What’s the difference between Consumer and Pro graphics cards?

If you’re building a new editing computer, what’s the difference between the top of the line professional graphics cards and a top of line gaming card which can often cost a lot less?

GPU

How do you choose between consumer and pro graphics cards? Low cost and high performance are compelling with the lower-end products, but compatability and support are better with the professional versions. Oren Payton explores this in depth

Most of us know that in order to run graphic intensive tasks, you need an add-on graphics card. We are also pretty much resigned to the fact that the top-of-the-range examples get fairly pricey, and a few hundred pounds is not unusual for a recently released all bells-and-whistles card. It is a little more difficult to justify why we are required to fork out four or five times more than that for a top of the range professional graphics card.

The Nvidia Quadro K5000 (and there are more expensive Quadros out there) is listed on Scan Computers’ website for £1813 , whereas a roughly equivalent Geforce will set you back around £400. This is especially striking since, according to some sources on the street, they are sometimes almost identical in hardware and use only a slightly modified driver and BIOS.

I’d like to start off by confirming what many think (especially those spending their own personal cash), that in many cases, an expensive professional GPU is not entirely needed. It is important to remember though that in many other cases, a good professional card will make all the difference between working smoothly and efficiently, and having to put up with a lifetime of difficulties. The same arguments apply to both Nvidia and AMD, with Quadro and FirePro cards representing the pro corner and GeForce and Radeon in the consumer corner.

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