Quadro 6000 Review: Raising the Bar with Fermi
The first generation of NVIDIA's Quadro high-performance graphics cards based on their Fermi architecture is now available for the professional market. In this review, I had a look at the Quadro 6000, the successor to the Quadro FX 5800. With this line of Quadro cards, NVIDIA is dropping the FX designation long used for these professional-level graphic accelerators.
The Graphics Card
The Quadro 6000 is a double-width graphics card measuring 4.376" high and 9.75" long. While the Quadro only uses a single PCIe 2.0 x 16 bus, the width of the display card makes the adjacent slot unusable. Two power connectors are necessary for the Quadro 6000, which has a maximum peak power consumption of 225W. Needless to say, this kind of wattage generates noticeable heat, even with the active thermal solution that's incorporated. This peak wattage, and the associated heat, is reached when very demanding models are being manipulated or rendered and is, thankfully, not a constant.
Onboard memory for the Quadro 6000 is 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, the highest yet offered from NVIDIA. Notably the memory is ECC memory -- ECC can be enabled or disabled via the NVIDIA control panel. The memory interface is 384-bit, with a memory bandwidth of 144GB/s.
The functionality of the Quadro 6000 can be expanded via hardware in several ways, among them the linking of additional graphics cards via an SLI bridge, a GenLock add on, and NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro wireless stereo glasses (3D min-DIN or USB), which are expected to ship early this autumn.
DisplayPort 1.1a, HDMI 1.3a and HDCP are supported, as is 30-bit color (10-bit per each red, green and blue channels), making this card pair well with the new HP DreamColor monitors. The 10-bit internal display processing is only available on Windows with Aero disabled and Linux.
Support is provided for any combination of two connected displays: Dual DisplayPort at up to 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz and 1920 x 1200 @ 120Hz; Dual-link DVI-I output is supported at up to 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz and 1920 x 1200 @ 120Hz. Available cables are DisplayPort to VGA, DisplayPort to DVI-D (single-link and dual-link) and DisplayPort to HDMI (resolution support based on cable specifications).
The NVIDIA Quadro 6000 offers full OpenGL and quad-buffered stereo support, as well as underscan/overscan compensation wand hardware scaling. Multi-display capabilities are provided with NVIDIA nView multi-display technology and NVIDIA SLI Mosaic technology.
Shader Model 5.0 (OpenGL 4.0 and DirectX 11) is supported, with up to 16K texture and render processing. Other features are 32-bit per-component floating point texture filtering and blending, and 64x full scene antialiasing (FSAA) with 128x FSAA in SLI mode. There are 448 CUDA parallel processing cores onboard.