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Desktop Graphic Cards vs. Workstation Graphics Cards

Anonymous
Not applicable
Does anyone know how much performance benefit ArchiCad 8 can achieve when a workstation class graphics card is used (like the ATI FireGL or NVIDIA Quadro series) versus the desktop class cards (like ATI Radeon or NVIDIA Geforce series)?

I am most interested in overall 2D performance, not just 3d performance.

Could the extra money these cards require be better used to upgrade other PC components instead?
19 REPLIES 19

Djordje
Advocate
Tim wrote:
Does anyone know how much performance benefit ArchiCad 8 can achieve when a workstation class graphics card is used (like the ATI FireGL or NVIDIA Quadro series) versus the desktop class cards (like ATI Radeon or NVIDIA Geforce series)?

I am most interested in overall 2D performance, not just 3d performance.

Could the extra money these cards require be better used to upgrade other PC components instead?
I spend wuite a lot of time in the 3D window, so I think they are useful - BUT - there is an old rule fo thumb: the generation before last is 50% cheaper, and only 10% slower ...

AFAIK nVidias behave better with ArchiCAD (at least all I used are) than ATIs.

I have Quadros and all are working quite nicely ...
Djordje

ArchiCAD since 4.55 ... 1995

chad_lawson
Newcomer
Good point. Just make sure that you stay away from video cards with SHARED memory. If you stay in the ATI/Nvidia range, you should be pretty good. The best way to stay away from shared memory cards is to stay away from 'on-board video' motherboards.

As far as a recommendation, I prefer NVIDIA cards mainly for two things. Their 'last years models' are much cheaper than other competitors, and they seem to code a bit better with the OpenGL drivers (which ArchiCAD), by having more frequent driver updates.

You can find 128mb NVIDIA cards for as low as 99 USD.
AC 16
Windows 7x64 SP1
Intel Core i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
12 GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M x 1.5 GB / 1 TB HD

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
I have found that the best cards for ArchiCAD are the middle to top end gamming cards.. I had a Geforce TI4800 SE with 128 MB RAM. This baby worked like a charm. I have just recently upgraded to a FX5900 with 250MB RAM and it ROCKS..

ArchiCAD loves this card
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

chad_lawson
Newcomer
So does Unreal, Quake, SWG, FFXI. . .
AC 16
Windows 7x64 SP1
Intel Core i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
12 GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M x 1.5 GB / 1 TB HD

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
chad.lawson wrote:
So does Unreal, Quake, SWG, FFXI. . .
LOL
I'm sitting waiting impatiently for UT2004. Only to find out it's been pushed back to Feb 2004

I'll just have to amuse my self with UT2003 in the mean time
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

Anonymous
Not applicable
Ben wrote:
I have found that the best cards for ArchiCAD are the middle to top end gamming cards.. I had a Geforce TI4800 SE with 128 MB RAM. This baby worked like a charm. I have just recently upgraded to a FX5900 with 250MB RAM and it ROCKS..

ArchiCAD loves this card
Ben -

Are you saying that the higher end gaming cards like the Geforce or Radeons will perform better that the more expensive and more hardware accelerated cards like the Quadros? Or are you saying that there is not enough difference to warrant the extra cost?

Does the benefits of workstation class cards only become apparent when specialized drivers for the individual programs are used? I know these types of cards do have special driver software written for a program (Pro-E, Inventor, Autocad, etc.) to tweak the performance. Would the lack of such a driver for ArchiCad eliminate the benefits of using these cards?

chad_lawson
Newcomer
Gaming cards are more bang for the buck. While running ArchiCAD you don't need to worry about much but OpenGL. And all gaming cards are optimized for running the OpenGL software. The workstation cards are becomming less and less usefull, as you can get a gaming card for a fraction of the cost, and it in most instances performs better than the workstation card. At least in my opinion.
AC 16
Windows 7x64 SP1
Intel Core i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
12 GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M x 1.5 GB / 1 TB HD

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
Tim wrote:
Ben wrote:
I have found that the best cards for ArchiCAD are the middle to top end gamming cards.. I had a Geforce TI4800 SE with 128 MB RAM. This baby worked like a charm. I have just recently upgraded to a FX5900 with 250MB RAM and it ROCKS..

ArchiCAD loves this card
Ben -

Are you saying that the higher end gaming cards like the Geforce or Radeons will perform better that the more expensive and more hardware accelerated cards like the Quadros? Or are you saying that there is not enough difference to warrant the extra cost?

Does the benefits of workstation class cards only become apparent when specialized drivers for the individual programs are used? I know these types of cards do have special driver software written for a program (Pro-E, Inventor, Autocad, etc.) to tweak the performance. Would the lack of such a driver for ArchiCad eliminate the benefits of using these cards?
Hi Tim.
If you check out Chad's post what he is saying is exactly right. Because most, if not all, of the middle to highend gamming cards are optimised for openGL. To be honest with you the last workstaion graphics card I used was a Wildcat 4110 with 16MB RAM
I was in love with that card(well not really ) but it was a great card.
As Chad pointed out the workstaion graphics cards are becoming less appealing simply because they cost too much. Ok may be it's a different story if Pro-E,Inventor and Solid Works come into the discussion, but again I don't use these programs there fore I don't need the workstaion graphics card.

As I also said ArchiCAD loves my new card. OpenGL in 3D WOW

I hope this helps in you decision of what card to choose.

Cheers.
Ben
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

stefan
Booster
The high end CAD-cards (like Quadro, but certainly the Wildcat's and the like) are optimised on OpenGL for all it's features. They might perform better on line-drawing, large datasets and anti-aliasing and most CAD-cards don't support DirectX, like is needed in a lot of games.
In some cases, the high end cards have specific drivers for ... AutoCAD, Maya, max etc... Not for ArchiCAD.

Gaming cards are mostly optimised on shaded & textured views & DirectX.

I don't think you need to spend the extra cash for the high-end CAD-cards to use ArchiCAD.
--- stefan boeykens --- architect-engineer-musician ---
ARCHICAD25/Revit2022/Rhino6/Unity2020/Solibri
MBP2019:i9Octo2.4GHz32GBVega20/BigSur+Win11
ARCHICAD-user since 1998

Ben Odonnell
Newcomer
I don't think you need to spend the extra cash for the high-end CAD-cards to use ArchiCAD.
Couldn't agree more. I don't belive that you can't justify spending mega bucks on a workstation graphics card just for ArchiCAD.
Ben O'Donnell
Architect and CTO at BIMobject®
Get your BIM objects from bimobject.com

MarinRacic
Newcomer
Pro graphic cards aren't truly supported by ArchiCAD (you just won't see the difference, except in some colossal building when working in OpenGL 3D window), but they justify their price when you import the model into some 3D visualization application like 3D Studio or Cinema 4D and use multiple lights! At that time gaming cards just can't support more than 8 lights at the same time in real-time while pro-cards rock. This is especially true with 3Dlabs cards which, until nVidia QuadroFX series was released, were more than twice as fast than direct opponents. Of course, the more light sources you use, the more is the difference between pro and gaming cards.
I can dig up some tests from computer magazines articles if anyone's interested...
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chad_lawson
Newcomer
<nod> Save the cash, get a gaming card, and spend the extra money on CPU, RAM, and a new HD with 8MB cache!!!
AC 16
Windows 7x64 SP1
Intel Core i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
12 GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M x 1.5 GB / 1 TB HD

Tim wrote:
Does anyone know how much performance benefit ArchiCad 8 can achieve when a workstation class graphics card is used (like the ATI FireGL or NVIDIA Quadro series) versus the desktop class cards (like ATI Radeon or NVIDIA Geforce series)?

I am most interested in overall 2D performance, not just 3d performance.

Could the extra money these cards require be better used to upgrade other PC components instead?
Tim:
I delayed this post because I was in the process of installing some ATI Radeon(9600) in new desktop units.
At the same time we have a Dell Workstation with a FireGl working for quite some time. Both with AC8.0

I find no significant(perceived not measured) difference in both 3D or 2D between the FireGl and the ATI 9600. As a matter of fact, working in 2D when panning, the FireGL leaves behind some "streaking garbage" and the screen needs to be rebuilt. All very quick but annoying nevertheless.
So, I tend to agree with others here. The price difference, in the ATI cards, is not worth it.
I have no experience with the NVIDIA cards.
BTW the 9600, 128MB with OpenGl in 3D is outstanding.


Conrado
Win 10 Home Premium - AMD Phenom IIX6 1090T Processor 3.20 GHZ 8.00 GB RAM 64-bit Opp. Sys NVIDIA Quadro 4000 AC 22, MEP

Jefferson
Newcomer
Well this is a very timely post for me.

Tomorrow heading into the "city" where a MSI GeForce Ti4600 @ 128MB can be had for $99. Last year's model, and if I am not mistaken there is a tweaking program, rivatuner, I believe, that boasts it can convert this thing to a quadro. Even if that's not the case can I get a quilified opinion here please, do or don't or wait or....................

As you can see from my specs My current card is tiny. Waiting on 8.1 and the paycheck after next ..............................
jeff white
w3d design


AC 23 Solo US / current build & library
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oreopoulos
Newcomer
I think you are quite wrong in you assumptions.

The main drawback of the usual gaming cards are that they support OPENGL rendertin ONLY IN FULL SCREEN MODE.
this is a hole lot different than rendering in a window.

This was the difference at least some time ago.

If somone has both a game and o workstation card
try rendering a small video and report the times

You will definately see a difference.

oreopoulos
Newcomer
There is a great review of opengl cards.
Its in 3 parts here
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,9717,00.asp

chad_lawson
Newcomer
oreopoulos wrote:
I think you are quite wrong in you assumptions.

The main drawback of the usual gaming cards are that they support OPENGL rendertin ONLY IN FULL SCREEN MODE.
this is a hole lot different than rendering in a window.
Sorry to contradict you there. . .but the only difference between running in a window (at least on Windoze), and fullscreen is ALT+ENTER, or a -w on the application parameters.

OpenGL and, for example your desktop, are two seperate graphical pipes of information. OpenGL processing and desktop rendering won't even start to cross each other until you get to CPU cycles. . .and by that time, you are not even processing on the graphics card.

Now I'll agree to the fact that MOIST gaming cards do not offer any improved performance on CAD style applications that use their own 3-D engine for graphical display, however; ArchiCAD makes use of OpenGL, so it is an entirely different animal when compared to other CAD/3D style apps.

In conclusion, 'gamer' cards will work just as good (if not better) than workstation based graphics cards when using ArchiCAD, for at least half the money.
AC 16
Windows 7x64 SP1
Intel Core i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73 GHz
12 GB Ram / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M x 1.5 GB / 1 TB HD

Laurens
Newcomer
I'm sitting waiting impatiently for UT2004. Only to find out it's been pushed back to Feb 2004

I'll just have to amuse my self with UT2003 in the mean time
[offtopicmode] You should look at Call of Duty, a real intense WWII FPshooter [/offtopicmode]

aahatimo
Newcomer
chad.lawson wrote:
oreopoulos wrote:
I think you are quite wrong in you assumptions.
Now I'll agree to the fact that MOIST gaming cards do not offer any improved performance on CAD style applications that use their own 3-D engine for graphical display, however; ArchiCAD makes use of OpenGL, so it is an entirely different animal when compared to other CAD/3D style apps..
hum, i have heard the tale about putting your harddrive in the freezer, but never thought about "moistening" a vid card.

i do think that in the notebook world, the workstation cards nvidia(& probably ati m10s) do offer increased performance, both for gaming and cad. the quadro4 go 700gl 64 or 128 card found in the dell m 50 / 60 line, from what i have read are the fastest cards for notebooks. i have seen a m60 in someone's tag, how does that unit perform?
btw, the 64 meg card will work in a inspiron 8200, if you can come up w/ the $350.
tim hanagan
aaha! design studio durango, co
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