NVIDIA Quadro FX 2000 and ATi FireGL X1

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The NVIDIA Quadro FX 2000 And The ATi FireGL X1
Professional Graphics Solutions Do Battle

By: Dave Altavilla
August 20, 2003

 

   

 

 

A Closer Look At The NVIDIA Quadro FX 2000
NV30GL Targeted Toward The High End

NVIDIA's Quadro FX 2000 carries much the same design as a standard GeForce FX 5900/5800 card.  The heat sink has a radial fin design with a "turbine" like fan embedded at one end.  The fan circulates air out over the fins of the main heat-sink and then outward toward the cooling fins of the heat sinks for its 256MB of DDR2 DRAM, that is on board.

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Dual DVI


 
Heat Sink


 
External Power


 

Which brings us to a key difference between this product and NVIDIA's upcoming Quadro FX 3000 product.  The NV30GL core, like the Consumer NV30 product, has a 128 bit DDR2 memory controller on board and drives performance through a narrower bus width but with a fairly robust overall clock speed of 800MHz DDR.  The upcoming NV35GL based Quadro FX 3000 posses a 256 bit memory bus architecture, supporting standard DDR DRAM at 850MHz.  The relative performance between these two cards should be an interesting case study but memory bandwidth may or may not be a limiting factor for Professional CAD and DCC application performance.  We have the Quadro FX 3000 in the lab at this very moment actually and will be showing you how it performs comparably in the weeks ahead.  So stay tuned!

A Closer Look At The ATi FireGL X1
The R300 Refined

Like the Quadro FX 2000, the ATi FireGL X1 is an absolute clone of its consumer grade counterpart.  The only difference, at least on the surface, between the FireGL X1 and a Radeon 9700 Pro, is its dual DVI output and the DVI mezzanine card that is attached to the feature connector header on the top side of the board.

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Dual DVI

 
Heat Sink

 
DVI Mezz Card

 

 

As you can see, the external power connector (top right of middle shot) is the same, as well as the heat-sink that is used on top of the VPU.  Additionally, ATi designed this card with the same 350MHz (700MHz DDR) Samsung chips for its 128MB of on board memory.   Which then leads us to a key differentiator between the two contenders here in our showcase.  The ATi FireGL X1 has a 256 bit memory interface and as we mentioned earlier, NVIDIA's Quadro FX 2000 has a 128 bit memory interface.  However, while the QFX 2000 runs DDR2 memory at 800MHz, the FGL X1 runs standard DDR DRAM at 620MHz.  The raw memory bandwidth figures equate to 12.8GB/sec for the QFX 2000 and 19.8GB/sec for the FGL X1.  Our next match-up and follow-on article, is an ATi FireGL X2-256 versus NVIDIA Quadro FX 3000 head to head showcase.  Here both cards will be sporting 256 bit memory interfaces at 850MHz for the Quadro FX 3K and 620MHz again for the FireGL X2.  Stay tuned to HotHardware for further details.  For now, we'll look at these two current generation cards and show you what they are both made of, beyond the hardware level. 

   

Drivers And Test Setup

 


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