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NVIDIA Workstation Performance: Windows vs. Linux vs. Solaris

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Earlier this week we previewed the Quadro FX1700, which is one of NVIDIA's mid-range workstation graphics cards that is based upon the G84GL core that in turn is derived from the consumer-class GeForce 8600 series. This PCI Express graphics card offers 512MB of video memory with two dual-link DVI connections and support for OpenGL 2.1 while maintaining a maximum power consumption of just 42 Watts. As we mentioned in the preview article, we would be looking at this graphics card's performance not only under Linux but also testing this workstation solution in both Microsoft Windows and Sun's Solaris. In this article today, we are doing just that as we test the NVIDIA Quadro FX1700 512MB with each of these operating systems and their respective binary display drivers.

For today's workstation testing we had run the NVIDIA Quadro FX1700 512MB on Ubuntu 8.04 Alpha 5, Solaris Express Developer 1/08, and Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate. Ubuntu 8.04 uses the Linux 2.6.24 kernel and Solaris Express Developer Edition 1/08 is based upon Solaris Nevada Build 79b. With each operating system we had used the latest supported NVIDIA drivers, which was 169.12 for Linux and Solaris and 169.25 for Windows Vista. During the testing, the screen resolution used was 1680 x 1050 and all settings from the NVIDIA drivers to the operating system were left at their defaults.

To benchmark these three operating systems and drivers we had used SPECViewPerf 9.0.3 to represent workstation use. SPECViewPerf 10.0 is not yet available for Linux/UNIX, which is why we are still using SPECViewPerf 9 for conducting these tests. We have published the results to all of the SPECViewPerf 9 tests: 3dsmax-04, catia-02, ensight-03, light-08, maya-02, proe-04, sw-01, ugnx-01, and tcvis-01.

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