Quadro 6000 Review: Raising the Bar with Fermi
Decode acceleration is offered for MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2 Advanced Simple Profile, h.264, MVC, VC1, DivX (version 3.11 and later) and Flash (10.1 and later). Blu-ray dual stream hardware acceleration is supported by the Quadro 6000, with HD picture-in-picture playback.
While the hardware features of the Quadro 6000 make it useful for a broad array of professional endeavors, the programmability options provide good depth for DCC professionals.
NVIDIA offers an optimized compiler for Cg and Microsoft HLSL, along with Full IEEE 754-2008 32-bit and high performance 64-bit double precision. API support includes CUDA C, CUDA C++, DirectCompute 5.0, Java, Python and Fortran.
The NVIDIA CUDA parallel processing architecture includes Parallel DataCache hierarchy, with configurable L1 and unified L2 caches and configurable partitioning of shared memory and L1 cache; a dual Warp Scheduler schedules and dispatches simultaneous instructions from two different warps.
A number of modern applications are capable of accessing the CUDA parallel processing architecture of the Quadro 6000 to deliver up to 8x faster performance, according to NVIDIA, when running such computationally intensive applications as ray tracing and video processing.
Supported platforms include Microsoft Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Microsoft Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Microsoft Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit), Linux --full OpenGL implementation with NVIDIA and ARB extensions (32-bit and 64-bit) -- and Solaris. Accelerated performance drivers for both AutoCAD and Autodesk 3ds Max applications are expected to be available shortly. Support is provided for two operating systems, from a Quadro SLI Multi-OS certified workstation, with each operating system assigned to a dedicated Quadro GPU. A robust support organization provides fast help when problems do arise.
I tested the NVIDIA's Quadro 6000 with the SPEC Viewperf 11 benchmark (www.spec.org), the latest revision of this industry standard benchmark. The system used for all testing was an Xi MTower PCIe Workstation with a single Intel Core2 Duo E8400 3.2GHz processor and 4GB of system RAM installed, running Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate X64 with the latest patches and revisions installed; NVIDIA WHCL drivers v.126.96.36.19912 (7/26/2010) were used for testing. Vertical Sync was set to "Force Off" for all tests. My general preference for testing is to not use systems based on the latest and greatest processors, believing that a slightly older system is generally more representative of what users typically have available.
The initial given test score with Viewperf 11 shows single sample performance. Additional tests with up to 4x samples are reported here with composite scores given for the four viewsets affected. I've reported the scores with the single sample performance first and, where applicable, the 4x samples in parenthesis. NVIDIA states that some ViewPerf 11 performance increases are up to 5x with the Fermi-based Quadro line, with simulation performances as great as 8x.