[Sidefx-houdini-list] hardware innovations

Mark A. Bolstad mbolstad at arl.army.mil
Fri Dec 16 14:20:19 EST 2005

My question is: Do you *really* need the features in a 4500?

We spec'ed out a large graphics cluster (think single system image with
n nodes, each node has dual-core CPU, and two PCIe x16 graphics cards,
where n > 32), and we opted for the GeForce 7800 instead of the 4500.
It's nearly identical in raw performance with greater than 1.5x the
memory bandwidth (33 vs 54) for a third the cost.

This is the only link I can find that actually compares the two cards.
Note that this is on the new Quad Mac and the 7800 isn't the 512 GTX

>From the article (http://www.barefeats.com/quad03.html):

Apple's own test graphs show the Quadro FX 4500 running Motion only 3.3%
faster and Halo only 3.6% faster than the 7800 GT. Yet it costs 3.7
times as much ($350 vs $1650). True the FX 4500 has 512MB of DDR3 and
supports two 30" Cinema displays, but it "eats" two slots. 

One of our readers (Mark Wilkins) reminded us that the Quadro has
additional features that are not present on either GeForce card. These
include hardware support for anti-aliased points and lines, accelerated
clip planes, and two-sided lighting -- features important to advanced
design and visualization applications. It also has an integrated stereo
3D port. For those users who are considering the purchase to run
software like Maya, the Quadro may well be worth the extra money. 


Also, consider talking with a vendor and see if they'll let you run
side-by-side tests.


On Fri, 2005-12-16 at 13:15 -0500, Jed Schwartz wrote:
> We're considering the 4500 GC because there's a promotional discount  
> through the end of the year-
> I'm working with BOXX to build the system- I know they're not the  
> cheapest way to go, but  we've been
> really happy with the systems they have put together for us in the past-
> We'll definitely discuss the case and fan config-
> Thanks for all the great feedback!
> Jed-
> On Dec 16, 2005, at 12:36 PM, Mark Alexander wrote:
> >> So is the graphics card in this package overkill-?
> >>
> >
> > Right now, probably. In a year or so, maybe not. Hard to say... I  
> > usually buy the 2nd or 3rd best card in the lineup, since the  
> > markup on the performance leader is huge, and the different is  
> > often not very noticeable.
> >
> > The other thing to be aware of is heat. The 2 252 Opterons run at  
> > 92W apiece, the Quadro 4500 is rated at 110W, and high-performance  
> > hard drives like the 74Mb WD Raptor you have produce quite a bit of  
> > heat when active. High-performance memory produces a little heat  
> > too, and you've got a lot of it. The power supply you'll need for  
> > all this will also generate quite a bit. You truly could make your  
> > coffee on this rig :)
> >
> > To combat heat buildup, if you can get a spacious aluminum case  
> > with several fan headers, you'll have fewer headaches in the  
> > future. They're more expensive (around $150-200), but they pay off  
> > quickly by keeping your components cool (so they last longer). The  
> > higher quality cases often have larger fans (the 6" variety) which  
> > move more air and do so more quietly than the smaller PC fans.
> >
> > Just thought I'd mention it as the case often gets overlooked in a  
> > big purchase. I bought one for my latest rig and not only is it  
> > shiny & pretty, but cool & quiet as well.
> >
> > M.
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