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Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR
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Date: Dec 15, 2001
Section:Graphics/Sound
Author: HH Editor
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Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR - Page 1

The Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR
Professional Graphic Solutions for High-End 3D Applications

 May 26, 2000 - By John "Tool" Fiegener

 

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is John Fiegener.  I am the Founder and Owner of tool. Inc.  We are a Product Design Group specializing in mechanical design of products mainly in the consumer market.  I do much of my work with the help of CAD applications and powerful workstations driving the software.  An example of one of my more recognizable pieces, would be the lock I helped design for the Kryptonite Lock Company.  You can thank me for keeping that snazzy new Mountain Bike you have, safe and sound.  ;-)

At any rate, this type of advanced hardware and software help us to conceive ideas in real time. We have the capabilities to design and model concepts on screen. We can then test these concepts and apply real world situations to the data models. Once the model is sufficient we can then send the data out for a rapid prototype and have a tangible concept in a day or two. The ability to manipulate this data rapidly is very important to the time frame of the development. Improvements in CPU speed and graphic cards have allowed for decreased time in getting a concept to market.

In the last few months, Nvidia has released a global assault on the professional workstation video card arena. It was only a matter of time before gaming cards and professional graphic cards became one. When I first started using high end CAD applications like Pro/Engineer it was on a $28,000 Silicon Graphics Indigo 2 running Unix. Today I do most of my work on an over clocked Windows NT Athlon 900 that I paid $2,400 and it is basically 10 times as fast as the SGI.  If someone had told me then, that this was to be the future of CAD workstations, I would have laughed. 

Just as the GeForce has altered the stage of the gaming card market so too has Elsa with its release of the Gloria II, driven by the Nvidia Quadro GPU processor.  This is a Hot Hardware look at the Elsa Gloria II Quadro with 64MB of SDRAM unified memory on board. Lets take a look at the specifications.

 

Specifications / Features Of The Elsa Gloria II Quadro

A clean and compact design (see the size comparison below.)

  • NVIDIA Quadro GPU
  • 64-MB SDRAM unified memory
  • 50 Gflop transform and lighting engine
  • Enhanced support for anti-aliased points and lines, Two-sided lighting, Front buffer 3D clipping and shared back-buffer support
  • 350 MHz RAMDAC support display resolution up to 2048 x 1536 pixels at 85 Hz in 3D TrueColor, Over 200 billion operations per second processing power
  • Optimized for OpenGL (Windows 98/Windows NT4.0/Windows 2000), DirectX3 (Windows NT 4.0), Direct X5/6 (Windows 98/Windows 2000), stereo OpenGL pending
  • Full OpenGL 1.2 ICD driver support.
  • Delivers up to 17 million triangles per second
  • Hardware acceleration of up to 8 light sources
  • Native, integrated OpenGL Installable Client Driver (ICD) support for Intel®'s next-generation Pentium® III XeonTM and AMD Athlon? CPUs
  • Windows® 2000, Windows NT® and Linux O/S support
  • Software DVD player ELSAmovie on CD

This is one of the cleanest and compact designs of a video card that I have seen. The Quadro is even smaller than the GeForce. At this rate, I should be doing CAD work on my Palm Pilot. Here is a look at a the Quadro and the two other cards I benchmarked it against.

 

That's the Quadro on the bottom, then a 3D Labs GVX1 and 3D Labs GMX 2000. The incredible shrinking video card!

Compared to the other two boards the Quadro looks more like a modem. The heat sink and fan on the Quadro are substantially larger than those on the 3D Labs cards, but not as nicely packaged. One thing the GVX1 does of that the Quadro seems to lack is the ability so support flat panel display. There is a connector with no reference at the base of the card next to the video 15 pin connector that may serve that purpose. As with most professional video cards the Quadro comes without the obligatory video input or the host of free games that is almost a standard with gaming cards. Elsa does give you a DVD movie entitled Elsa Movie. Most work stations do not come with a DVD player, as the boss may not want you watching videos while on the job. 

Let's get this card under the hood and see what she can do.  I will be benching this card against two other cards that I have used and respect as high end video cards from a vendor who has had a track record for delivering outstanding professional video cards. 

 

Setup and Installation

 
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Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR - Page 2

The Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR
Professional Graphic Solutions for High-End 3D Applications

 May 26, 2000 - By John "Tool" Fiegener

 

Installation / Setup With the Elsa Gloria II Quadro
Care free driver installation
 
I have had Elsa products in the past and set up is usually one  of the easiest that I have performed. The Quadro was no exception.  I inserted the card and placed the CD in and the setup does all the work. The drivers loaded and the machine rebooted with out hesitation or the request for the NT disc. Elsa drivers are clean and hassle free. At start up Elsa places a small icon for easy access to the display setup for customization. Here's a look at the Elsa display settings.
 

 

The 350 MHz RAMDAC support display resolution up to 2048 x 1536 pixels at 85 Hz in 3D TrueColor. This is one of the nicest resolutions that I have seen. Although at 2048 x 1536 pixels it feels like you need magnifying glass to see the desktop. I usually use a setting of 1280 x 1024, true color on my 21" monitors and that seems pretty comfortable.

 

 
The color control tab allows the user to adjust and save the gamma settings. I generally stuck with the default settings.

This is the Elsa application setting tab. If you're running Pro/E or Solidworks you may want to investigate some the settings that are optimized for the different applications. I saw little difference in testing when I set the application settings to either Pro/E or Solidworks. I actually felt that the default setting seemed to perform the best.

 
This is the Elsa Info tab. I actually find this to be a nice addition that eliminates the need for a separate CPU info utility such as WCPUID. This tab gives all the states on the CPU, Graphics and Direct X. Direct X is unsupported in Windows NT put is supported in Windows 2000 Workstation.

Lets get down to the Benchmarks

 
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Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR - Page 3

The Elsa Gloria II Quadro SDR
Professional Graphic Solutions for High-End 3D Applications

 May 26, 2000 - By John "Tool" Fiegener

Head-to-Head Versus The Competition
The Gloria II Rules


SPEC Solidworks Benchmark 98

I chose to run only the graphics portion of the Spec Solidworks Benchmark to eliminate any performance variables based on the CPU.

Click image for full view

 

Click image for full view


The Gloria II clearly dominates on the Solidworks test as well as out performing the GVX1 and the GMX easily. I have yet to see an impact from the GMX that would justify the additional cost. When you look at GVX1, the GMX pails in comparison, especially when you add in the cost factor. The Gloria II excels at shaded display and rotation. If you're like me and shaded rotation is key, then the Gloria II is the card of choice. I noticed flawless rotation even at the highest detail setting in Solidworks and a shade level of 10 in Pro/E. The Gloria II has yet to meet its match.

 

 

SPEC Viewperf 6.1

SPEC's Viewperf is a series of tests using segments of the actual application. The test performs sub routines of each application then calculates a benchmark based on the performance of the CPU, video card and the weight of the individual test. The four test perfomed are DesignReview Viewset (DRV-06,  Data Explorer (DX-05), Advanced Visualizer (AWadvs-03), Lightscape-03 and Pro/CDRS.
 

 
Here are the results...

 

Once again the Gloria II was clearly superior, especially in the Awadvs (Visualizer) test. The Gloria II was almost 50 percent faster than the GVX1 in the Pro/CDRS category, which is good news to me as this is an application I favor. It is clear that the Gloria II benefits from the ability to process 50 Gflops compared to the meager 3 of the GVX1 and GMX 2000. Even with 96 Megs of memory, the GMX performs badly compared to the Goria II or GVX1.

 

The Quadro is an amazing breath of fresh air to the professional video card circuit. To see a card appear from the gaming market that clearly has shaken the big "professional card vendors" can only be better for the industry. Elsa's Gloria II is and outstanding card for MCAD applications and delivers the greatest performance for the dollar. It would be interesting to see how the Quadro compares to the GeForce DDR with 64 megs. If that GeForce can perform at 75% the capacity of the Quadro for 1/3 the price than there really would be no line between the professional video cards and gaming cards.

The Elsa Gloria II Quadro is a dynamite addition to the professional video card market. It will be interesting to see the flow of new products from the established vendors in this arena to compete with Quadro. The Quadro deserves a stellar 9 on the heat meter only shy from a perfect score because I could see little difference between the Quadro and the GeForce DDR 64 except the price.

We're giving the Elsa Gloria II a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of...

John "Tool" Fiegener

tool.  Product Design and Development

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