Author Topic: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?  (Read 3057 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 8bitgasm

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 19
  • Country: ca
    • 8bitgasm
Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« on: April 05, 2018, 09:37:52 pm »
I currently run the AMD FirePro W4300 in my small form factor Dell Optiplex.... sure it's a sweet card and it can run 3440x1440 CAD nicely.  But I can't help but believe I should have instead got a low profile Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 TI instead and unlocked some gaming potential as well. 

I struggle to believe the GeForce woudln't be able to smoke the FirePro at CAD work.  Both are 4GB of DDR5, and the GeForce significantly outperforms the W4300 on paper in every category... Mhz, Pipeline, Transistors, etc.

Are CAD workstation cards just a marketing buzzword for office environments to sink money into? I remember reading somewhere on the AMD site that AutoDesk had optimized their software to their workstation video cards, but I just can't bring myself to really believe that; and even if they did, that a gaming card wouldn't still outperform this "optimization".

What do people think?  8)
 

Offline Ampera

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Country: us
    • Ampera's Forums
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2018, 09:58:47 pm »
Most workstation cards are really only suited to some specific situations over consumer cards. This does actually remind me of the IBM PGC which was IBM's attempt to compete with the high end RISC machines in the CAD market. I think only a few programs had any real support for it, but it had an entire 8088 on it to update the screen faster than the PC bus could.
Professional complainer-in-chief criticizing other people's code
Programmer and bumbling Unix fool
Op @ EEVBlog IRC: irc.austnet.irc #eevblog
 

Offline TimNJ

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 994
  • Country: us
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 10:29:01 pm »
For the most part,

Workstation cards (FirePro, Quadro) are good for high precision and accuracy applications, like 3D modeling/drafting, complex simulations, biological modeling, etc. In these types of "productive" applications, people want accurate results most of all.

Gaming cards (Radeon, GeForce) are good for quickly pumping out "rough" geometries. We think of new videos games as being high quality, but in reality, the polygon count is still pretty low.

Workstation cards might have error correcting (ECC) memory and additional high (double) precision floating point units. Those type of features are a waste in a fast paced video game, but not when you need to render something much more complex.
 

Offline Bicurico

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 996
  • Country: pt
    • VMA's Satellite Blog
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 11:22:11 pm »
We prefer nVidia GeForce GTX 1060/1070/1080 for our CAD/CAM software over any nVidia Quadro.

The reasons:

1) GeForce GTX is faster
2) GeForce GTX is cheaper
3) GeForce GTX is more stable - no issues with our software

With nVidia Quadra we had a 100% ratio of problems with customers.

Our software is premium CAD/CAM software.

The nVidia Quadra are only recommended for users of specialized CAD software, where the manufacturer explicitly certified a particular model and driver. You will then get that exact Quadro, otherwise you won't get support if the software crashes. And perhaps a specific piece of software might benefit from given extra features of a Quadro card. That's about the only reasons.

Just follow the recommendation of your CAD/CAM vendor.

If you don't have a CAD/CAM vendor, then you are NOT using a premium CAD/CAM software that requires a particular graphics card in order to get support, so you are better off with a regular GTX card.

I would invest the extra money in at least an 1060, instead of an 1050.

If you are considering GAMES, then by no means get any Quadra no matter how cheap you can get them - they will suck compared to GTX cards!

Regards,
Vitor


Online blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 14002
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 11:35:27 pm »
Some advanced OpenGL features are built in on the chip of both GeForce and Quadro, but only enabled in Quadro. If your CAD software only uses 32-bit precision and only DirectX, then there's no difference. If it uses some advanced OpenGL features or double precision, you need a Quadro.

It's only an artificial differentiation. Older GeForce cards can be hacked to Quadro/Tesla by changing some bootstrapping resistors. Newer cards use eFuse and can't be changed after GPU chip has been programmed.

Ultimately, the feature check and artificial performance crippling is done by VBIOS firmware, but so far no one can crack it due to the authentication system. Newer Nvidia GPU cards will refuse to boot if vital part of VBIOS is not signed. You can still run hacked VBIOS for higher clock and power limitation, modified in parameter section, but the code section must be signed.

Also, newer Nvidia cards refuses to talk to 3D drivers that are not signed, this ultimately leads to the famous "Fuck you Nvidia" from Linus Torvalds.
 
The following users thanked this post: thm_w, thermistor-guy

Offline Halcyon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 12:55:13 am »
Just on AMD vs NVIDIA cards in general. At work we use quite a few of them and not too long ago when we used primarily AMD cards we had a much higher failure rate than the NVIDIA counterparts. I think the AMDs just run too hot. It's like have a space heater in your PC.
 

Offline Ampera

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Country: us
    • Ampera's Forums
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 02:38:50 am »
I'll agree with you for once there, Halcyon, AMD graphic cards are cheap workhorses, but little else, and VEGA is the worst yet.
Professional complainer-in-chief criticizing other people's code
Programmer and bumbling Unix fool
Op @ EEVBlog IRC: irc.austnet.irc #eevblog
 

Offline NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6526
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 02:50:08 am »
I think GPUs specifically designed for GPGPU use are built with better power and cooling to better handle full load 24/7. The price premium is high enough that you could just buy multiple "standard" GPUs, so it would only make real sense if downtime is expensive.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Online blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 14002
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2018, 02:59:16 am »
I think GPUs specifically designed for GPGPU use are built with better power and cooling to better handle full load 24/7. The price premium is high enough that you could just buy multiple "standard" GPUs, so it would only make real sense if downtime is expensive.

Not exactly. Nvidia prohibits the use of GeForce in data centers except for clock chain applications by putting this restriction in driver software EULA. As a small player, nobody cares. But bigger companies may care about software license.

Also, PCB design of Tesla and Quadro are 100% identical to official GeForce reference design for many generations.

The only differences are in license terms, ASIC quality (Quadro and Tesla usually can run slightly faster than stock speed of GeForce and also run cooler) and enabled features, as well as after sale service.
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2018, 03:07:12 am »
I think GPUs specifically designed for GPGPU use are built with better power and cooling to better handle full load 24/7. The price premium is high enough that you could just buy multiple "standard" GPUs, so it would only make real sense if downtime is expensive.

Not exactly. Nvidia prohibits the use of GeForce in data centers except for clock chain applications by putting this restriction in driver software EULA. As a small player, nobody cares. But bigger companies may care about software license.

You'll find even the large players don't care. A EULA isn't worth the paper it's printed on (so to speak) unless it's enforced in court, which is extremely unlikely to ever happen. Even if NVIDIA suspected that their cards were being used in a data centre, how could they prove it? It would be as simple as turning them away at the door saying "You aren't allowed in here".

Large company, Government or Individual, once you purchase hardware/software, it's free to do whatever you want with it (within the law) and I suspect any court would find that "reasonable". Imagine you bought a car but the manufacturer stipulated where you could or could not drive it, you would tell them where to go.
 

Offline NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6526
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2018, 03:20:04 am »
Also, PCB design of Tesla and Quadro are 100% identical to official GeForce reference design for many generations.

The only differences are in license terms, ASIC quality (Quadro and Tesla usually can run slightly faster than stock speed of GeForce and also run cooler) and enabled features, as well as after sale service.
The PCB design might be the same, but what about the components on it? I have seen some GPUs that left out a few parts in the power supply section to save on cost.
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Online blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 14002
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2018, 03:25:30 am »
You'll find even the large players don't care. A EULA isn't worth the paper it's printed on (so to speak) unless it's enforced in court, which is extremely unlikely to ever happen. Even if NVIDIA suspected that their cards were being used in a data centre, how could they prove it? It would be as simple as turning them away at the door saying "You aren't allowed in here".

They can simple refuse to offer any warranty, service or even future purchase orders for you if they discovered you have violated EULA.
I don't know if it's legal in Australia, but in China, a monopoly supplier can request all their distributors to boycott a buyer.
Now if you can't buy the cards, how can your keep your data center business running?
 

Offline Ampera

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Country: us
    • Ampera's Forums
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2018, 03:26:44 am »
Not to mention, considering most of these places run Linux, there are already free and open source drivers available for most of these cards. So if someone was really afraid of nVidia bringing them to civil court, they could hide behind the fact that they weren't breaking any license agreements.
Professional complainer-in-chief criticizing other people's code
Programmer and bumbling Unix fool
Op @ EEVBlog IRC: irc.austnet.irc #eevblog
 

Online blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 14002
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2018, 03:28:35 am »
The PCB design might be the same, but what about the components on it? I have seen some GPUs that left out a few parts in the power supply section to save on cost.

Some high end cards use the same GPU (say, GTX1070, GTX1070Ti, GTX1080 all use GP104, GTX1080Ti and TTX Pascal and TTXp all use GP102) and PCB with different TDP, so power circuitry may differ. Also, RAM power consumption varies based on RAM speed, and amount, hence the different power requirement.
 

Online blueskull

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 14002
  • Country: cn
  • Power Electronics Guy
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2018, 03:30:33 am »
Not to mention, considering most of these places run Linux, there are already free and open source drivers available for most of these cards. So if someone was really afraid of nVidia bringing them to civil court, they could hide behind the fact that they weren't breaking any license agreements.

Nouveau doesn't support CUDA. You need proprietary driver to run CUDA applications.
And even if you run the framebuffer shader approach of GPGPU, proprietary drivers are still way faster than Nouveau.
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2018, 03:43:52 am »
You'll find even the large players don't care. A EULA isn't worth the paper it's printed on (so to speak) unless it's enforced in court, which is extremely unlikely to ever happen. Even if NVIDIA suspected that their cards were being used in a data centre, how could they prove it? It would be as simple as turning them away at the door saying "You aren't allowed in here".

They can simple refuse to offer any warranty, service or even future purchase orders for you if they discovered you have violated EULA.
I don't know if it's legal in Australia, but in China, a monopoly supplier can request all their distributors to boycott a buyer.
Now if you can't buy the cards, how can your keep your data center business running?

Those sorts of dodgy practices aren't legal in Australia at all. A company can write anything they like in their EULA, it doesn't make it legally binding. They also can't refuse warranty or override consumer rights (which are written into legislation). Legislation trumps anything a company says.

Some ridiculous examples of some things companies have put in their licensing agreements:

Apple iTunes: "You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of missiles, or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons." I guess Kim Jong-Un isn't using Apple iTunes then?

Google Chrome: "You give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services." (This one has since been removed because it was not considered fair. They also admitted this clause was copied and pasted from somewhere else and Google themselves didn't proofread it.

Microchip MPLAB X: "Microchip’s authorized representatives will have the right to reasonably inspect, announced or unannounced and in its sole and absolute discretion, Licensee’s premises and to audit Licensee’s records and inventory of Licensee’s use of the Software, whether located on Licensee’s premises or elsewhere, at any time, in order to ensure Licensee’s adherence to the terms of this Agreement." Yeah, good luck enforcing that one Microchip!

Sony PlayStation Network: Any Dispute Resolution Proceedings, whether in arbitration or court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action.

I've even come across agreements more than once where the company has left in place holders such as [INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE] etc...
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 03:52:33 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline Circlotron

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1998
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2018, 03:44:11 am »
Imagine you bought a car but the manufacturer stipulated where you could or could not drive it,
Like they do with recorded music?
 

Offline Ampera

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Country: us
    • Ampera's Forums
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2018, 03:44:50 am »
Yeah I figured about much.  :-//

I never used it because I just used the regular drivers.
Professional complainer-in-chief criticizing other people's code
Programmer and bumbling Unix fool
Op @ EEVBlog IRC: irc.austnet.irc #eevblog
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2018, 03:48:02 am »
Imagine you bought a car but the manufacturer stipulated where you could or could not drive it,
Like they do with recorded music?

Yeah they try, but Australian law allows you to make a copy of music/audio "for domestic use" even if that copy is made into an entirely different format from the original (e.g.: CD to FLAC). You just can't make that copy available to the public or otherwise distribute it. If then you cease to own the original (such as if you sell it or give it away), the copy must be destroyed.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2018, 03:50:55 am by Halcyon »
 

Offline Ampera

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
  • Country: us
    • Ampera's Forums
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2018, 03:50:29 am »
Same in the US. You can try to stop us copying stuff, but there are few formats that can't be copied.
Professional complainer-in-chief criticizing other people's code
Programmer and bumbling Unix fool
Op @ EEVBlog IRC: irc.austnet.irc #eevblog
 

Offline Halcyon

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4069
  • Country: au
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2018, 03:57:05 am »
My entire point is, companies will say just about anything in fine print, contracts, EULAs, send you mean letters, etc... etc... but it's mostly all crap. Their job is to make money, not be your friend. People need to stop point-blank believing what these people and companies say, understand the laws in their country and assert their rights when it's appropriate.

You wouldn't believe anything that came out of the mouth of Bob and Frankie Roohparvar and their Batteriser/Batteroo/ReBoost product would you?
 

Offline Dubbie

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 1025
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2018, 04:15:16 am »
We long ago stopped using quadros at work.
We had endless trouble with them and they were stupidly expensive for their performance.
We switched to gamer cards and have never looked back. 1/2 the price and 2x the performance. What is not to like?
 

Offline TimNJ

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 994
  • Country: us
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2018, 01:50:17 pm »
We long ago stopped using quadros at work.
We had endless trouble with them and they were stupidly expensive for their performance.
We switched to gamer cards and have never looked back. 1/2 the price and 2x the performance. What is not to like?

I believe that to be true for most people.

I think if you are asking the "workstation vs. gaming card" question, then you probably should just get a gaming card. Only a very small amount of specialized applications really benefit from the workstation cards. Those applications are usually in science and engineering. Any "glitch" or inaccuracy in a computation is unacceptable if you are modeling/designing a part that human life may depend on. Likewise, if you are modeling a complex biological process, small computational errors can accumulate to much larger errors, which may be unacceptable.

Recently, I learned that another important difference is that workstation cards (and their drivers) are regression tested to ensure computational integrity across the entire line product line. That is, if Nvidia adds a new workstation card to their lineup and updates their drivers accordingly, they will back-test all hardware to ensure no one's critical models will be changed by updating drivers.

Again, for most people...this doesn't really matter.
 

Offline 8bitgasm

  • Contributor
  • Posts: 19
  • Country: ca
    • 8bitgasm
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2018, 05:36:45 pm »
Wow what a flood of replies!  Thanks everyone!

I see AMD ran tests on the w4300 using SPECviewperf 12.0.1  (pasted the benchmark from their website below)
FirePro W4300: catia-04 = 38.79, creo-01 = 43.31, snx-02 = 45.65, sw-03 = 64.86

I would be curious if anybody was so kind to run this test on a Geforce 10XX series of card on a Intel i3 (3.3Ghz) LGA1155, 16GB ram, or comparable system, to see how those tests stacked in comparison!?

https://www.spec.org/gwpg/downloadindex.html


 

Offline ChunkyPastaSauce

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 535
  • Country: 00
Re: Workstation CAD video cards... marketting hype?
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2018, 07:51:47 pm »
The run rules (at a min) have to be followed when benchmarking https://www.spec.org/gwpg/gpc.static/current.html  You can still get wildly different results depending on config. Also many, maybe all, of the tests are old enough that the relevance is getting kinda questionable, for example the solidworks test is based on sw 2013, creo is based on creo 2012 etc. Be aware it doesn't test for display accuracy/glitching either.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf