Graphics Cards

NVIDIA Packs Yet More Muscle into Latest Quadro Cards

6 Mar, 2013 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

Starting at $199, new Kepler-based GPUs offer best-yet graphics- and compute-processing power for professional CAD applications.

NVIDIA this week launched a range of low- to high-end NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics products that it describes as offering unprecedented workstation performance and capabilities for users of CAD and other professional, graphics- and compute-intensive applications.

NVIDIA’s latest Quadro graphics cards.

Based on the company’s Kepler GPU (graphics processing unit) architecture, the new models include the following:

  • NVIDIA Quadro K4000 ($1,269): This high-end, high-performance card offers 3 GB of onboard memory, multimonitor support, and stereo capability in a single-slot configuration.
  • NVIDIA Quadro K2000 ($599): This midrange card is said to offer outstanding performance with a broad range of professional applications, 2 GB of onboard memory for large models, and multi-monitor support. The Quadro K2000D ($599) offers native support for two dual-link DVI display connectors for interfacing with ultrahigh-resolution medical imaging displays.
  • NVIDIA Quadro K600 ($199): This entry-level card is equipped with 1 GB of onboard memory, and comes in a low-profile design for maximum usage flexibility for a variety of professional applications.

In the Kepler-based Quadro line for desktop workstations, NVIDIA’s latest cards join the ultrahigh-end Quadro K5000 and the entry-level Quadro 410 for CAD and product lifecycle management applications.

Features of the new models include the following, according to the company:

  • Faster visualization and computation. The next-generation streaming multiprocessor engine (SMX) delivers as much as 50% faster visualization performance and twice the compute horsepower of previous-generation products.
  • Improved multimonitor support. Larger, faster onboard GPU memory lets designers and animators work with larger models and richer scenes while maintaining smooth interactivity during design, visualization, and simulation. Support for as many as four displays from a single card, NVIEW software for managing multidisplay setups. Sandeep Gupte, senior director of the Professional Solutions Group, said, “NVIEW gets complete facelift for managing [multimonitor] virtual desktops, organizing, saving as profiles — making it easier and more intuitive to manage all these desktops that are now enabled.” Easy scalability of applications to higher resolution is possible using NVIDIA Mosaic technology, which combines as many as 16 displays as a single large display.
  • Computational scalability. Users can scale up computation using the second-generation NVIDIA Maximus platform, which pairs the Quadro card with an NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPU compute card to enable simultaneous design, visualization, and simulation on a single machine.

“NVIDIA Quadro with Kepler architecture offers no-compromise workflow acceleration for customers with exacting computing and graphics demands,” said Gupte. “Kepler offers a future-safe GPU solution, whether professionals are integrating more realism and physics into their manufacturing designs or dealing with the complex demands of 4K workflows in broadcast and film.”

Support for Manufacturing and Building Workflows

Using Kepler-based Quadro cards, NVIDIA explains, professionals in the manufacturing and building industries can work with complete assemblies and visualize more designs with more realism across a larger display surface. Architects now can showcase their visions to clients “with amazing realism,” using physically accurate rendering techniques.

Data compiled by NVIDIA shows the application performance of the latest Quadro GPUs.

Product designers today want to tap the full capabilities of software applications as they design, Gupte said — such as incorporating real-world physical analysis and materials into the design process. They want to design “with full reality on; that’s the holy grail,” he said. For example, using previous generations of technology, SolidWorks users typically have to design without RealView or FSA enabled or need a very high-end card to design with those features turned on. However, Gupte said, with the new generation of Quadro cards, users can design with those features enabled. A second trend today, Gupte added, is users running more than one demanding application in tandem, requiring increased graphics and compute processing power. The new-generation cards support that working scenario as well, he said.

Design trends in the manufacturing field are calling for increased graphics processing power, as shown on this slide from NVIDIA.


Using a new Kepler-based NVIDIA Quadro GPU, more processing capabilities are available to support demanding applications in the manufacturing industry, the company reports.

Nick Schoeps, senior engineer at MotoCzysz, an engineering firm that designs, builds, and races custom electric motorcycles, said, “With NVIDIA Kepler GPUs, we can create fully ray-trace rendered images of a bike before we actually build it. Previously we’d rely only on still renders or low-fidelity motion during design reviews. With Quadro Kepler, we can work with highest quality settings always on. That’s a huge advantage and something we hadn’t been able to do before. ”

Certifications and Support

The new NVIDIA Quadro GPUs are available immediately. More than 150 vendors of CAD and other leading software currently certify and support Quadro-powered workstations, according to NVIDIA. Such systems will be available from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Fujitsu, BOXX Technologies, and Supermicro.


About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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