I've been doing more and more CAD works since a few month and I've recently upgraded my rig with a second gaming card, thinking that CrossFire would be able to perform better with solidworks, but NOT AT ALL.
Solidworks can't handle gaming card in crossfire, I'm getting a lot of graphics bugs:
-Zooming is not refreshing until I rotate or pan
-Edges are highlighted 1 edge too late (if your mouse come one one edge, it won't highlight, then if it comes to an other one, the first one will highlight...)
-Performance is not really better than with one card
-Edges keep being highlighted
-And even more...
I've contacted ATI and they strongly suggested to get a professional card.
The problem is that I still want to play games, and I don't want to have two different rigs.
While searching. I've read that Windows 7 could handle two different drivers (ATI Catalyst Gaming and Professional) and switch from one to the other, but I've never seen anyone doing this. Can any one confirm this? It would be great not to have two different version of windows installed.
The option suggested by ATI was to get a dualboot system, one for gaming and one for CAD.
Since the ONLY difference from one windows installation to the other will be the graphic driver, is there a way to configure windows to start with one driver(gaming) or the other(Professionnal), instead of re installing the whole thing with all programs and other stuff?
This would be great because one computer could be effective with both gaming and CAD and would be reasonable in cost.
I'll search more concerning «forced drivers startup» and keep you informed, this could be useful to anyone!
Don't bother with exotic solutions. I'm about to purchase (long awaited) Diablo3 and probably will have to buy a gaming GPU and the plan was to sort that via dual-boot. As I'm already doing dual-boot (Linux for everything else but SWX) how complicated can it be to dedicate a few minutes (if that much at all) to go into BIOS and change the preferential GPU. As I'm either spending a lot of hours doing CAD, and nothing else at the same time, I'm also doing a lot of other things not needing CAD applications at all at the same time, so, I figure, if I sacrifice an extra minute to do the dual-boot thing, it's nothing compared to the time I'm spending doing something I need or want to... I would definitely not force Windows to go with only drivers choice, that can, and most likely will cause problems, if not immediately, then, in the very near future. Once you get your Win installation screwed up, you're on your own... The best option would be to have the second (gaming) Windows installation on a completely separate HDD. I'm working with Windows since 3.11 when it was just a program running on DOS, and I saw almost everything. Nothing can surprise me.
No need of fancy GPU for this game, they aimed to have the lowest requirements, more people playing. Have a look here: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/diablo-iii-performance-benchmark,3195-7.html
I actually have a Geforce GTX560 and a Quadro 600 installed in my Windows 7 machine. It works great! (last weekend the geforce unfortunately died on me, not because of this setup but because the latest geforces are not that good). Mind you, I also use two monitors!
I used Solidworks on the screen connected to the Quadro and played games on the screen connected to the Geforce. Actually I could use SW also on the Geforce screen, I think because there is a Quadro present in the system. If I played a game on the Quadro however, the graphics suffered significantly.
The Nvidia Quadro 600 is not that expensive and delivers good enough performance. ATI offers the pretty similar Firepro V4900.
The following idea I cannot confirm by a test because my Geforce has died. As soon as I have a replacement, could take another two/three weeks, I will test it if you like. I am curious myself too to find out if it works... :)
If you want only 1 monitor on your desk, you could try to connect both cards to it and switch channels as you please. Most monitors nowadays have multiple connectors, so it shouldn't be a problem. The lazy way is to duplicate your desktop, the slightly less lazy way is to move your desktop back and forth to the other screen(adapter) to keep performance of your cpu optimized, although I don't think it will suffer much. You will probably have to switch channels the first time to let Windows recognize the screen on both adapters...
(as I said, i have to confirm this by testing it first)
Last thing I want to say. To use SW on a geforce or radeon is most often a gamble with bad odds. Some people have no trouble at all (except for realview), most others have problems like you described. Gaming on a (expensive) Quadro or Firepro will not give you good results. For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na4M-zfGr08
Good luck on your quest
Ok, just got a replacement GTX560 back from the shop and installed it.
As I promised I have connected the GTX560 and the Quadro600 to ONE TFT-screen to see if that works...
Findings: it works. I am not able to duplicate the windows desktop, because whenever I switch the channel on the TFT, Windows ofcourse can only see one active connected screen at a time. I can do one of the two following things though:
1) open the "screen resolution" and span the desktop over two screens. When I want to work on one of the two, I make that one the "main screen" and switch the channel on the TFT.
2) open the "screen resolution" and choose "show desktop only on screen 1 (or 2)" and switch the channel on the TFT accordingly.
Conclusion: it is possible to install a Geforce and a Quadro in a system and connect both to one screen.
If you have the luxury to connect two seperate screens, go for that option :)
(I have a dutch operating system, so it is possible that I translated some things incorrectly..)
I'm really interested in having news from your test and I'm happy to know that both cards can work on the same windows installation.
I'm currently looking for a FirePro V5900, this fits in my price and I should have the desired performances.
How did you switched from one card to the other? Could you see difference when using SW if you wouldn't have changed the video card? What happened with the drivers?
Reading your question, I think u do not entirely comprehend what I explained (?)
It is not necessary to really switch when you use my configuration. I simply have my Windows desktop spanned over two TFT screens. If I open SW I drag the window to the screen that is connected to my Quadro card. Simple as that...
I use drivers that are of the same version (NVidia tends to have the same versions for both cards, since the hardware is quite similar), but I don't even think that that's a necessity in Windows 7 (in XP it was...).
As for your V5900 choice, I found it cheaper to upgrade a low-middle end graphics card every two or three years than to buy an expensive card. The performance of the cards is increased every year by NVidia and ATI quite dramatically, while the performance of an expensive card is not dramatically better than that of a "cheap" one. For €150,- I buy the same performance that a €500,- card had two years ago. Furthermore the CPU is the real booster nowadays, the GPU is not that important anymore. If you use assemblies with more than thousand part regularly, you could consider a more expansive card. If not, stick with the cheaper cards.
One more tip, a bit technical but important... Use a motherboard that has a decent secondary PCIe slot if you want to use two graphic cards. The cheaper motherboards have a second slot that only has 1 lane (PCIe 1x) in dual mode (eq. when you use two graphic cards). Go for a motherboard that has a second slot with 8 lanes (PCIe 8x) in dual mode. You have to be careful, because often it is stated that for example a board has two PCIe 16x slots, but more often than not it is not stated that the second slot only performs on 1 lane if both slots are used! Use Google if you want to know more about this subject.
Thank you for the information, I was about to ask the same question here.
Funny you should ask that, I was wondering the same thing and have posted in several forums the last two days asking about this.
Dual-Boot sounds very reasonable as the last resort, though I recommend putting it on the same drive, different partition. And I suggest you mirror your boot partition instead of reinstalling everything, though I'm not sure about the details.
I'll continue searching regarding this topic though there isn't much information about it.
No dual boot is waste of money and time.. I running auto desk inventor 2012 and solidworks 2011 and Nx 8 and also mastercam with no programms at all.
Specs of my rig are in profile
I don't think there is a CAD software that can utilize SLI or Crossfire, correct me if I'm wrong.
And from what I've seen it's a lot more pron to produce errors and artifacts than a single gaming card.
Two GTX470 in SLI is overall good. I do can work with Inventor, CATIA, SW, NX too with my two 5850 in CrossFire, but don't hope to be able to work on big assemblies.
Gaming drivers aren't made for CAD, even if you have more «cuda cores» or «stream units», or if your clock is way higher, it just doesn't do it, and the benchmarks prove it.