In the world of nVidia there exists two distinct paths towards pixel enlightenment.
I'm just going to be plain spoken here. Today's digital artist has a lot to keep up with especially those that build their own units but I have wonder how many of us actually know how those components work? Sure we can plug them in where they need to be but beyond that some of us just want to see our work onscreen in the best possible render and not sweat the hardware details as that energy is generally better devoted to work or art.
The two paths are the familiar GeForce that many of us use daily for work and... don't tell anyone... gaming. Framerate generally rules when producing video or gaming but more important... budget is the almighty arbiter of what goes in our system... hence the GeForce line but now nVidia is rewriting the rules a bit by introducing the new Quadro M2000 in the $450 to $500 street price range as this writing. That's right... not $4K or $5K so this could be a game changer depending on what you do with your system.
There are reasons GeForce 980 run around $600 while high end Quadro can run $4K and more. Quadros can share some of the same architecture as GeForce but nVidia controls the quality of design and production of Quadro cards whereas the individual card manufacturers determine those specifications for GeForce. Nothing but the best goes into each Quadro card as, according to research, top performing parts are chosen specifically for their manufacture by nVidia. Quadros also have error correction technology among items not shared with the GeForce line and custom drivers suited to different uses instead of the generic drivers provide to the general user. According to Techquickie Quadros are less susceptible to random errors, work longer and more reliably while performing calculations and drawing images with greater precision. The last two are biggies on huge productions but not something a lot of digital artists need. And that all sounds great but even my eyes are glassing over.
So... what does it all mean? Both are stunning in display quality. In actual comparison for day to day usage, as in individual freelancer, with tools such as zBrush, Studio Max, Vegas this reviewer could find no real differences. As far as practical usage goes it would seem the deciding factor between these two would be:
(a.) Monitor configuration - the Quadro can drive four monitors each with its own DisplayPort.
(b.) Footprint - the card is very compact compared to the behemoth GeForce 980 and can fit in many form factors.
(c.) Power Availability - the Quadro require no addition power.
(d.) Price - If street price holds up the M2000 will be around $100 US cheaper than the 980 looking at current 980 pricing.
(e.) Quality Control - the quality of Quadro that bypasses a lot of 3Rd party manufacturing variables as nVidia controls specifications and manufacturing.
Basic Specs for Quadro M2000 graphics card
For this reviewer it comes down to already having an adequate card with a 980 that fits my needs so moving to the M2000 is a bit mute. However, when considering a workstation versus a gaming machine (i.e. reliability versus quirky or possibly unstable) then the price of the M2000 brings it to the front of the pack. Where it really shines would be setting up a multiple workstation environment where there is a need for many computers and reliability means longer work life for each unit. If you are the studio owner it might be a better investment to go with the quality control of the Quadro to keep repairs down and billable hours up. Those factors alone are worth considering the new Quadro M2000 when spec'ing out your next workstation or workstations.
Full specs and details on the Quadro M2000 are here.
Info on the full line of NVIDIA Quadro cards is here.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. You can learn more about MD at his website.