NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 review

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Back in the year 2009, NVIDIA released the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 GPU, an interestingly powerful GPU. Like any other NVIDIA Quadro graphics card, it was never really intended for hardcore gaming. Instead, Quadro graphics cards were always leaning more towards the development end of gaming. A lot of the GPUs specs also lean heavily towards it being a workstation more than a gaming machine.

Despite that, when the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 was put to the test in gaming benchmarks, it still did surprisingly well. This wasn’t really prevalent with Quadro GPUs back in the day, and even now it still isn’t all that common. But, despite this, it still wasn’t a hugely celebrated GPU, thanks to a high launch price tag that floated around the $899 mark.

Fast forward 14 years later, and now gamers are rediscovering the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800. Nowadays the GPU is dirt cheap, but surprisingly, some of its specs do hold up in theory. This leads to the question, is the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 valid in some more budget builds? Could it be better than using integrated graphics cards? That’s what we hope to answer in our full review!

Specifications  of the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800

Released in 2009, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 is internally known as the NVIDIA G100GL GPU. It’s built on a 55nm process node, which is fairly outdated but still usable these days. The chip only supports DirectX 10, which means some modern games may not work with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800, but for the most part things should run fine.

Over on this inside of the chip, NVIDIA has paired  1GB GDDR3 memory with the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800, which are connected using a 256-bit memory interface. With 51.2GB/s memory bandwidth, it’s fast, though the power draw on it is also quite intense, needing 108W of power. All of this helps out with its 192 CUDA cores, which rounds out the general internals spec list.

The NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 GPU connects to your motherboard through a 1×6-pin PCIe power connector. It features two DisplayPorts, as well as one DLDVI outpit. It’s overall a fairly satisfactory package for a workstation GPU from 2009, though these days it’s a bit lacking on paper. Of course, for a 14 year GPU to even somewhat compete with anything modern is a surprise, but what’s its actual performance like?

Performance of the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800

Now once again, it’s important to stress that the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 is a workstation GPU, and not really a gaming GPU. It’s mainly intended for 3D development and rendering more than it is for gaming. With that said, it actually does manage to perform decently when it comes to gaming. It’s almost surprising considering the price of the GPU these days.

While it’s not going to be able to play any newer generation games at even medium graphics, it does play a lot of games well on low. If you have an incredibly budget friendly rig that plays at lower resolutions, then the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 GPU’s performance suddenly becomes a lot more attractive, managing to hit a stable 50 to 60 frames per second.

When it comes to cooling, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 features a single-slot cooling configuration that actually works to blow heat back towards the center of your PC. It’s a bizarre take on a cooling system, considering most PCs try to blow hot air out of its system. Despite this, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 managed to keep its temps stable throughout all tests.

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800

When it comes to 3D rendering however, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 actually performs relatively well. Keep in mind that it’s still not going to compete with any modern day workstation GPU of course. The technological gap is simply too wide. But, with that aside, you get a GPU that’s half decent at rendering graphics, so there’s some benefit to it definitely.

We also imagine that over longer stretches of time, the GPUs heat build-up will get worse as it continuously blows air into your PC. Once again however, we stress that this device does not have poor performance, it’s just not up to snuff with what the industry offers these days. On it’s own, its serviceable enough, just not stellar or all that good in any noticeable way.

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 alternatives

When it comes to alternatives, the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 really doesn’t have any. Even back when the GPU launched, it occupied a fascinating niche in the market. It wasn’t as expensive as other workstation GPUs, making the Quadro FX 3800 kind of the default for any 3D artists on a budget. Nowadays, most workstation GPUs are still really expensive, so there’s still nothing to compare it with.

If it comes to just gaming performance, there are quite a few older AMD and NVIDIA GPUs that are better at around the same price. But workstation GPUs are still quite rare in general, and the Quadro FX 3800 is one of the easier options to find at a budget. It definitely has it’s niche for sure, and you’re not going to find much of anything to replace it.

NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 conclusion

There aren’t exactly a lot of GPUs that fill the same niche that the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800. While it’s undeniably not up to snuff with a lot of the newer, modern GPUs on the market, it also doesn’t compete with them much in the first place. This unique aspect is what gives the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 value, even 14 year after its original release.

Now, we don’t necessarily recommend buying the NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 if possible. It’s not a great performing GPU by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s really more of a compromise where it’s one of your only options at its price range. But, if you really do need a GPU that does what the Quadro FX 3800 does, and you don’t have the budget to spare, then it does its job well.

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