GPU performance Q's


So I have to replace a stolen laptop workstation which inspired me to research what kind of upgrade in performance i can expect from a new machine. I’m pretty sure i will get the best processor available but I am at a loss when it comes to choosing a graphics card.

My last machine was a dell precision m4600 mobile workstation spec’d out as follows:

Intel Core i7-2820M Quad Core 2.30GHz 8MB,
8.0GB, DDR3-1600 SDRAM, 4 DIMM ,
NVIDIA Quadro 2000M with 2GB G DDR3,
500GB Hard Drive, 7200RPM,

It generally performed fairly well as a modeling station however it had some serious performance issues when i created a model with a lot of curves. I use rhino with rhinoCAM to produce engraved artwork with a CNC router. So I draw curves in rhino which i use as engraving operations in RhinoCAM as a way of precisely controlling the path of the CNC router. This results in files containing many thousands of curves at times. Rotating these models would have a serious lag and if i were to move a model like this I could sometimes wait minutes or more for the transformation to complete. This Kind of Lag was extremely stresssful considering i pay for use of the CNC equipment by the hour.

Another workflow that I use is to create a height-field from a grey-scale image. I run a parallel finishing milling operation over that surface with a V-bit at a step-over equal to twice the max depth of the Height-field. This would translate the image into the material on the table. Assuming my step-over is 1/4" I would have to sample the image with mesh vertices at least as tightly as the stepover (ideally double). so that would mean 16 mesh vertices per square inch. For a full sheet of material at 48 x 96" this means 73,728 mesh vertices on that surface. I noticed that in shaded mode the surface displays pretty well. But in wireframe mode its awful. But I need to look at the wireframe in order to see the detail.

So my questions are:

will a higher end video card help my situation?

is this possibly a VRAM issue?

there are options to get 1, 2 or 4 GB of Vram in the quadro cards for laptop. could I benefit from 4GB?

There is some debate about whether Quadro is actually better for rhino than GeForce. the simplified way that i understand gaming cards is that they handle more frames per second while workstation cards allow for greater detail. Is there a chance that a Geforce card might work better for drawing curves?

would more regular RAM help?

which piece of hardware is being utilized when displaying curves?

does this have anything to do with the way rhino utilizes resources?

Any insights are greatly appreciated.


Was just talking to Brian James yesterday about this- I have a quadro k600 and it performs great- Brian is running the Geforce and says it is as good if not better than the quadro for rhino- My problem is I run a few apps that require a quadro, so I’m stuck with it- If you are mainly running rhino, the Geforce may be a great bet-

Btw- I ran a dell laptop for years and hated it. I run a Boxx now and it’s night and day better- expensive, but they know what they are talking about-


Hi Kyle,

thanks thats helpful. I was looking into boxx actually. also a company called origin. ever hear of them?

just curious - which apps are you running that require the quadro?


I’m using freeform.

This will help with some of your questions:

By the look of it, I will be able to roll out the first “Holomark 2” Beta by the end of next week.
So if you can wait until then I am sure many of your questions will be answered.

It is much better than Holomark 1 and will stress-test the system on different levels.

The first betas will not have all the CPU tests up and running, but that should not matter too much since two tests are hooked up.

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Here are things in my mind.

  1. More GB of graphic card doesn’t mean it’s good. It depends on the input of graphic cards technology. There are different Architecture for different type of graphic cards.

  2. Gaming or Workstation? It will make differences when you do large projects. There are specific drivers for different software, which gaming graphic card can never take advantage of. In other words, the ratings on graphic card out there is somewhat ‘useless.’ Cannot compare a gaming card to a workstation card. They are designed for different types of purposes.

  3. RAM of course more is “better.” but how many G is enough? I don’t know but certainly 16G is safe.

  4. Hard Drive – Go with SSD, it will make huge differences not only when you start up the computer but also when you open programs, installing things, etc. It’s just fast.

  5. CPU — Expensive, more cores, threads don’t mean the machine can take advantages of it. Let’s say you render a simple object using i7 and I render the same object using whatever from old CPU. It takes the same amount of time because Intel CPU only uses the rest of cores and threads when the first or second or …(keep going) cannot consume more things… It basically divides a job into different groups and make the job fast.

So, for that laptop…

I would consider

  1. higher clock CPU (2.30 seems too little)
  2. 16G 1600MHz, 2 DIMM ( Each Ram 8GB x 2)
    3.NVIDIA QUADRO 2100M ( 2000M is the last Generation but huge differences, see Nvidia web for detail)
  3. SSD


thanks to all, this helped speed up a super steep learning curve. I took as much of your advice as i could afford. I ended up getting a dell m6800. it came to $3600 and change. dell seemed to offer the most bang for the buck by far so i couldnt swing an extra 1,500- 2000 for a boxx or origin machine. although the idea of having more than 4 cores was compelling, which only boxx and origin seem to offer, I dont think it would have solved my issues. I think the ssd and the new GPU are going to make a huge difference. Thanks again.

below are the specs. I’ll report back to let everyone know about its performance.

one last question: based on the holomark results posted:

GPU1 (lines) scores for the four newer cards were virtually identical, giving a 12percent benefit over the older FX1750.

should I understand that the visualization of lines has more to do with the CPU rather than the GPU?

M6800 specs:

16GB (4x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3L

NVIDIA Quadro K3100M w/4GB GDDR5

Intel Core i7-4900MQ Processor (Quad Core, 8M Cache, 2.8 GHz, w/HD Graphics 4600)

44cm (17.3") UltraSharp FHD(1920x1080) Wide View Anti-Glare LED-backlit Premium Panel Guarantee

128GB 2.5inch SATA Solid State Drive

512GB, 2.5 inch SATA 6Gb/s Additional Solid State Drive


I just want to contribute for your research, because in the earlier past I bought a new machine for work to. WORKSTATION (game modified laptop class)… my laptop is a CLEVO P150SM (search on notebookcheck for details.)

For about one year I read all about QUADRO vs GEFORCE cards… My honest opinion is, if you only, and only work with specific software’s and no GAMES at all, and specially if you will earn money with your machine, I have to say that QUADRO is the better choice… You have to read all about the software’s you will work on. Attention, because all new software versions, intend to leave DIRECT X and went to OPEN GL + OPEN CL mathematical calculations…

AUTOCAD (try to see version comparisons), old versions works on direct X, but I think in the future it will be mostly OPENGL.
PHOTOSHOP CS6 (mercury engine) do not USE NVidia CUDA and no more DirectX. (GeForce work great but if you have many layers and high resolution works, you are fucked. So you are better with a QUADRO K3100M or higher.
SKETCHUP (uses OPEN GL but it is only 1 single CPU THREAD)
ILLUSTRATOR and INDESIGN, only uses CPU (you can not try any GPU under OPTIMUS ENERGY to work on it.
RHINO (is OPENGL, and single THREAD CPU)…

About Rhino… I have read many reviews about CPU CARDS in Rhino… Almost users use a GEFORCE card. The say its good for the price…But I have to say my opinion… If you will use RHINO with a EXTERNAL MONITOR, and want to have FAST VIEWPORT workflow, then you need a QUADRO K3100M or better.
I bought a GTX 780M 4GB and a lots of CUDAS and MEM BANDWICH, and honestly this CARD is really, really fast and only in SHADER and WIREFRAME Display Modes. When I have to work with many layers and a lots of blocks, with files like 1,5GB and lots of objects and polygons, this GEFORCE GTX simply not handle the rotate workflow viewports. NVIDIAS are stucked in gaming modes, special for DIRECTX…( I have an old GEFORCE, and sometimes I think it works better than this new one), probably because of its architecture and drivers…

IMPORTANT NOTE: do a big research about QUADRO DRIVERS in your software’s… If you do not have a QUADRO DRIVER, de quadro cards wont work better, because they are crippled. They are a GEFORCE cards modified with better FLOATING POINT PRECISION (for work under X,Y,Z)

RESUME: A good CPU (i7 4800MQ and above) Try to find a Intel with better CLOCKS on singles threads, since almost software’s perform on single threat.
RAM… a lots of it. 16GB or more.
SSD 250GB or more. this is the most important hardware. it is really fast to work on it.
GPU… well, after all, it depends of the drivers. Remember, that QUADRO CARDS only work like QUADROS under specific driver for specific software’s… So I think it is better to save some money, buy some GTX 680M, and make an investment on CPU and RAM…

Try to think like this… QUADRO is only for those u work on specific software that have mature drivers for it. Imagine if you work on a big company and only work, for example, in SOLIDWORKS. Only this software and no more. QUADRO are the better option.

If you work with a lots of softwares, and need a versatile benchmarks results, it is better a GTX card. It is more cheap, and you can save money to spend on better hardwares. REmmeber… Almost 3D softwares do not need so much GPU power. They only perform in CPU and RAM. GPU is only required to show the workflow in your monitors. Despite some new softwares like OCTANE RENDER, or THEA RENDER that works specific in NVIDIA CUDA engines and GPU powers. (try to find for it in internet)

For more helpful contact me.

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hello there.

Can you post some benchmark (holomark)… Can you help me decide if it worth it to change my GTX 780M for a QUADRO K3100M. I am having a bit of jagged viewport rotates in RHINO with complex projects. To much surfaces and many litle parts (700MB file). I need to know if i could have better viewport results changing my GTX gaming card for a Professional line since i do not play games. Only work in PHOTOSHOP, SKETCHUP, RHINO, REVIT, AUTOCAD, and RENDERS (real time) like V-ray, Octane, Artlantis and some other.

can you give me a friendly word and help me to decide