With the release of the QuadroFX 3700, there is no longer a price / performance chasm between NVIDIA’s mid-range and ultra-high end workstation product lineups. The QuadroFX 3700 fits smack dab in between the QuadroFX 1700 and 5600 parts in terms of overall price, but thankfully, in terms of performance, our tests show that the QuadroFX 3700 hits performance numbers far closer to the QuadroFX 5600. Despite having a significant raw horsepower disadvantage, the QuadroFX 3700 is able to bring workstation performance levels at about 90% of the 5600 product, while only being about 60% of the price tag. NVIDIA’s G92 is indeed one of their most flexible and powerful architectures to date.
Of course, the QuadroFX 5600 is, and has always been a niche product. The type of user who needs the 1.5 GB of memory which the QuadroFX 5600 offers is extremely small in number, and for those who still need these massive amounts of frame buffer, the 5600 card is still being offered. The 3700 is a far more mainstream offering, and for the vast majority of workstation class applications, it delivers excellent performance across the board. The QuadroFX 3700 is also overclockable as well, and with a bit of tweaking, you can all but eliminate the performance gap between the 3700 and 5600 in most benchmarks. Not that we would recommend anything like that in a mission critical workstation, though.
Performance aside, the card has all of its bases covered – but it’s also worth mentioning that the card is pleasant to live and work with. NVIDIA’s stock cooling system does an excellent job of keeping GPU temperatures in check while noise levels remain extremely low, even under heavy, prolonged usage. The card occupies minimal space in the chassis compared to other cards in this market, and overall power consumption is surprisingly low as well. The more modern 65nm manufacturing process that the card is produced on shows through. The QuadroFX 3700 card sips power compared to its bigger brother.
While NVIDIA’s $1,599 MSRP is a little off-putting, it’s good to see that even though these cards are just hitting the market, they’re already available for roughly half of this. You can actually find cards in the $800-$900 range. At this price point, the QuadroFX 3700 is fighting against the FireGL V7600 product lineup. At the moment, we would say that NVIDIA’s 3700 product delivers better price/performance and a better overall experience, although ATI’s V7600 does provide better performance in a few of our test suites. However, the QuadroFX 3700 consumes less power, creates less heat, is quieter, and generally performs a bit better across benchmarks overall. Of course, ATI isn’t sitting idle, as they’ve recently launched their new V8600 card with 1 GB of memory and a similar price-tag. We’ve got one in the labs and we’ll be looking at it soon.
With everything said, the QuadroFX 3700 is an excellent addition to NVIDIA’s workstation lineup and is a card that was desperately needed once the QuadroFX 4600 went end-of-life. We would have liked to see NVIDIA push the card to a 1 GB frame buffer, although we do feel that if they had done this, they would have seriously risked cannibalizing their existing QuadroFX 5600 sales, as performance between these two products is remarkably close. In all honesty, if NVIDIA pushed out a G92/G94 based QuadroFX card with ~25% higher clock speeds and at least 1 GB of memory, it would probalby outperform the QuadroFX 5600 and cost significantly less to manufacture and sell. This of course may in fact be coming but for now, we’re extremely happy with what we’re seeing with the QuadroFX 3700.