As ever in the graphics market where one company goes, the other will quickly follow. Hot on the heels of ATi’s announcement of its new PCI Express FireGL range, PNY has announced a range of PCI Express cards based on nVidia’s Quadro chip.
As with the FireGL range, these cards are aimed at the professional CAD market, where application compatibility and driver stability are far more important than raw frame-rates.
Starting at the bottom of the range, we have the modest Quadro NVS 280. Equipped with 64MB of DDR RAM, this is a low-profile card with a passive heatsink, enabling it to be placed in smaller systems. It’s dual display, so you can hook up one analogue and one digital monitor.
Moving up the range we have the Quadro FX 330. This is also a low profile card with 64MB of DDR RAM but sports dual-DVI outputs running off a splitter from the board's single connector. However, the memory interface is only 64-bit, severely limiting the memory bandwidth to only 3.2GB/s.
Next up is the Quadro FX 1300, based on nVidia’s NV38 GPU. This offers a big leap in performance, featuring a full 256-bit memory interface for its 128MB of DDR RAM, delivering memory bandwidth of 17.6GB/s. This also features dual DVI connections and an output for stereo 3D support.
At the top of the range is the Quadro FX 3400, based on nVidia’s NV45. This features 256MB of GDDR3 memory, producing memory bandwidth of 28.8GB/s.
With 16 pixel pipes this is a speedy card, but those looking for truly extreme performance will be able to pair it with a second card by taking advantage of nVidia’s SLI mode.
The board also features dual-link DVI supporting resolutions up to 3,840 x 2,400. This means you could hook it up to an ultra-high resolution display such as the Viewsonic VP2290b. However, as with the ATi FireGL V7100, you’ll need to run a second graphics card if you want to use a second display.
PNY Quadro Product Manager, Karl Adams, admitted that the shelf-life of these new PCI Express cards would be relatively short. He confirmed that PNY would give customers choice by maintaining its AGP line until mid-2005. However, these current PCI Express cards will be replaced by full native PCI Express solutions as soon as Q4 this year.
Explaining this move Adams said, “We brought out cards that use a bridge chip in order to bring PCI Express to market as quickly as possible. This is to enable customers to benefit from the interface’s greater bandwidth.”