The name GeForce is firmly embedded in the minds of gamers, but Quadro is probably less familiar.
Like GeForce, Quadro cards are graphics cards, but they are created for different purposes. As such, they also have different specifications. The large price discrepancy between the two might lead some people to believe that they are buying a much better graphics card.
This is not necessarily the case, but we’ll get to that later.
Important: Because NVIDIA’s latest professional-grade GPU A6000 is not officially Quadro branded, we will focus on the comparisons between official Quadro cards and consumer cards that were released around the same time, for fairness’ sake.
First, let’s explore some of the uses of these graphics cards.
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GeForce – A Jack Of All Trades, Master Of One
Being a powerhouse graphics card brand and considered by many to be the ruler of the graphics world, it’s no surprise if you immediately associate GPUs with GeForce.
While it definitely deserves its spot atop the market, it’s important to note that GeForce cards are made to give gamers the best possible visual experience while gaming.
The most powerful GeForce cards out there, for example, an RTX 3090, can be quite good with more advanced tasks. Still, they are designed to deliver awesome visual fidelity, and that is the focus of NVIDIA’s driver updates.
This means that, as new games are released, NVIDIA works on their GeForce drivers to ensure that they are optimized for those new releases.
On the other hand, GeForce drivers might not do so well with CAD or similar professional workspace software. Some users online have compared the use of GeForce for CAD to a ticking time bomb because, if a problem occurs on the software side, GeForce is unlikely to offer driver updates to correct that issue quickly (if at all).
One aspect that is interesting about this comparison is that they offer very similar clock speeds but vastly different VRAM capacities. For example, the RTX 2080 Ti has 11GB of GDDR6 memory, while the Quadro RTX 8000 has an incredible 48GB of GDDR6 memory.
The reason for this is simple: there is no need for that amount of VRAM in modern gaming. As time goes on, there probably will be, but, for now, 11GB is perfectly fine.
This VRAM difference is probably the biggest reason for such a price difference. You could game on a Quadro card, but those extra gigabytes won’t enhance your gaming experience at all. If the game requires 6GB, it will only use 6GB.
It’s important to state that GeForce cards can be used for 3D modeling or AI training, but usually not to a professional level.
While two GeForce cards can be linked via NVLink, the performance boost is related to the application’s technology usage, so we can’t guarantee the same results for every piece of software.
Quadro – A Jack Of All Trades, Master Of All But One
Quadro is a professional-grade graphics card, meaning it can perform a variety of tasks for several different industries. However, its best uses are in the fields of design and visualization. We’re talking about tasks such as 3D modeling and animation.
For example, a Quadro card will allow you to have a much smoother experience when working with wireframes or double-sided polygons.
If you’re rendering a complicated 3D scene, Quadro is much faster than GeForce. This is the reason that rendering farms are generally made using Quadro cards.
We mentioned earlier that these cards have several times more VRAM, which is precisely what those processes require. However, that isn’t the only reason that Quadro is better suited for these tasks than GeForce.
As we previously mentioned, due to NVIDIA dropping the Quadro naming convention, we will compare Quadro 8000 with the best GeForce card released at around the same time, the 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 the RTX 2080 Ti sports a 352-bit bus width.
This might not seem like a significant difference, but the Quadro 8000 has a slightly faster clock and a wider bus, meaning that there will be a much more noticeable difference in latency.
Processing power is another area where Quadro clearly wins.
The RTX 2080 Ti is no slouch here either, with double-precision (non-boosted) of 367 GFLOPS, but the 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 card users will have more calculations done in less time.
This is particularly useful in the fields of AI, scientific experiments, and advancements in the medical field. As big data becomes ever more prominent in the world of business, so too does the need for large and intensive data processing, for which the design of Quadro cards is ideal.
For this 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 come in very handy.
Other cards are specifically designed to perform those big data crunches, but Quadro is an excellent multi-purpose professional solution.
GeForce vs. Quadro: Which Is The Right One For You?
As is often the case, this choice comes down to personal preference and intended use.
If you’re looking for a quality experience while gaming and also want to experiment a little with 3D modeling or animation, GeForce is a pretty good solution. You might want to sacrifice a little in the performance department (as far as non-gaming activities go) because of the enormous price difference with Quadro.
Choosing a Quadro card is really a question of how much money you are able and willing to invest in your business. Sometimes, your skills won’t be enough, and you will need to get good equipment to go with it.
If that’s the case, then Quadro is a perfect tool.