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Old 23-04-2008, 07:20 AM   #1
Eelco
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Question nVidia Quadro FX 1500 vs FX 1700

Hello,

Yes.... It's another vs post. I couldn't find what I was looking for in other comparison posts. So here it goes.

I drastically need a proper, but affordable, PCIE graphics card for my 3D projects. I use my workstation mainly for modeling and texturing game characters/objects in Maya 2008, Bodypaint and Photoshop. On the side I sometimes use Adobe premiere, After FX and AVID Xpress Pro.


Looking at the qualified hardware comparison charts for Maya 2008 and Maya 2008 extensions 2, I notice that the nVidia Quadro is best supported. So I think Iíll go for the Quadro FX.


Now here is where I donít know what to choose from. I also donít really know how all the features benefit. All features are explained to be the best quality and the fastest performance and what not. No matter what card I choose. (!?!) But seriously. "Shader Model", "Subpixel Precision", "Antialiasing", "Filtering", "Blending" and all those others. Will they improve only my workprogress (colors/effects in viewport, reaction time, render time, etc) or will my rendered image look better too?

Budged wise, I was looking for something around the 500-600 EURO range to start with. That would be the Mid-Range FX 1500 and FX 1700 from PNY. Although their prices are very close, looking at the PNY comparison charts, they still differ a lot. Here are the major differences:

FX 1500
256MB GDDR3 SDRAM
256bit interface
40 GBps
Shader model 3.0
DX 9.0c
Maya-02 85.31


FX 1700
512MB DDR2 SDRAM
128bit interface
12.8 GBps
Shader model 4.0
DX 10.0
Maya-02 110.80

What to look for?
More but slower memory? (DDR)
Less but faster memory? (GDDR)
Larger memory interface?
How about the Bandwith?
The FX 1700 is a newer model, but still, the memory bandwidth is only 32% of the "older" FX 1500!?

And than there is the not so much more expensive FX 1700 Professional Video Edition. Sounds interesting since I'm doing video editing on the side. But the specs look the same as the normal FX 1700. Or did I overlook something?

Can somebody shed some light on this and help me make a decision?

My current specs:
4GB RAM
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
ASUS P5B-VM
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Old 23-04-2008, 08:33 AM   #2
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Shader model is the rendering bit of the GPU (I think) and it calculates the color of the pixel. I think in your context, shader model is referring to DirectX and OpenGL support, which is important as older cards may not support newer versions of the OpenGL which may be required by Maya or other graphics apps.

Subpixel precision... not sure what it means in this context, but it has to do with using parts of a pixel to make images more precise. Its sort of hard to explain, but if you have used Vista with a LCD monitor, you should notice fonts have a multicoloured look to them. Thats becuase of subpixel rendering, and it makes the fonts look sharper.

Aantialiasing depth (wrong term?) is very important in the display quality of shaded models. The higher the depth, the more precise the colour of a pixel is going to be when its displaying a line or edge, so the smoother and more precise the display is going to be. However, it won't help in the quality of a rendered image, unless you are using the hardware renderer.

As for filtering I suppose you mean bilinear filtering? If so, it means the ability to smooth a texture when it is applied on something that is either larger or smaller. Essentially, it makes the texture smoother and less pixelated.


As for which card is better, it is hard to say. I imagine that the FX 1700 is for 'large' jobs since its memory is twice as big, so it would make up for the lack of bandwidth by not needing to fetch data from the computer's physical memory so often.

The FX 1500 will be excellent for 'smaller' jobs I think cause it has way higher bandwidth. The only problem I see with it is that its DirectX and shader model versions are older, so software support, especially with software released in the next few years may be problematic. DirectX 9.0c is basically dead anyways, Microsoft is pushing v. 10 with Vista.

Of course this is my opinion, but I hoped I helped.
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Old 24-04-2008, 11:34 AM   #3
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I guess you're right about going for the latest supported DX, OpenGL and shader model. So, the FX 1700 looks like the best choice.
The features are briefly described in the card specs too. I put a couple of links to them in my previous post. But what u're saying is that I should be getting better quality renderings with a Quadro hardware rendering than with Maya software rendering?
I never tried hardware rendering before. But if I get the same result with software rendering, I'm going to forget this quite costly Quadro idea all together.
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Old 25-04-2008, 03:18 AM   #4
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Doh! I didn't see the links when I first read this thread...

Anyways, what I meant is that when you are in shaded view, or high quality shaded mode, a Quadro should look better than a stock GeForce, with the added bonus of being certified by Autodesk.

With hardware rendering, I think a Quadro should have better results than a GeForce, but when compared to software rendering, it would probaly be worse since hardware rendering doesn't have as much extra features.

Now that I have the pdf from the links on my screen, the FX 1700 does look like the better choice. If you look at the bottom, the FX 1700 beats the FX 1500 in every single benchmark, plus its got a newer GPU than the FX 1500 and a faster PCIe interface (8 GB/s vs 4 GBs). These features make it faster than the FX 1500 despite having slower memory.
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:26 PM   #5
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Was away for a couple of days (on some island in the south china sea).

Anyways. Thanks for the reply. I noticed the links aren't very obvious. The simplymaya.com webstyle doesn't show links very well.

Too bad the software rendering will result in better quality renderings than hardware on a quadro card of my budget. I was hoping the extra cash I'll put into buying such card would especially improve my renderings.
I could have considered buying a similar, but cheaper, ATI FireGL card if they didn't show so much trouble in qualified hardware chart
http://download.autodesk.com/us/maya...sion2_win.html
I've been using low-end and onboard GeForce graphics cards/chips most of my life. But they allways give me a hard time whenever I install a new version of maya. The comon GUI update problems with GeForce is only solved by upgrading, or sometimes even downdgrading, GeForce drivers. But because my recently bought computer has a crap Intel graphics chip and really gives me problems I can't work with, I've decided to try a workstation card. An FX 1700 it will be.
Thanks for your help and technical insight.
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Old 09-05-2008, 11:30 AM   #6
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Just took a look at the Autodesk qualified hardware chart... so many fail and warning icons!

Well, I hope that your new card will make your work easier.
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