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Nvidia Quadro Plex 1000: Graphics card for Beckham's budget

Check out the Quadro Plex 1000 -- a graphics card that costs a whopping $17,000. Perfect for a footballer who's interested in some gaming one-upmanship

We've all been there: you spot a product that's supposed to be the best of the best, so you tighten your belt, save your cash and splash out. Then you see a rich guy with an even better and more unobtainable version of what you've just spent a year's wages on.

It happens with cars, clothes, spouses -- and it even happens in the world of IT. Here we were, basking in the glory of our £2,000 twin-graphics card Alienware laptop when Nvidia announced a graphics 'card' that retails for a whopping $17,000 (£8,900).

No that's not a typo: the Quadro Plex 1000 costs seventeen thousand dollars, and that's just the base version. According to Nvidia, the card is capable of processing 80 billion pixels per second, which is around four times as much as Nvidia's flagship consumer product -- the GeForce 7950 GX2 card.

The Quadro Plex 1000 comes in three flavours. Model I has two Quadro FX 5500 graphics processing units (GPUs) and one Quadro G-Synch board, Model II has two Quadro FX 4500 X2 GPUs and two Quadro G-synch boards, and Model III has two 5500 GPUs and two Quadro SDI boards.

We're not sure how all that cool tech would benefit the average game, but we're willing to bet you'd be able to taste the beads of sweat forming on Dave Beckham's comely forehead in FIFA 06. If you had two Quadro Plex 1000 cards running simultaneously in an SLI setup, you'd probably be able to tell if they were wearing their lucky matchday pants by the scent alone.

Okay, we should tell you that the Quadro Plex 1000 isn't designed for consumers. It's intended for use by professionals such as digital content creators and 'earth scientists', according to Nvidia. So Joe Public graphics junkies and Martian scientists should probably look elsewhere, unless -- like England's football team -- you've got the money burning a hole in your pocket. -RR