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Thread: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

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    100 Club kleenhippie's Avatar
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    Default Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Can anyone explain to me the difference between a Graphics Accelerator chip (Intel) and a Graphics Card such as a Nvidia Quattro FX 1400?
    Our IT guy speced my new computer with a Accelerator chip that has 368Mb of memory, to replace my old computer that has the FX1400. I spend half of my time coming back from crashes, and I'm having a difficult time explaining to him and management that an accelerator is not a GPU per se. About 40% of my work nowadays is 3D and all of the other MEP trades that I xref in are 3D. I'm using Vanilla 2009 CAD.
    Thanks,

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    Forum Manager, Administrator Ed Jobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    The chip or gpu is what the card uses. Same relationship in cpu to motherboard. An accelerator is a gpu. Its used to accelerate graphics processing by offloading from the cpu. Most motherboards have onboard gpu's. For cad you can improve graphics processing by getting a gpu designed for vector graphics rather than raster graphics. There is a fundamental difference in the way they process 3D and blitting or regenerating a screen image. Raster gpu's repaints a whole screen at a time, whereas vector gpu's regenerates only the vectors that changed, or a single dialog, etc.

    The ATI FireGL line and the Nvidia Quadro FX line are vector based gpu's as opposed to the popular Radeon and GeForce raster cards. The cards can come from many manufacturers using those chips. Your problem with the Quadro probably relates to not having the lates drivers.

    Check out Autodesk's video card database for specifics on cards vs drivers tested by Autodesk. Under Services and Support, expand Data and Downloads, then select Supported Hardware.

    BTW, its Quadro. Quattro is a spreadsheet program.
    C:> ED WORKING....

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    100 Club kleenhippie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    OOpps... Quattro - I think of either Ferrari or Maserati.
    I have no prob with the Quadro, I keep it updated. But the computer (Dell M70) that contains the Quadro only has a P4 1.86Ghz processor and 2Gbs of RAM. It was struggling with 2008 and we are upgrading to 2009.
    It's the new computer that has the Accelerator chip, and I've been crashing CAD so often that I'm back on the M70 with 2008.

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Intel graphics chips integral with the mobo are generally poor for cad IME.
    John B

    "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Quote Originally Posted by kleenhippie View Post
    Our IT guy speced my new computer with a Accelerator chip that has 368Mb of memory, to replace my old computer that has the FX1400.
    Kick your IT guy clear across the head to knock some sense into him. He's giving you the Intel integrated video chip, the x3100. It's good for low-res things, okay for slow games (fastest I've used on it was WoW, so not too taxing on any vid card) but horrible for 3D AutoCAD. I've tried running it in 3D, and even with all the boosted memory I gave my computer, it still tanked it.
    Get an add-on card, or take out the FX1400, it would do better IMO.
    Oh, and that 368 MB? That's the max it will use, not what it uses constantly. The constant memory it uses is 4 MB. Only if something is very taxing on it will it use anywhere close to that 368 MB.

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    All AUGI, all the time jmctamney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    If the new computer has a pci slot (it should) just take the video card out of your old one and install it in the new one.

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    100 Club kleenhippie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Sadly, it's a laptop. It's a pretty nice laptop... for spreadsheets, email and stuff...

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    Certified AUGI Addict jaberwok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Sadly, any old laptop is just not good enough for any serious 3d work. You need a "workstation" class machine - with a mobile version of a decent graphics card.
    John B

    "You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Not sure if this will help but I would use the Autodesk Certified Hardware List to demonstrate to management that the laptop the IT guy bought is not compatible with the software you run. You need a computer with a certified, supported and recommended video card for your AutoCAD version and OS.

    Maybe he can still return it if he got it from a good vendor or maybe the guy that approves purchases needs a new laptop =)
    Jeff Paulsen

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    Default Re: Graphic Accelerator Chip vs Graphics Card

    Quote Originally Posted by kleenhippie View Post
    OOpps... Quattro - I think of either Ferrari or Maserati.
    Try Audi, Ferrari and Maserati don't do any type of Quattro system, all their cars are rear-wheel drive.

    Quote Originally Posted by kleenhippie View Post
    Can anyone explain to me the difference between a Graphics Accelerator chip (Intel) and a Graphics Card such as a Nvidia Quattro FX 1400?
    Our IT guy speced my new computer with a Accelerator chip that has 368Mb of memory
    A graphics accellerator chip is basically the same as whats onboard the addin graphics card. The main differences are that the graphics accellerator chip is integrated into the motherboard and isn't replaceable without replacing the whole motherboard.
    Other main differences for the accellerator chip
    - The 384MB of memory it uses is taken from the system memory, so you lose that much off the 2gig in the computer.
    - Its designed for nothing more than basic PC use, ie browsing the net, spreadsheets etc. They're unable to handle anything more complex.
    - They're cheap. cost of an integrated graphics chip will add probably 20-30 quid onto a motherboards cost, as opposed to the couple hundred for a proper graphics card, you get what you pay for.

    Laptops just aren't designed to run as £d workstations. Did you request the laptop or was it given to you?

    Incediently, if your laptop has an expresscard port, as most new laptops do, you may be able to get a new graphics card that uses the express card port. Not an ideal situation but better than nothing.
    Last edited by paddymackey; 2008-06-25 at 04:29 PM.

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