Now well established in the desktop space, Nvidia's Fermi architecture is about to enter the professional graphics market. This morning, Nvidia announced a trifecta of new, Fermi-based Quadro graphics cards, plus a new mobile Quadro GPU and a Fermi-powered Quadro Plex system.
The Quadro 4000 and 5000 will be available in the first week of August. The Quadro 5000M will follow in September, but you'll have to wait until October for the top-of-the-line Quadro 6000 card. We're told the Quadro 5000M will only show up in 17" mobile workstations from Dell and HP, too.
Thanks to their Fermi guts, these new cards are supposed to bring quite a performance increase over the previous generation—especially in visualization apps involving lots of complex geometry. For example, Nvidia claims the Quadro 6000 is between 1.25 and 3.25 times quicker in SPECviewperf 11 than the Quadro FX 5800, its current flagship.
Performance is only one side of the story, though. The new Quadro cards also have goodies like ECC support (available in the 5000 and 6000 products), SLI Mosaic Mode, and something called 3D Vision Pro.
If you've followed our GeForce 3D Vision coverage, you can probably guess what 3D Vision Pro entails. Just like its desktop counterpart, the technology uses 120Hz displays and active-shutter goggles to output stereoscopic 3D. However, the Pro version interfaces with the GPU via a special three-pin connector, and it supports wireless radio frequency goggles with a range of up to 100 feet.
Incidentally, Nvidia says the new Quadro cards will be ripe for use with the Iray ray-tracing renderer, which Nvidia subsidiary Mental Images has compiled for CUDA. Rendering images in Iray purportedly involves no compromise in quality over the more conventional Mental Ray renderer, but the firm claims a 12X performance improvement over a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU.
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