From: Edelmiro Moman (
Date: Sun Jan 24 2010 - 10:57:42 CST


I am going to buy a HPC to serve both as a graphical workstation and a
GPU/CPU computing system. The system has two quadcore CPUs and three
NVIDIA Tesla C1060 GPUs.

As for the graphics card, the retailer is offering a few options:

        1 Quadro® 290 NVS PCI-E 1X 109.554 €
        1 Quadro® 450 NVS PCI-E 16X 512MB 397.296 €
        1 NVIDIA TESLA C1060 Compute Board 1091.2 €
        2 NVIDIA TESLA C1060 Compute Board 2182.4 €
        3 NVIDIA TESLA C1060 Compute Board 3273.6 €
        4 NVIDIA TESLA C1060 Compute Board 4364.8 €
        1 NVIDIA GeForce™ GTX295 1,792GB PCIe 2.0 404.24 €
        2 NVIDIA GeForce™ GTX295 1,792GB PCIe 2.0 808.48 €
        1 NVIDIA Quadro® FX 3800 PCIE 1GB 703.08 €
        1 NVIDIA Quadro® FX 4800 PCIe 2.0 1,5GB 1385.748 €
        1 NVIDIA Quadro® FX 5800 PCIe 2.0 4GB 2519.748 €

I already have 3 Teslas and thefore there is only room for a single
graphics card. I am hesitating between NVIDIA GeForce™ GTX295 and
NVIDIA Quadro® FX 3800.

I have checked an NVIDIA report from 2001 which I believe to be a bit
outdated and also several gamers forums discussing the GeForce vs
Quadro question. However, they do not address the specific molecular
graphics needs. I have also noticed that the issue has been discussed
in this mailing list before, but in all cases the Quadro option was
discarded beforehand.

I have a few questions:

1) Does the GTX295 support quad stereo? (I also plan to purchase a
couple of 3D monitors)
2) Are really the FXs more suitable for interactive rendering in VMD
(macromolecular surfaces, for instance) or there is really little
difference between Quadro and GeForce to that respect?
3) What about high-quality rendering or movie making?
4) Is it worthy buying the FX3800 or would I be better served with the GTX295?
5) Would it be worthy upgrading to a FX4800?
6) Is there a better option?

Best regards,

Edelmiro Moman, PhD
ProSciens, Computing & Molecular Sciences
2 rue du Palais de Justice
L-1841 Luxembourg
Phone: +352 2728 2588