NVIDIA QuadroFX 4800 1.5 GB Workstation Graphics Card

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Board Design

Here it is, the QuadroFX 4800 in the flesh. The 4800 is all business, despite using the same cooling system and board design as we've seen with the GeForce GTX 280 and 260-series cards. NVIDIA has painted their cooling system in a simple silver and black matte finish which matches up with the rest of their other Quadro series cards to date. The card is impressively heavy, typically showcasing a heavy duty cooling system is employed underneath.

QuadroFX 4800 - Top

QuadroFX 4800 - Bottom

The QuadroFX 4800 is quite a bit longer than the competing FirePro V8700 card we looked at a few weeks back. While the FirePro V8700 fits comfortably in standard ATX sized cases, the QuadroFX 4800 pushes the boundaries out a little further. While it will still fit in standard ATX cases, the length of the PCB is slightly longer than most standard ATX motherboards. It's small enough not to require an Extended ATX chassis, but would certainly be more comfortable in one. As with all other cards of this class, the QuadroFX 4800 occupies two case I/O slots.

Keeping the GT200 GPU cool is a fairly beefy cooling system, which covers nearly all of the card's PCB in one way or another, for better or worse. The cooling system features copper cooling on the GPU internally, and is able to route heat away from the GPU through a series of heatsinks which cover the top and back of the card. On the front of the card is a heavy duty plastic which acts as an airflow shroud along with its integrated angled cooling fan, which routes heat out of the back of the chassis.

Hidden on the top of the card in a secret compartment are two of the board's important connectors. On the left side, you have a connector for a Genlock/Framelock adapter board, if your workstation-level app requires it. The board isn't included for cost reasons, of course, but this little connector is one of the key differentiators between Quadro cards, as NVIDIA typically only features this connector on their high-end boards. Next to it, we have an SLI adapter, which can be used to connect two QuadroFX boards together in SLI. NVIDIA actually supports multi-GPU operation on their Quadro lineup, whereas ATI has taken a stand-off approach and does not allow you to enable multi-GPU support it on the driver level.

Genlock/Framelock and SLI Connectors

Stereo, Dual-Link DVI, and 2 x DisplayPort

The I/O panel is quite a bit different compared to recent QuadroFX releases, as it ditches the dual DVI output ports, instead opting for three way output. In the same space as a DVI port, NVIDIA has stuffed two DisplayPort connectors, each of which supports 2560x1600 displays in a new compact form factor. NVIDIA also supports 30-bit color on these outputs, handy for these new high-end displays which are now shipping. The board also offers a single dual-link DVI output port and a 3-pin stereo connector. A small heat exhaust vent squeezes in-between the two connectors.

The board supports PCI Express 2.0 x16 connectivity, which is on par with NVIDIA's latest shipping solutions. PCI Express 2.0 doubles card to chipset bandwidth on compliant motherboards, however, even if you have a first-gen PCI Express x16 slot, the card will work fine in it. It's unlikely that there will be significant performance difference between PCI Express 1.0 and 2.0 in terms of performance today, but of course, it's certainly good to have that extra bandwidth if you can.

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