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I was looking for a video card and visited the passmark benchmarks page, now what puzzles me is that starting from top video cards to lowest in terms of passmark score you don't go decreasing in the price: for instance a Radeon HD 7850 is only 180$ and scores 3,640 on passmark, while a Quadro 6000 is 1600$ and scores 3,425 and an ATI FirePro V8700 is 800$ while scoring a meager 1,255!!!

How is that possible? Am I missing something..

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Is there any way we can make this question game related without making it a recommendation? :P –  Brian Feb 28 '13 at 20:59
    
This sounds like a marketing/sales question? –  deutschZuid Feb 28 '13 at 21:16
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This doesn't sound like a shopping question at all, since it's not looking for "which is better" advice. It's looking for knowledge about hardware differences and industry practices. It sounds like a "huh, what's different between these categories of cards?" That's as on-topic as asking what the difference is between a game and its GOTY edition. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 28 '13 at 22:24
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The "Quadro" (nVidia) and "FirePro" (ATI/AMD) cards are workstation-class cards, intended for professional use and optimized for things like Adobe Creative Studio. They are not optimized towards the demands of games. ATI/AMD & nVidia's consumer- and enthusiast- grade hardware are optimized towards games, however.

In general, you'll find that workstation and server class hardware is optimized for a different set of use cases and marketed towards different classes of user. Purchasing it to play games on is likely to be a waste of money. This would be like buying an 18-wheeler to drive to work in - you're probably not using the cargo capacity, and it's not going to be the fastest or most fuel efficient way to travel.

For instance, most professional grade hardware (graphics included) you'll see more use of ECC memory, as accuracy is key. In gaming, you're going to see larger quantities of more inexpensive and faster chips, since low cost and speed are key. Included in the cost of professional cards are expensive certifications, where the drivers and hardware are run through vendor-specific tests in order to ensure compatibility.

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Note that one big change is the quality of drivers. The workstation drivers are tested a lot more thoroughly to work with the high-end CAD utilities. –  SinisterMJ Feb 28 '13 at 21:42
    
@Anton: So they claim; but, having had to troubleshoot Quadro drivers majorly messing things up in AutoCAD in the past, I find that claim highly dubious. I think they just say that to satisfy their business customers (who pay lots of money for those cards), and in the meanwhile actually focus most of their time on the gaming GPUs (which bring in the most money, and whose owners complain the loudest when something goes wrong) –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 28 '13 at 22:14
    
nVidia cards also tend to be more expensive than ATI competitors, but do come with more features (that may or may not be of use to somebody who is only interested in gaming). –  kotekzot Mar 1 '13 at 0:00
    
Thank for your answer, however can you please update your answers showing what are the technical differences between a professional and a gaming graphic card? Passmark tests for a series of application loads (which might or might not be similar to the typical professional or gaming application) so it should not do any difference: in the CPU field for instance no one cares about professional or gaming use of the CPU, you can just base yourself on the PassMark benchmarks which are general enough to yield an average cpu performance for an average use of the pc. Why can't it be the same for GPU's? –  dendini Mar 1 '13 at 14:33
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Apart from certification (expensive! not to be underestimated!), the price of (an officefull of) workstation cards is going to come with much more expectation of customer support. –  SevenSidedDie Mar 1 '13 at 18:03
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