Although the name GeForce is firmly embedded in the minds of gamers, the name Quadro doesn’t exactly ring a bell. Or at least not as quickly.
Just like GeForce, Quadro cards are also graphics cards, but they are made with different purposes. As such, they do have different specifications, but the big discrepancy in terms of price might lead some people to think that they’re getting a much better graphics card. This is not necessarily the case, but we’ll get to that.
Important caveat: Because Nvidia’s latest professional grade GPU A6000 is not officially Quadro branded, we’ll focus on keeping the comparisons between actual Quadro cards and consumer cards that came around the same time, for fairness’ sake.
First, let’s discuss some of the uses of each of these graphics cards.
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GeForce – A Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One
Being a top-of-mind graphics card brand and considered the ruler of the graphics card kingdom, it’s no surprise that you associate GPUs in general with GeForce the most. While it certainly does deserve its spot in the market, it’s important to note that GeForce is made to give gamers the best possible visual experience while gaming.
It’s crucial to say that while the most powerful GeForce cards out there, say an RTX 3090, can be quite good with more advanced tasks, they’re designed to deliver that awesome visual fidelity, and that’s the way in which its drivers are maintained. What we mean by this is that, as new games are released, Nvidia will work on their GeForce drivers and ensure that they are best optimized for each new release.
On the other hand, GeForce drivers will probably not do so well with CAD or a similar professional workspace software. There are some online users who have compared the use of GeForce for CAD to the use of a ticking time bomb because, if a problem pops up on the software side, GeForce is not likely to offer optimized drivers to correct that issue quickly enough (or at all).
One thing that’s interesting about this analogy is that they offer a very similar clock speed but a vastly different VRAM capacity. For example, RTX 2080 Ti has 11GB of GDDR6 memory while Quadro RTX 8000 has the incredulous 48GB of GDDR6 memory.
The reason for this is quite simple – there’s just no need for that much VRAM in modern gaming. Of course, as time goes on, there will be, but for now 11GB is perfectly fine.
This VRAM difference is probably the biggest reason for such a discrepancy in price. Sure, you could game on a Quadro card, but those extra gigabytes won’t enhance your gaming experience one bit. If the game needs just 6GB, it will only use 6GB; it’s that simple.
It’s crucial to state that GeForce cards can be used for 3D modelling or AI training, but not exactly at a professional level. While two GeForce cards can be linked via NVLink, the performance boost is still unfortunately related to the application’s usage of the technology, so we can’t guarantee the same result for every software out there.
Quadro – A Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All But One
Simply put, Quadro is a professional-grade graphics card, meaning it can do a variety of stuff for a lot of different industries. However, it’s fair to say that its best use would be in the fields of design and visualization. We’re talking about stuff like 3D modelling and animation.
For example, a Quadro card will allow you to have a much smoother experience when working with wireframes or double-sided polygons. Likewise, if you’re rendering a complicated 3D scene, Quadro is a lot faster than GeForce. It’s also worth mentioning that, for this exact reason, rendering farms are mostly made out of Quadro cards.
We explained earlier that these cards have several times more VRAM, which is exactly what these processes require. However, that’s not the only reason why Quadro is better suited for these tasks than GeForce.
As we previously mentioned, due to Nvidia dropping the Quadro naming convention, we’ll compare Quadro 8000 with the best GeForce card released around the same time, which is RTX 2080 Ti.
One aspect that we slightly overlooked when discussing the memory sizes of each video card is the bus width. Quadro 8000 has a bus with 384-bit width, while RTX 2080 Ti sports a 352-bit bus width. This might not seem like much of a difference, yet the fact that Quadro 8000 has a slightly faster clock and a wider bus means that there will be a much more noticeable difference in latency.
Processing power is another area where Quadro clearly wins.
RTX 2080 Ti is no slouch here either, with double-precision (non-boosted) of 367 GFLOPS, but Quadro RTX 8000’s 509.8 is simply better. Even GeForce’s boost to 421 GFLOPS falls short. The reason why the computation power is important is that Quadro cards users will have more calculations done in less time.
This is specifically useful in the fields of AI and for scientific experiments and advancements in the medical field. As big data becomes more and more prominent in the world of business, so does the need for large and strenuous data processing, for which the design of Quadro cards is highly useful.
For this specific reason, Quadro cards are specifically designed to endure long sessions of data crunching. As a bonus, Nvidia offers a much longer warranty on them, which can certainly come in handy.
Sure, there are other cards that are specifically designed to perform those big data crunches, but Quadro is a pretty good multi-purpose professional solution.
GeForce vs Quadro: Which Is The Right One For You?
As usual, this choice comes down to personal preference and intended use.
If you’re looking to have a quality experience while gaming and also experiment a little with 3D modelling or animation, then GeForce is a pretty good solution. The best reason why you should sacrifice a little in the performance department (as far as non-gaming activities go) is the enormous price difference from Quadro.
Getting a Quadro card should really be a question of how much money you can and are willing to invest in your business. Sometimes the skills you have just aren’t going to cut it and you need to get good equipment to go with it. If that’s the case, then Quadro is a perfect tool.