Graphic card is one of the main component in system. It is essential for gaming, CAD, video editing, rendering, modelling, visual effects, animation etc. Graphic cards can be classified into two types namely gaming and workstation graphic cards each of which are meant for different usage and applications.
|Workstation Graphic Card vs Gaming Graphic Card|
Difference based on Hardware
Gaming cards and workstation cards are different at chip level and at GPU level. However both gaming and workstation cards may use same GPU. Note that there are difference between the graphic card and GPU. Graphic card is the complete hardware. i.e. the video card. GPU is the processor used in the graphic card. The difference will also be in the RAM technology used. There are special types for RAM like ECC VRAM which are used in workstation cards. These ECC VRAMs are costlier compared to the normal VRAM used in gaming cards.
Difference based on Usage and Applications
Gaming cards are primarily meant for playing high-end games. Applications like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects and some other multimedia applications take advantage of these gaming cards. Graphic cards from Nvidia has proprietary technology CUDA which offers additional improvement in performance when using multimedia software applications in gaming graphic cards. However these multimedia applications perform even more better in workstation graphic cards. Consider for example when using Photoshop in gaming cards. It performance well. But Adobe Photoshop CS6 offers some exclusive features which can be used only by using workstation cards.Workstation cards are meant for using 3D modelling, CAD, visual effects etc. Applications like 3ds Max, Maya etc may run on gaming graphic cards. But the applications completeness can be obtained only by using workstation cards.
Difference based on Performance and Drivers
The games are developed using workstation cards, but the same workstation cards are not good for gaming. Workstation cards are optimized well for modelling, CAD and other professional applications. The optimizations are made through the driver softwares. Similarly drivers of gaming cards are optimized well in delivering performance in gaming. The performance of games are measured in FPS which are high when using gaming cards. Consider we are getting 120FPS in a game with $1000 Geforce GTX 690 which is the current fastest dual GPU card. We will not get this 120FPS with $2000 workstation card. Some of the games may even crash when using workstation cards. It is also the driver software which makes the difference in delivering performance which are application specific.
Difference based on Stability
Stability is another factor which makes the difference. The GPU usage will be maxing out when doing 3D rendering, 3D modelling etc irrespective of using gaming or workstation card. At such times the performance may get lowered when using gaming cards. But this will not be the case for workstation cards. Workstation cards are designed to take more stress for a long time without affecting the performance and stability particularly for professional applications.
Difference based on Price and Support
Workstation cards are heavily priced compared to gaming cards. If you notice workstation cards are 4-5x costlier than gaming cards. We have this huge price difference is due to the support the company or manufacturer offers to the workstation card users. The workstation card users are given special support team for issues regarding drivers, performance and other technical issues. Some companies even offer 24/7 phone support. All these support features will not be offered for gaming card users.
You should go for gaming cards only for gaming and some low-end or entry level multimedia applications. Other than that workstation cards are best.