of that entry into the professional MCAD graphics card arena.  Elsa had always been a producer of high quality gaming cards in the day.  It's too bad they left that market space.  

Let me first give you a quick introduction to who we are here at (tool.). tool. is a Product Design and Development consultancy. We ideate, design and engineer a variety of products in large segment of industries. We basically think of new ways do build a better mousetrap. We use high end MCAD solutions to develop our concepts. These high end solutions require a great deal of CPU might and are very graphic intensive. We are constantly updating and replacing our workstations with the latest and greatest chip from either Intel or AMD.  Most of this type of work used to be performed on expensive Unix boxes that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Today I can build a state of the art machine for under eight hundred dollars. Product development is an ever changing world where you either keep up with the technology or lose your edge in the industry. Speed is a crucial part of this job and in many cases with the type of applications we use, the weakest link can be the machine a designer or engineer is working on. 

The applications used by ourselves and many of the design consultancies range.  However, I would have to say that a majority of today's top firms use a combination of Pro/ENGINEER, Alias Wavefront and SolidWorks. We here use all three to develop our concepts. We use Alias to refine sketch concepts and render early phase models and Pro/E and SolidWorks to completely engineer assemblies and parts for production. Its the nature of this industry to be at the cutting edge of computer and graphic technology. In many cases we used these machines to design either the computer itself or the machines used to handle and produce the chips that go in them.

Enough of the career pitch. Lets get down to the review. 

In this round, we got the opportunity to take a test drive with what Nvidia is pitching a the "standard for professional graphics" and with some exceptions, that did prove to be the case here at (tool.)  Here are the technical specs of this new beast.

Specifications / Features Of The PNY Quadro 4 900 XGL
A GeForce 4 That Is All Business

Technical Specifications

  • Powered by NVIDIA® Quadro4? 900 XGL
  • 60 Million Triangles Per Second
  • 128-MB DDR SDRAM
  • Lightspeed Memory Architecture? II
  • Dual nfiniteFX? Vertex Shader -
    programmable second generation effect processor
  • Resolution up to 2048 x 1536 at 75 Hz per display
  • Flexible multi-screen solution with full 3D support
  • Dual monitor connectors (DVI-I and DVI-I)
  • Advanced desktop management with
    nView? technology
  • OpenGL stereo connector for shutter glasses
  • Unified Driver Architecture optimized for
    OpenGL and DirectX applications
  • Includes MAXtreme, POWERDraft, and
    Quadro4View software

Key Features:

  • Hardware overlay planes
  • Hardware antialiased lines
  • Two-sided lighting
  • Full-scene antialiasing
  • 2nd-generation occlusion culling
  • LMA II
  • 2048x1536 per display
  • nfiniteFX II Engine

Professional Certifications

MCAD:

  • PTC® Pro/Engineer(TM)

  • SDRC I-DEAS® Master Series

  • UGS® Solid Edge(TM)

  • Dassault CATIA®

  • Solidworks®

  • Autodesk AutoCAD

DCC:

  • Alias|Wavefront(TM) Maya

  • SOFTIMAGE®|XSI

  • Discreet 3ds max(TM)

  • Newtek Lightwave 3D(TM)

Operating Systems

  • Windows® XP (WHQL Certified)

  • Windows® 2000 (WHQL Certified)

  • Windows NT® (WHQL Certified)

I must say the heat-sink graphics are a nice touch. I can see Nvidia is taking a few tips from the automotive industry by making the engine compartment look appealing. Then there is the dual DVI output, which can be a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective.  However, all in all it is an impressive looking card from a hardware standpoint, with it's tiny little BGA memory chips, placed strategically around the GPU.

Setup and Drivers 

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