Nvidia is the undisputed king when it comes to graphics technology. From gaming to content development, to cloud computing and deep learning, Nvidia has a dominant foothold in nearly every industry in tech.

But all GPUs are not built the same. While gaming GPUs have come a long way there are still a lot of clear advantages to the workstation Quadro lineup. While it might seem like blasphemy to discuss GeForce and Quadro cards in the same article, we think it is worth tackling.

There are some basic misconceptions about these two categories. In this article, we hope to shed some light on the similarities, differences, and use cases for each.

So, these are the five most powerful Nvidia GPUs we feel represent the best that Nvidia has to offer for work and play.

Here are the five most powerful GPUs offered by Nvidia.

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Ti Gaming X Trio OC Graphics Card 24GB GDRR6X 384-Bit Tri-Frozr Ampere Architecture 1x HDMI 2.1 3X DisplayPort 1.4a w/ MT HDMI Cable
  • 【THE GAMING YOU KNOW & TRUST】The latest iteration of MSI’s iconic GAMING series once again brings performance, low-noise efficiency, and aesthetics that hardcore gamers have come to recognize and trust. Now you too can enjoy all your favorite games with a powerful graphics card that stays cool and silent
  • 【LIGHT 'EM UP】Synchronize lighting with other compatible devices to take the light show to another level. Going dark is as easy as turning the lights off.
  • 【TORX FAN 4.0】A revolutionary ring design to focus airflow and air pressure into the heatsink.
  • 【AMPERE ARCHITECTURE】Ampere architecture features advanced 2nd Gen Ray Tracing Cores and 3rd Gen Tensor Cores.
  • 【COOL TO THE CORE】The VRAM modules are covered by a dedicated copper baseplate for improved heat dissipation, ensuring proper memory cooling on the TRI FROZR 2 thermal design.

We reviewed the GeForce RTX 3090 a few months ago. It is a certified beast not just in performance but in physical size as well. It was able to crunch through 8K gaming and shattered opponents in benchmark tests. With the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, Nvidia has pushed the power even further.

The card has 10,752 Cuda Cores, 336 Tensor cores, and 24 GB of VRAM at 21 Gbps. It’s able to grind through intense calculations to produce lightning-fast render speeds and near real-time performance in Blendr and Autodesk’s Maya.

This is a powerful card that can give you pro-level performance without paying Quadro prices. However, there are some areas where GeForce still falls short of traditional workstation cards.

Check out GeForce RTX 3090 Ti on Amazon.

Sale
PNY NVIDIA Quadro RTX A6000 48GB GDDR6 Graphics Card
  • Memory: 48GB, GDDR6
  • PCI Express x16 4.0 interface
  • Maximum resolution: 7680 x 4320 pixels
  • Ports: 4 x DisplayPorts
  • Backed by a 3 years manufacturers warranty

With a price tag of $5K, the Quatro RTX A6000 is certainly not for everyone. At first glance, the price difference between this and the 3090 TI might not make sense. They both have the same number of Cuda Cores, 10752, and they both utilize GDDR6 memory.

However, the 3090 Ti has 24 GB of memory, which is substantial, but the A6000 boasts double that with 48 GB. Therein lies the difference. This extra memory wouldn’t give you much of a leg up in gaming, the 3090 itself is sort of overkill. But when caching animation or video previews, this can make a huge positive impact on creative workflows.

Still, the card is a specialty item. With the lines blurring between GeForce and Quadro, how much longer will workstation cards exist?

Check out Quatro RTX A6000 on Amazon.

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12GB GDRR6X 320-Bit HDMI/DP Nvlink Torx Fan 3 Ampere Architecture OC Graphics Card (RTX 3080 Ti Gaming X Trio 12G)
  • Memory Speed:19 Gbps.Digital Max Resolution:7680x4320
  • Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
  • TRI FROZR 2 Thermal Design
  • Video Memory: 12GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Interface: 320-bit

The 3090 might be capable of 8K gaming but most gamers are not. 4K and 1440p gaming still rule the market. And in that arena, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is king. It boasts 10,240 Cuda Cores, 320 Tensor Cores, 80 RT Cores, and 12 GB of GDDRX 6 VRAM.

This thing is a beast and can crunch through 4K gaming at high frame rates. It is a great option for high-end gaming but there is some potential for workstations as well. You’re not going to get the performance of the previous two entries, but some creators don’t really need that.

That 12 GB of VRAM isn’t nothing. If you are a YouTuber or video editor you can get some great performance out of this card. That said, there are some tradeoffs. Like the 3090, this is a power-hungry GPU and you will need at least an 800W PSU in order to run it smoothly. It is expensive as well, lower than the 3090 but still over $1K.

Check out GeForce RTX 3080 Ti on Amazon.

Sale
NVIDIA RTX A4000
  • 6144 optimized CUDA Cores, 19.2 TFLOPS
  • 192 third generation Tensor Cores, 153.4 TFLOPS
  • 48 second generation RT Cores, 37.4 TFLOPS
  • Single-slot width, full length form factor
  • 140W max power consumption

Well under the price of the A6000, the Quatro RTX A4000 is a good alternative for workstation cards. It is comparable to the 3070 in the core count but with double the memory with 16 GB of VRAM.

With VRAM that low it might seem like this is a subpar card for content creation. While it doesn’t approach the power of previous entries, the price and feature set make it a worthwhile option.

Like all Quadro cards, the A4000 features Error Correction Code or ECC. This allows the GPU to identify and correct or report errors more efficiently. Basically, it does a better job at tackling errors so professionals can keep working. Another feature of workstation cards is application-ready drivers. So, you can get started running Blendr or After Effects right away.

Check out Quatro RTX A4000 on Amazon.

NVIDIA Titan RTX Graphics Card
  • OS Certification : Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows 10 (64 bit) (April 2018 Update or later), Linux 64 bit
  • 4608 NVIDIA CUDA cores running at 1770 MegaHertZ boost clock; NVIDIA Turing architecture
  • New 72 RT cores for acceleration of ray tracing
  • 576 Tensor Cores for AI acceleration; Recommended power supply 650 watts
  • 24 GB of GDDR6 memory running at 14 Gigabits per second for up to 672 GB/s of memory bandwidth

You don’t hear much about the Titan RTX anymore, and that is probably for the best. Still, this card is worth considering even though it uses older architecture and costs an arm and a leg.

The Titan RTX has 24GB of GDDR6 memory which makes it an incredible card for deep learning or AI. Where it falls short is in gaming and workstation applications. Outside of those Deep learning, this card just isn’t practical, and the 3090 and A6000 edge it out in nearly every metric that counts for gaming and work.

The future of the Titan is unclear at this point. Once Nvidia’s prized powerhouse, the Titian has been met with less and less fan fair over the years and Nvidia doesn’t seem as interested in pushing it. Still, it deserves a spot on this list.

Check out Titan RTX on Amazon.

Workstation Vs. Gaming: Explained

If you’re looking for a new graphics card and you want something with powerful performance, you might be tempted to splurge on the workstation cards. And if you need that sort of thing, that can be a good purchase. But you shouldn’t count out GeForce cards just yet.

For a long time, creators and reviewers alike have turned their nose up at GeForce graphics cards being used professionally. Those lines blurred with the release of the RTX 3090, which approached the kind of power you would get from Quadro cards.

Price

So, are workstation cards worth it? Well, yes, but not for everything. For one, they are prohibitively expensive. The Quadro A6000 is priced just under $5k while the 3090 is priced at $1500. This can put them out of reach for all but the most serious creators. Typically, these cards are geared toward studios and industry professionals who have the money to dish out.

That said, there are definitely situations that call for the power of the Quadro cards. In those instances, the money really doesn’t make a difference. If your business hinges on performance and render speed, workstation cards pay for themselves.

Performance

When putting these two head-to-heads the specs seem pretty similar. It might even look like the two cards will offer the same performance. And in many ways, they will. The difference is in the way these devices interact with the software and the jobs they are given.

Workstation cards, as a rule, have a very high amount of VRAM. This allows programs like Maya, Blendr, or Cinema 4D to cache preview files more easily. This means you can work closer to real-time without having to view your progress in the framework.

Manufacturer

The last big difference is who can make these powerful Nvidia GPUs. There are tons of companies that are allowed to make GeForce cards like Gigabyte, EVGA, and Asus, just to name a few. For workstation cards, however, there are only two, PNY and Leadtek.

Nvidia designs the card from the ground up. Then it gives the design to third-party developers. For gaming, these developers then make tweaks to compete with one another. But the workstation cards are built pretty much to spec with a few differences here and there.

These design differences are subtle, but they allow Nvidia to develop cards that serve different niches.

The Best GPU for the Job: What It’s Like

For argument’s sake let’s put the two most powerful cards head-to-head, the A6000 and the 3090 Ti. If you were to use both cards for a simple 3D animation, you would most likely get similar performance, playback, and render times give or take.

Where the separation occurs is in more complex animations. In layman’s terms, if you are working on motion graphics, VFX, or light 3D you can get away with using a GeForce card. It will offer amazing playback and professional render speeds. If you are using heavy 3D or CAD, that is where the GeForce card will fall short. Studios like Pixar probably need to use workstation cards while other VFX studios do not.

Last update on 2022-11-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Most Powerful Nvidia GPUs for Work and Play FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Quadro Cards good for Gaming?

Short answer, not really. They can comfortably run games but they aren’t really designed with gaming in mind. For the money, you can find a much better gaming-focused card.

Why is the A6000 so expensive?

The Quadro workstation cards are focused on large studios that specialize in VFX, CG, and 3D Modeling. Typically the support offered for these cards is more robust and the extra VRAM makes workstation cards more attractive to professionals that need that kind of power.

Is the GeForce 3090 more powerful than the Quadro A6000?

No, the GeForce 3090 does manage to edge the A6000 out in a few places but the Quadro cards are much better for intense graphics renders. Typically, the more complex the animation or numerous the assets, the more ram is required. The Quadro’s extra VRAM allows it to blow past the 3090 in terms of render capabilities for complex renders.

What is the best card for gaming?

Got to be the GeForce 3080 Ti. It has incredible 4k and 1440p performance as well as a more forgiving price tag than the 3090. However, it is still pretty expensive for entry-level gamers and the amount of power necessary can be prohibitive.

Does Nvidia Still Make Titan GPUs?

The last Titan was the Titan RTX released in 2018. It was unsold by Nvidia who didn’t hand out review copies of the hardware or push it very strongly. The Titan RTX is focused on deep learning and geometric problems at a large scale. So, it is not really in the running with GeForce or Quadro cards. Titan is very much in a league of its own. The future of the Titan cards is unclear but there have been no announcements from Nvidia of new Titans in development.

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