updated 08:05 pm EDT, Mon March 30, 2009
NVIDIA Quadro Multi OS SLI
NVIDIA on Monday launched what it considers a sweeping change to its pro graphics with significant re-launches and updates to much of its Quadro line. The FX 3800, 4800 and 5800 now all support a new technique known as multi-OS SLI: in systems with multiple supporting cards, a card can be dedicated to an individual virtual OS in Parallels Workstation Extreme and give it nearly the same performance as if the graphics were native. It can also be used for CUDA or other general-purpose tasks that would normally be off-limits to a virtual machine.
The cards start with the flagship FX 5800, which continues to have 240 visual effects cores and 4GB of memory; the FX 4800 occupies the upper mid-range with 192 cores and 1.5GB of memory, while the FX 3800 uses the same amount of cores but 1GB of memory and reduced bandwidth in return for using up the space of one regular video card. At the mid-range and lower end, the FX 1800, 580 and 380 scale through 64, 32 and 16 cores while scaling memory from 768MB through to 512MB and 256MB respectively.
A lone Quadro NVS update, the 295, tackles many-monitor output. It has just 8 cores and 256MB of memory but has dual DisplayPort outputs that can handle two 30-inch displays, including through DVI when using adapters.
NVIDIA has pricing for the cards scaling from "sub-$100" for the NVS 295 to $3,150 for the FX 5800. Support officially extends to Linux and Windows systems so far.