Originally Posted by meat01
II really wouldn't consider Maya 3D CAD. The limitations of gaming cards with Pro/E or Solidworks is that when you spin a large model, you may lose some polygons or information. All of this information comes back and is visible when you stop spinning. I am not talking about a lot of information either. I am talking about a hole or feature here and there.
Solidworks and Pro/E are at the mercy of the processor more times than not. If you have a ton of money or your company is paying for it, then by all means go with a Quaddro. If you are paying for it or you want to save money somewhere, I would buy a cheaper graphics card, and spend more on the processor.
As I prefaced my argument: you have to evaluate the graphics card based on what programs you're using. The OP was saying graphics and CAD and such.....so he might well be running an openGL package. Being a medical 3D animator, I have to import and export a lot of CAD and scanned data to animation packages. If you do any architectural design, you might be using OpenGL shaders for raytraced renderers. If you're working in environments that rely a lot on OpenGL, then the Quadro is worth it.
The one card I would say to totally stay clear of is the ATI Fire series: It was supposedly certified to run Maya, but I found out it actually corrupted my 3D files
It seems to have some shading incompatibilities that can lead to corrupted normals info. Maya is also the most tempramental 3D program I run: it can occasionally crash if it has some incompatibility with the card. XSI is another animation package that I'm running now. It doesn't seem to get as unstable with a non-Quadro card. I've found that GeForce cards will run Maya or XSI: it will just be limited in performance and have a few shading/viewport problems.
I'm self employed and try to spend most my money on a good graphics card and processors.....so for me, a Quadro is a good business expense and deduction. Unless you're going for a dual quad core Xeon, I have noticed that prices for decent processors are not bad these days. You can build a decent 3D system for $1500.....or with SLI and the like, you can also go up to $20K just for a PC. Oh, and then if we consider the quad SLI Plex systems...that's just $20k for your graphics