Consumer graphics cards are great, if gaming is your thing, but professional 3D CAD demands advanced “workstation-class” graphics performance. NVIDIA has leveled the playing field in graphics price performance with a series of NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards that can offer a performance increase over comparably priced consumer graphics cards.

Alex Herrera, a senior consulting analyst for companies such as Jon Peddie Research, has released a new white paper “Simpler Choices in Graphics Hardware for Today’s AutoCAD Professionals,” which identifies the benefits of professional graphics cards for AutoCAD 3D design.

“A game isn’t CAD, and vice versa, so the ideal set of features and optimum balance of performance for the CAD professional will be different than that of the gamer,” says Herrera. “For professional-grade 3D hardware, it’s all about tuning the pipeline and balancing the typical workload for AutoCAD. NVIDIA Quadro graphics offers the price, performance, and features AutoCAD professionals need to balance productivity and maximize workflow.”

In the paper, Herrera also highlights the differences between gaming and professional graphics cards and pinpoints many of the visual differences between the two types of cards in AutoCAD-specific visual modes, the importance of specialized drivers for maximum performance, and ISV certifications for increased reliability.