Quadro 6000 Review: Raising the Bar with Fermi
Viewperf performance scores with the Quadro 6000 were: catia-03, 28.40; ensight-04, 59.51; lightwave-01, 48.87 (49.91 – 102%); maya-03, 85.24; proe-05, 5.91 (5.84); sw-02, 47.17 (47.17); tcvis-02, 30.41 (28.04 – 92%); and snx-01, 60.37. For those familiar with the SPEC ViewPerf 10 test, the results from that revision of SPEC ViewPerf aren't directly comparable to the results from ViewPerf 11. The tests of the latter version are more complex and access different features, making a comparison between the two sets the equivalent of comparing apples and oranges.
Compared to the NVIDIA Quadro 5000 tested on the same system, most performance scores were notably faster. For example, the LightWave scores were 48.87 on the Quadro 6000 vs. 41.25 on the 5000, and the Maya scores were 85.24 for the 6000 and 76.57 on the Quadro 5000. Not all scores were faster, however, with the Catia scores reaching 28.40 with the Quadro 6000, but 32.08 with the Quadro 5000. In the past, I've seen performance faltering on the transition from the FX4800 to the FX5800, but that did not occur when going from the positionally comparable Quadro 5000 to the Quadro 6000, indicating that this Fermi line of graphics cards have legs.
NVIDIA's Quadro 6000 is covered by a three-year limited warranty and carries an MSRP of $4,999.00. When purchased as part of a workstation system, vendors often offer lower prices on the Quadro 6000 than are available for independent purchases.
At this price, the Quadro 6000 is obviously intended for professional usage where, in capable hands, its speedy performance can help pay for itself in fairly short order. Combined with the options for extension via either programmability or by hardware such as SLI, GenLink and stereo glasses -- along with the high level of support provided by NVIDIA-- the Quadro 6000 will find a welcome and comfortable home in many professional environments.
While the Quadro 6000 definitely produces more heat than the Quadro 5000, it also offers faster performance. Whether such heat might be a factor in your particular workspace depends much upon your system configuration and the ventilation of your workspace. If you have two available slots in your PC and enough coverage by your power supply to handle the peak 225W power draw, I believe that the benefits of performance and professional capabilities offered by the Quadro 6000 outweigh the additional heat. Would I recommend the Quadro 6000? Yes, without reservation for those who can put it to good use.
Ron LaFon, a long-time contributing editor for Cadalyst Magazine, is a writer, editor, and a computer graphics and electronic publishing specialist from Atlanta, Georgia. He is a principal at 3Bear Prods. in Atlanta, Georgia.