Nvidia Quadro K5000 Professional Graphics Card (Part 2)

5/6/2013 9:14:41 AM

Details of Nvidia Quadro K5000

The series of graphics cards based on Kepler has a slightly different structure rather than the others. Typically, a GPU manufacturer concentrates on producing a valuable feature which is the first top-end solution and then launches less advanced modifications. Unlike Kepler architecture, which was first implemented as the GK104 chip, absolutely is not the top-end GPU. The GK110 GPU, the fastest chip based on Kepler, has not been used for any graphics card, but it is used for Tesla K20 and K20X for optimization of its low for its low-level optimization for computations as well as certain issues Nvidia and its manufacturing partner TSMC with mass production as sophisticated chips on 28nm technology process.

Therefore, the Kepler-based graphics cards for gamers and professionals are now sold under the GeForce and Quadro brands using the famous GK104 chip. So far, while there are many different gaming cards based on the GK104, there is only one professional product of that type. It's Quadro K5000.

As an alternate position for the Fermi-based Quadro 5000, Quadro K5000 comes at the suggested price of $2,250, but is actually likely to be found for about $1,800. In other words, the two cards are able to be compared in price.

The GPU version has the same feature as the GeForce 680; the Quadro K5000 can provide much higher performance than the previous top versions. The GK104 chip is fully unlocked incorporating 1536 CUDA cores that run at 706 MHz; and complementing with 4 GB of 5.4GHz GDDR5 memory. The clock rates are significantly lower than the modern top-end gaming cards from Nvidia, making the Quadro K5000 better in energy efficiency. It is economical not only compared to the Kepler-based products but also to professional cards of the previous generations.

The table of Quadro graphics card K5000 specifications

The table of Quadro graphics card K5000 specifications

The relatively low level of power consumption is not only by reducing the clock rates and the lower GPU voltage limit (now 0.975 volts). It is guaranteed by the entire Kepler architecture which is an improvement on the Fermi in energy efficiency. Although the basic structure of the GK104 GPU is not unlike its previous generations. It includes a GigaThread Engine, memory controllers, L2 storage for data and instructions, raster operators, and of course, graphics processing clusters that take responsibility for calculating and structure mapping operations. The GPU version used by the Quadro K5000 has four full features GPCs each of which consists of a raster engine and two streaming multi-processors (SMXs).

GigaThread Engine tool

GigaThread Engine tool

The SMXs take responsibility for most of computing done on the GPU. The computing cores are more emphasized in the Kepler architecture and occupy a larger area of the GPU compared to the rest of the logic, including control logic. Thus, the Kepler can be asserted to have higher computing density than the Fermi, which is good for the professional graphics cards that often apply the same-type instructions to the big array of data.



Each SMX contains 192 CUDA cores, which is six times the number of SMS in the Fermi architecture. Although the overclock scores are at the base clock rate (as before, is more than double), the performance per watt is tripled. Therefore, the Quadro K5000 is not only a fast graphics card. It is also an energy efficient solution compared to other professional products.

In fact, the low power consumption is shown by the outside of the Quadro K5000. While its surface is covered by its cooler, the back side shows a short PCB we know by gaming cards of the GeForce GTX 670 series.

Gaming Card of GeForce GTX 670 series

Gaming Card of GeForce GTX 670 series

The Quadro K5000 is equipped with 4 GB of memory is the difference, and so it uses all available positions for GDDR5 chips. The same with the GeForce GTX 670 is given the meaning that the professional card employs a simple 4-phase GPU power system. It seems that it does not need much more; however, it only has one 6-pin power connector.

Quadro K5000

Quadro K5000


Quadro K5000

Quadro K5000

In other words, reducing the clock rates and voltage of the full-featured GK104 chip even makes the Quadro K5000 more economical than the GeForce GTX 670. It is really an advantage because the professional card not only gets lower temperature, but also makes less noise, even at high loads. The maximum speeds of the default fans were not higher than 1,700 RPM while the GPU never heated above 800C during the trial period. The heatsink fan of the cooler is larger than the one installed on the GeForce GTX 680, this also contributes to efficient cooling. Note that the cooling fan of the Quadro K5000 is a two-sided card slot with a length of 270 millimeters.

Like its gaming Kepler-based counterparts, the Quadro K5000 is fixed with four video outputs: two DisplayPorts, a dual-link DVI-I and a dual-link DVI-D. You can connect it up to four monitors simultaneously; this means that double the amount of monitors supported simultaneously by the professional cards of Nvidia’s previous generations.

Four video outputs of the Quadro K5000

Four video outputs of the Quadro K5000

You are able to additionally increase that number by a Quadro Sync card that helps you combine the video outputs of a few Quadro K5000 cards installed in the same workstation. For instance, a system with four such cards can produce a single image on a "wall" of 16 synchronous screens, and Nvidia’s Mosaic technology will replace the hassle of configuring drivers and other software. The display wall will be determined by the operating system as a display with ultra-high resolution.

Quadro K5000 cards can also be used in parallel with Tesla K10, K20 or K20X computing cards. In this case, Nvidia's Maximus technology will allow you to run the 3D models and CUDA parallel rendering tasks on the same workstation.

Tested configuration and testing methodology

We will check the professional graphics cards in a workstation based on the today’s fastest six-core desktop processor – Intel Core i7-3970X Extreme Edition with the nominal frequency of 3.5 GHz. This platform also uses the mainboard based on the Intel X79 Express and 16 GB of high-speed DDR3-1867 SDRAM.

The Quadro K5000 on Kepler design will compete primarily with the previous generation professional graphics cards from Nvidia on Fermi design - Quadro 5000. Furthermore, to illustrate the performance differences between general purpose and professional graphics accelerators, we also mention one of the leading gaming products with the same architecture as the Quadro K5000.

The tested configuration was shown as follows:

·         Processor: Intel Core Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition (Sandy Bridge-E, 6 cores + HT, 3.3-3.9 GHz, 6 x 256 KB L2, 15 MB L3).

·         Mainboard: ASUS Rampage IV Formula (LGA2011, Intel X79 Express).

·         Memory: 4 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX).

·         Graphics cards: Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB/256-бит GDDR5, 1006/6008 MHz); Nvidia Quadro 5000 (2.5 GB/320-бит GDDR5, 513/3000 MHz); Nvidia Quadro K5000 (4 GB/256-бит GDDR5, 706/5400 MHz).

·         Storage sub-system: Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5).

·         Power supply unit: Corsair AX1200i (80 Plus Platinum, 1200 W).

·         Operating system: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

·         Drivers: Intel Chipset Driver; Intel Management Engine Driver; Intel Rapid Storage Technology; NVIDIA GeForce Driver Release 310; NVIDIA Quadro/Tesla Driver Release 310; NVIDIA 3ds Max Performance Driver 13.00.04.

The tests were done in the 1920x1200 resolution with Vsync disabled. To evaluate this experiment, we used popular CAD and 3D modeling applications and special tests from Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC). The charts below show the increased scores, which means that the higher score represents better performance.

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