Nvidia Quadro 6000 takes ATI's high-end crown

The professional graphics market has shifted into top gear and the NVIDIA Quadro 6000 is giving it a new lease of life.

We all thought that the NVIDIA Quadro 5000 was top notch, but the 6000 has managed to top even that. We take an exclusive look at the new NVIDIA Quadro  6000, which sports 6GB of GDDR5 memory and 448 CUDA Cores

It’s a heavy weight piece of muscle with a superb pedigree. The dual slot card brings professional graphics to a high level as a stand alone. It offers support for features not the norm in the market and will run high-end CAD/CAM, 3D Design, and Digital Content Creation software applications.

In order to understand the leap that’s been made, here is the Nvidia Quadro FX5800 side by side the 6000: 


Nvidia Quadro FX5800

Nvidia Quadro 6000

Memory Size



Memory Interface



Memory Bandwidth



CUDA™ Parallel Processor Cores



Maximum Power Consumption

189 Watts

225 Watts

Number of slots



Display Connectors

2 X DVI-I, 1 X DP, 1 X Stereo

1 X DVI-I, 2 X DP, 1 X Stereo

Dual Link DVI









Shader Model



Direct X



3D Vision Pro



Quadro Panoramic



NVIDIA SLI Mosaic Mode






NVIDIA SLI Frame Rendering Support



Quadro SDI option card



Quadro G-Sync option card



ECC (Error Correcting Code)



Fast Double Precision



Triangles per Second

300 Million

1.3 Billion

Supported Platforms
Microsoft Windows 7 (64-bit and 32-bit)
Microsoft Windows Vista (64-bit and 32-bit)
Microsoft Windows XP (64-bit and 32-bit)

Linux – Full OpenGL implementation, complete with NVIDIA and ARB extensions (64-bit and 32-bit)


System setup and software used:



Test  System 1

Test  System 3


Supermicro X8SAX Workstation Board Rev 2

Supermicro X8DAi Rev 2


1 X 3.46GHz Intel Xeon X5677 Nehalem EP, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI

2 X 3.33GHz Intel Xeon X5680 Nehalem EP, 12MB Shared Cache, 6.4GB/s QPI

HSF Coolers

Intel’s Socket 1366 Stock Cooler

2 X Noctua NH-U9DX 1366


6 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 (12GB Total) 1333MHz
Unbuffered Non ECC DIMMS  Memory Modules

12 X 2GB Crucial DDR3 (24GB Total) 1333MHz
Unbuffered ECC DIMMS  Memory Modules

Hard Drive

256GB Crucial C300 RealSSD

256GB Crucial C300 RealSSD

PCI Ex Video Card

NVIDIA Quadro 6000

NVIDIA Quadro 6000

PCI Ex Video Card

NVIDIA Quadro FX4800

NVIDIA Quadro FX4800


Benchmarks and software used 64-bit mode

Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
SPECapc for SolidWorks 2007™
SPECviewperf 10.0 64-bit.   Tests ran at 1600 X 1200 Resolution
SPECviewperf 11.0 64-bit.   Tests ran at 1920 X 1080 Resolution

Each set of tests has been applied on the clean system hard drives shown above to ensure that no residue drivers were left installed, with all updates and patches applied. A test/render has been completed many times over different periods of the system uptime.   The fair play rules of SPEC  HyperThreading and Turbo Boost have been enabled, with the memory being left at its default status of Auto.   Tests have been conducted in accordance with the resolutions detailed above at 59Hz / 60Hz in 32 bit colour.   All results shown are from the application and benchmark’s first run in accordance with the SPECviewperf and SPECapc™ fair play rules. 



The MAYA-03 Viewset, part of the SPECviewperf 11 benchmark, tells a trained eye just how fast the redraws on the viewset had been.

The positioning of the new Nvidia Quadro 6000 may find itself in the more demanding studios and design centres, the sort which will require heavy duty outputs. It’s a card that will appeal to the likes of studios and architectural agencies.

With today’s ISV software packages – for example Max, Maya and Solidworks – so many commercial plugins are now readily available to enhance packages. With this comes demands for the whole system I/O along with professional cards.

In order to meet the demands of these packages the hardware, along with the supporting Application Acceleration Tools, must be precise. Nvidia has invested heavily with its packages and CUDA development software and we reckon the investment is paying off with notable uptake. A key example would be The Foundry with its award wining packages and Bunkspeed 

Nvidia is aggressively pushing itself with a line up of professional cards that will over the next few months ruffle a few feathers. The raw power of the two Quadro flavours demonstrate one of the most significant technological advancements in the graphic card space for quite some time. It goes without saying that support from Tier 1 and 2 will be colossal as well as support from VARS.

Supporting a beta driver, the Quadro 6000 has leapt up through the scales.   In some areas we see a 50 percent increase, and with an FSAA increase up to 64X – on certain OEM systems with the cards in SLI mode we will be able to see a massive 128X FSAA. Much of this performance improvement is down to the architecture of the new product while some is down to the driver team.

This card has overtaken its predecessor in many ways: it’s got faster memory and the aid of 448 CUDA Cores which will help in complex drawings and rendered outputs.

The results shown within SPECviewperf 11 have been astonishing. There’s a notable scaling in many areas and it goes once more to show how much effort has gone into the driver packages over the last few weeks. Again we took notice indeed of the Quadro 6000 driver stability and across the board performance on both system platforms.

Maya takes the biggest leap on our driver update. It is obvious even to the untrained eye on how well tuned each run has returned on the individual operating systems which are different in many ways.

For those who still rate the retired SPECviewperf 10 there are some surprises here too. After some thought we decided to give it one last run, and what a way to go. It’s clear, the Quadro 6000 is a powerful piece of kit.

The results speak clearly for themselves. What is conclusive is that the base line tests from SPECviewperf 11.0 have returned substantial amounts of indisputably powerful results.

The Nvidia Quadro 6000 should be available from the beginning of October. Its price should be in the region of $4,999 USD – about £3265 or €3866 – before shipping and local taxes. We reckon there will be high demand from what we’ve seen.

After months ahead of the pack, ATI has, for now, lost out to NVIDIA.

TechEye score: Nine out of ten (again)