Pros Amazing performance. A must when using Maya, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other graphics creation packages for pro work. Great integration with Windows 7. CS4/CS5 have specific hooks to accelerate function using cards like these.
Cons Definitely not for the average user. Great for workstation use, lousy for games. Expensive.
Summary I use a big desktop to create 3D animation at film resolution, edit huge long form videos, and generally use my box for a lot of high end content creation. For these purposes, the nVidia Quadro series of cards are a must have. Particularly in programs like Autodesk Maya, your average game graphics card simply doesn?t have the guts and specialized graphics needed for such work. The Quadros range from pretty cheap to insanely expensive. Some top out at nearly $3000. For the average guy like me, who can?t casually toss out $20,000 for a workstation, the Quadro FX1800 offers the best combination of price/performance I have seen out there. It is a PCI Express card that comes with 768 megabytes of onboard RAM, and cost me about $450.00. it can display a maximum of 2560x1600. Once I had everything up and running, the effect on my software quickly became very obvious. I could rotate even huge models in Maya?s perspective windows without shudder or lag. Photoshop filters performed much faster and you could move big images around with ease. After Effects generated previews noticeably faster. In short, all my graphics software, particularly the most recent versions, were noticeably improved. One of the coolest features of nVidia?s approach is their support for custom display settings for individual programs. There are dozens of defaults for most popular graphics packages, and the controls allow for a lot of extra tweaking as well. These profiles load automatically when you launch the programs.
The Quadros are definitely not for the average user. There?s no point in spending extra money on one if you are just buying a normal home computer, are just dabbling a bit with Photoshop, or especially if you are a heavy gamer. The Quadros aren?t designed to play games, that?s what you buy a gForce for. They provide a standard I can?t find any information as to whether you can hook up two FX1800s through SLI. The card has one DVI and two digital display outputs, which means that you?re out of luck if you are using older monitors and want a dual display.
In summary, if you are looking for a great game card to play Doom 7, the Quadro FX1800 is a lousy choice. But if you are doing serious graphics work, then it?s the best bang for the buck I know of.