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NVIDIA Quadro M4000 Graphics Card Review

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The NVIDIA Quadro M4000 is a workstation class video card. It was launched along with its bigger brother, the NVIDIA Quadro M5000 which I wrote about in another article. This time we'll take a more focused look at the Quadro M4000. This is the successor to the Quadro K4200. The 'm' in the name refers to being based on the Maxwell architecture instead of its predecessor, Kepler, Maxwell is named in honor of the famous 19th century scientist James Clerk Maxwell.

Find more hardware and software reviews here.

The single-slot Quadro M4000 sitting atop the bigger dual-slot Quadro M5000.

What is the Quadro M4000?

The NVIDIA Quadro M4000 is a workstation graphics card targeting computationally demanding applications such as:

  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • CATIA
  • SOLIDWORKS
  • Solid Edge
  • NVIDIA Iray
  • Adobe AfterEffects
  • The Foundry's NUKE
  • ... (and many others including gas/oil, medical, research, etc.)

Basically, any time you require massive computational power for demanding applications, you need NVIDIA Quadro.

The Quadro M4000 features a second generation Maxwell GM204GL chip at its core, along with 8 GB of GDDR5 and 1664 CUDA cores. Some quick specs for comparison:

GPU Core Memory Memory Bandwidth CUDA Cores Power consumption
K4000 GK106GL 3GB GDDR5 134 GB/s 768 80 watts
K4200 GK104GL 4GB GDDR5 173 GB/s 1344 108 watts
K5200 GK180GL 8GB GDDR5 192 GB/s 2304 150 watts
M4000 GM204GL 8GB GDDR5 192 GB/s 1664 120 watts
M5000 GM204GL 8GB GDDR5 211 GB/s 2048 150 watts


Benchmarks and Performance

Remember, a benchmark can only be used to compare:

  • A system as a whole to another system as a whole.
  • Different hardware tested on the same system.

E.g., you can't compare an NVIDIA Quadro M4000 on one system to an NVIDIA Quadro M4000 on another system; You'll get different results - even for the same graphics card. Remember: Compare these scores only to each other, not to anything else! Apples to apples.

All tests were run on the following test rig:

Component Description
CPU Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core @ 3.3 GHz
Memory CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 32GB (4 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 2133 (PC4 17000)
Motherboard MSI X99S SLI Krait Edition LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99
SSD Crucial BX100 2.5" 500GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive
OS Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit

CINEBENCH R15 Benchmark

CINEBENCH, by MAXON, the makers of CINEMA 4D, is a standard benchmark. It provides both CPU and GPU testing. Here we'll use only the GPU scores. These scores provide a very basic OpenGL only test. It does not make use the card in its entirety.

SPECViewperf 12 Benchmarks

SPECViewperf 12 is a set of very GPU intensive industry standard benchmarks. These benchmarks are far more resource hungry than most and are designed to provide a comparison of workstation class hardware designed to run popular software for medical, digital content creation and engineering applications.

Each test produces a single composite score that represents the overall performance for a given test. These scores do not represent frame rate. I ran each test on each Quadro card I could get my hands on, using the same hardware mentioned earlier to give a fair, apples-to-apples comparison. Below are the results comparing several NVIDIA Quadro cards, one graph for each test.

catia-04 test

The Quadro M4000 is edged out by the Quadro K5200 slightly. However the K5200 uses 150 watts as compared to the newer M4000 using only 120.

creo-01 test

Pretty much neck and neck here.

energy-01 test

This is where the performance of the CUDA cores really shines. The energy-01 test is all parallel computations. Notice how despite the Quadro K5200 having 2304 cores and the newer Quadro M4000 having a lesser 1664, we still dramatically outperform the older card. The newer second generation Maxwell GM204 makes all the difference.

maya-04 test

We don't see much difference here because the maya-04 test is primarily testing draw speed and texture fill rates. However this test doesn't reflect recent changes to Maya in regards to GPU accelerated real-time adaptive polygon subdivision and GPU accelerated dependency graph evaluation - in both cases the newer Quadro M4000 would be vastly superior.

medical-01 test

showcase-01 test

snx-02 test

sw-03 test


Final Thoughts on the Quadro M4000 Graphics Card

For burning only 120 watts and a market value of around $800 it's a great card. It gets entirely outclassed by its bigger brothers, the Quadro M5000 and the even bigger Quadro M6000 but that's expected. In comparison with the older Quadro K4000 - it blows it away.

The more interesting comparison is with the Quadro K5200. Shopping for a new Quadro M4000 or a used Quadro K5200 - which would I choose? Probably the Quadro M4000. Why? You get similar performance, in many cases, to a K5200 at a lower price. Plus you can take advantage of lower power consumption - all in a single-slot form factor. Overall, the Quadro M4000 is a great card, especially combined with something like Nvidia Iray for Maya which fully leverages Quadro.

Essential Links:

NOTE: I am not employed or financially compensated by NVIDIA for my articles. NVIDIA simply provides the hardware and technical support. Special thanks to the kind folks at NVIDIA for making this article and others like it possible!


Kurt Foster (modulok). Kurt has been a contributing columnist at Renderosity for years and has worked with big and small companies alike. He tinkers with hardware, software, circuits, networks, embedded devices, cameras - pretty much anything that computes or runs on electricity. He also writes a fair bit of code in a variety of programming languages to solve interesting problems.

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GPU, Graphics Card, M4000, NVIDIA, Quadro, Workstation
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