FirePro V3900: Entry-Level Workstation Graphics

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eodeo

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[citation][nom]jecastej[/nom]Great reading and always interested, so thanks to Tom's for doing great reviews including pro graphic hardware. Thanks also to confirm you "can't" flash a gaming card these days as easily, as I understand is the same or even impossible to flash an Nvidia pro card.[/citation]

I really should have said this as well. I love THG and I think it's great that they do these tests- even when they confirm that ogl and quadro-like-gpus are abysmal as ever.

[citation][nom]jecastej[/nom]I run both a Quadro 600 and a GeForce 460 on the same machine. It is working as expected in Maya and I can play games at the expected 460 fps I read on the internet, included Tom's Hardware.[/citation]

Wait, you're not actually saying that Maya runs better on 3.5x slower GPU, do you? I know Maya is OGL, but I thought that they optimized it in such a way as not to be in same league as Catia and Pro Engineer. I cannot help but shudder the thought of using non MS platform. It means that I'd be stuck using OpenGL no matter what- directX being proprietary and all. I cant believe that its 2012 and OpenGL is still as bad as ever.
 

jecastej

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Well, unfortunately, I don't use Catia or Pro Engineer to compare the performance differences on those pro apps but under Windows 7 64, plain and clear, Maya runs better on the way underpowered Q600 than on the GeForce 460 1MB. And believe, its true as I tried every option myself just to do a reality check. I installed both cards separately and then together. At every point I opened Maya and the same scene. Almost always I had to adjust the Nvidia control panel and do a reboot. But in the end it was clear, with the humble Quadro 600, Maya shined with quality and speed over the GeForce 460. Both cards have the same amount of memory (1 GB), so that is not a factor here.

Take a close look at the charts in this article and you will find that actually the same happens with the FireGLs being faster than the gaming counter parts. But as I read elsewhere the gaming cards even scale worst with more powerful options as these $500 and over gaming monsters are just marginally faster with pro apps than cheaper $150 also gaming cards, but still far from being adequate compared to entry level $100-150 pro cards.

Could this be artificially managed by the vendors or is this the result from optimizations and different use of their resources that is on a technical level I have no experience with. If the companies are limiting their hardware as they have to distribute their R&D expenses on a very limited professional market that is another question. I can say I am a satisfied customer on both markets as I have decent options at almost every price point.

I have been saying this, don't buy or use expensive $500-and more gaming cards to run both games and pro apps unless you don't care about true pro performance. Save at least $150 and buy a dedicated entry Quadro, at least to do quality modeling, animations and general visualizations.

And yes Maya is an Open GL app, but, Maya now comes with another display port renderer called Viewport 2.0 that I don't now much if is still OGL. I am using the regular Maya viewport and what I experienced is only using this viewport.

Also, to complement my experience, the latest pro and gaming drivers set me back on Maya performance and I decided to reinstall the older trusted drivers. So, that is another factor you have to deal with.
 

jgutz2006

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Well i'm not sure im 100% behind you on not buying expensive cards for gaming and pro apps, I've got a v5800 and a Radeon 5870 2gb card, so both close in price but the radeon dominates it in gaming as well as Autocad/Revit/Sketchup (havent used the other apps you talk about), But i do believe in paying for FirePro cards of "lesser" power over Radeons for most business situations. My wife uses my workstation for CAD renderings and its faster than her work Quadro's at this task at least (Not sure which Quadro model)
 

eodeo

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[citation][nom]jecastej[/nom]But as I read elsewhere the gaming cards even scale worst with more powerful options as these $500 and over gaming monsters are just marginally faster with pro apps than cheaper $150 also gaming cards, but still far from being adequate compared to entry level $100-150 pro cards. [/citation]

I have said the same thing left and right on Autodesk Max' forums. While 3DS Max, as a directX appn does not suffer the same penalty with gaming cards, it does run into speed throttle as you run over ~100-150$ cards. In my experience, all GPU bound non-game-apps I use- Max/Premiere CS5/vReveal use about 100 cuda cores. It does not matter how fast the memory is, how wide the bits are, how much RAM you use, or how fast the cores are or even if you're using ati or nvidia card. For ati cards you simply devide ati cores by the number of the very long instruction word they are built on (you either divide ati cores by 4 or 5 to get equivalent nvidia cores). Interestingly quadro 600 would make an ideal 3ds Max work card in theory, despite Max not being OGL limited. Unfortunately I have not tested this.

[citation][nom]jecastej[/nom]And yes Maya is an Open GL app, but, Maya now comes with another display port renderer called Viewport 2.0 that I don't now much if is still OGL. I am using the regular Maya viewport and what I experienced is only using this viewport. [/citation]

From what I understand, Maya viewport 2.0 and Max' own new nitrous rendering for the viewports share the same core. However Max' is in directX while Maya's is in OpenGL. Also, why arenent you using it? It's supposed to be miles faster and better looking than the old viewport shading. I know this to be true for Max nitrous.

[citation][nom]jecastej[/nom]Could this be artificially managed by the vendors or is this the result from optimizations and different use of their resources that is on a technical level I have no experience with. If the companies are limiting their hardware as they have to distribute their R&D expenses on a very limited professional market that is another question. [/citation]

I dont believe that the cards differ in any way via hardware. I think that drivers are what's dictating the pace of the results. This was surely the case with the last softmodable geforce 6800 to quadro 4000. Things may have changed since, but I'm still not buying that "pro" cards have actual hardware based benefits- other than maybe piece of hardware that identifies it as "pro" to the drivers.

Either way, thank you for confirming it about Maya. I saw the test results here- but they were using the SPECheat test which is known far and wide for being truthful and meaningful (I have never seen so much lies in one test alone). Anyway, I'd like to see non-SPECheat test version of the Autodesk Autocad. I think it was version 2010 of Autocad that finally made the switch from OpenGL to directX. If it works like expected- ie - not aritifically limited on gaming cards- I imagine that they(autodesk) will make the switch for Maya some time too. Or maybe not, since Maya is cross platform app... I cannot help but think that other platforms should be fighting very hard to eliminate or improve OpenGL, unless they want to lose their 3d users. Not every platform has the benefit of their user-base believing that their OS is run on magic dust.
 

COLGeek

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I actually have one of these in my workstation rig (E3-1230/Asus P8B WS/16GB). I use for photo and video rendering, primarily. I have been very impressed with the price/performance ratio of the V3900.

The is a very good product as long as you understand the capabilities and limitations of the V3900 and don't expect it to perform like a much higher cost (and capability) GPU.
 
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Greatings, loved the comparison. I am in the situations transitioning from uni to working. I am working on a large project with the CAD file getting rather large. Im running a phenom 955 overclocked with 16GB RAM my GFX is a GTX 570. Im struggling to work on the model and i dont know if there will be a considerable difference between the fire pro v3900 and the GTX as none of the benchmarks are comparable. To spend £110 on a new card so I can work more smoothly would be amazing.

Also one question with regards to people using a quadro 600 in conjunction with a 460 i take it they arent running at the same time, If they are running in parrallel would it be more advisable to purchase the 600 to pair up wth the 570??

thank you.
 

eodeo

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As Igor Wallossek, author of this article polity pointed out - firepro V3900 is essentially the same as AMD Radeon HD 6570. You can expect V3900 to game as well as HD 6570- or put simply- it isnt made for gaming.

Also, it's no secret that the higher performance of workstation cards versus their gamer-oriented brethren in professional applications is mostly a result of optimized drivers.
While 6570 cannot do pro OpenGL apps as good as V3900, both are equally good at gaming, for having virtually the same hardware and same (unhindered) gaming drivers.
 
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Where can I download the BIOS from the FirePro V3900? Maybe a link?
 

lemonadesoda

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I remember (many years ago) running a FireGL X3-256 AGP. It was significantly faster than an equivalent X800 in any OpenGL game. And, as far as I could tell, no noticable difference for DX9. I don't know if it was just a better set of drivers for OpenGL or if there were BIOS modifications that put emphasis on drawing rather than shading and in older games perhaps the balance was just in favour of this card. It would be nice if this review included a DX and an OpenGL game for reference.
 

eodeo

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Unless I'm mistaken, but glancing at the test names- its all openGL here. Luckily for many users (3ds Max for one) only openGL is still being crippled on the "gaming" cards. GPU producers still haven't had a serious thought on how d3d could be nerfed too.
 

MasonS

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I bought this card for my wife for her photography business machine, and it is more than adequate. It supports 1 billion colors and outputs accurately to her 30-bit monitor using Photoshop CS6. As she is doing photo editing only (no video) it is perfect. And street price if you shop around is only ~$100.

It also overclocks like a fiend. Stock CPU and memory are 650/900, but our card runs happily with no artifacts or crashes as high as 920/1325. Using Sapphire Trixx I keep it clocked at 875/1275, and Cinebench and benchmarks show ~50% speed improvement across the board (I don't remember exactly but Cinebench went from around 37 to 56). And even running Kombuster full-bore at 875/1275 it never goes above 61C.

So as a budget "professional" card, it is quite nice.
 
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Was wondering why the new radeon HD7750 card was excluded from all of benchmark with the anti-aliasing on?
 

nipsip

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Well now, if you are using Adobe Photoshop CS6 as your main reason for a graphics card, then you cannot do much better than a GetForce 480 GTX which you can buy used for $100 + shipping. 384 Bit memory interface width and 480 Cuda cores.
 
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