NVIDIA Quadro CX Pro Graphics For Adobe CS4


Nvidia's first generation QuadroCX product is, at its core, a GT200-based graphics card, the same architecture which powers the GeForce GTX 280 and the QuadroFX 4800. Under the cooling system lies the same massive 1.4 billion transistor, 65nm graphics processor which has been part of Nvidia's high-end lineup since mid last year. The GT200, while not the most fresh and exciting part on the market, is still one of the most powerful graphics processors period, and its raw number crunching power should not be underestimated. This is a big, huge, chip. Obviously, Nvidia thinks that CS4 acceleration requires a lot of horsepower, as they could have easily made their first generation QuadroCX product on any of their existing GPU architectures. They chose the GT200.

  • Nvidia GT200 Graphics Processor

  • 65nm Manufacturing Process

  • 602 MHz GPU Clock Speed

  • 192 Stream Processors

  • Shader Model 4.0 and OpenGL 3.0 Support

  • 1.5 GB of GDDR-3 Memory

  • 800 MHz GDDR-3 Clock Speed

  • 384-bit Memory Controller

  • 76 GB/s Memory Bandwidth
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16 Connector

  • Dual Slot Copper Cooling System

  • Standard Length Card (EATX Not Required)

  • 2 x DisplayPort, 1 x DL-DVI Outputs

  • Stereoscopic Output

  • Genlock/Framelock Compatible

  • 2-Way Nvidia SLI Multi-GPU Connector

  • Supports Windows XP and Vista 32-bit and 64-bit, Linux 32-bit and 64-bit, Solaris

QuadroCX Hardware Details (yes, you also can enable PhysX physics if you wish)

If these specifications look familiar to you, there's a reason. The QuadroCX, in its current form, is a carbon copy of the QuadroFX 4800 graphics card which we reviewed a few months back. Both cards use the same 192-core GT200 graphics processing unit, 1.5 GB of memory, and both cards carry the same clock speeds and features. Nvidia is effectively manufacturing one PCB and one GPU and delivering two product lines with it. We don't have any problem with this, as long as the feature set and prices are addressed properly.

There is one difference with the QuadroCX product, besides a different name tattooed on the cooling unit and a different name in the driver, and that's the software bundle. The QuadroCX board is bundled with a plugin for Adobe Premiere Pro, dubbed RapiHD, which allows for GPU offloading and acceleration for content encoding. While this plug-in was a standalone product, it is now only bundled with the QuadroCX lineup. The plugin's developer, Elemental Technologies, claims huge performance benefits when encoding media on a GPU compared to a traditional dual or quad-core CPU. The plugin is tied to the GPU on the driver level, too, so only Quadro CX boards are able to enable the plugin. 

H.264 Media Encoding with RapiHD

With effectively the same hardware as a QuadroFX 4800, but with a GPU acceleration plugin for Premiere Pro, the Quadro CX should, in theory, cost a bit more than the QuadroFX 4800. A quick scan of prices today shows the QuadroCX card for about $1950, whereas the normal QuadroFX 4800 card retails for $1570. This means you're effectively paying an additional $380 price premium for the GPU encoding plugin, which limits this board's appeal to serious users of Abobe Premiere Pro. If you are a heavy user of this application, the extra speed could certainly be worth the additional price premium, which we'll showcase later.  For now, enjoy the video above for a little taste of what's to come.

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