Computer enthusiasts are mostly familiar with video cards that are manufactured for leisure purposes such as gaming or watching movies. That is because many technology websites tend to focus on news for a wider audience. Therefore, it is rare to come across a piece of news that is specifically written for professionals such as designers, architects, and engineers.
The needs of professionals are different from that of the ordinary consumer. For one, professionals often need to run higher-end software applications such as graphics or video editing software, or software that computes highly complex mathematical formulas. Complex mathematical software is most commonly used in the oil and gas industry. A high-end graphics display may be needed to translate such computations into geometrical displays.
To cater to the special needs of these professionals, graphic card manufacturers have released high-end video cards such as the NVIDIA Quadro FX5800 and the Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe.
The NVIDIA Quadro boasts of a staggering 4GB memory. Most video cards (including several high-end cards) only offer up to 2GB memory. For example, the new Palit Revolution 700 only offers up to 2GB memory, even though it claims to be the fastest video card in the market. Both offers support for DirectX10 and OpenGL. Professionals will have to spend some time comparing the key elements of high-end graphic cards.
Graphics processing power.
This is the key element for consideration. Similar to the CPU of a computer system, the unit of measurement is MHz. For instance, the Palit Revolution 700 offers a pre-overclocked core speed of 750 MHz. The higher the value, the more powerful the video card.
The memory on a video card is dedicated for graphics and video processing only. Most high-end cards offer up to 2GB memory. NVIDIA Quadro 5800 support for 4GB memory blows even the most hard core enthusiasts away.
Memory bandwidth and other considerations.
High-end video cards offer memory bandwidth of up to 102GB per second. In addition, they also tend to support multi-devices and multi-systems. Make sure that the high-end video card is optimized for your device or application (eg a 4D modeling application) before making a purchase.
High-end video cards for the future.
As far as the video card manufacturers are concerned, they want to make sure that they cater to the needs of two target groups: the professionals and the home entertainment enthusiasts.
Future high-end video cards will come with specifications that suit the needs of these two groups of people. The cards may have the same base power, such as multi-GPU processing capabilities, but with different configurations. For instance, a professional may need 4GB of memory to run multiple resource intensive applications at the same time, but a home entertainment enthusiast may only need 2GB of memory to achieve optimal results. GPU computing and parallel GPU processing is probably the biggest new development for GPUs that is just starting to take foot.
It is obvious that there is much to look forward to. The world of video has never been brighter and more colorful.