So you are a PC gamer. For years you have known that the NVIDIA GeForce series of Graphics Cards are the go-to for gamers. They are powerful, fast, and significantly cheaper than their Quadro counterparts.
But, you found this thing called Cloud Gaming, and you noticed that many of them are using Quadro Graphics Cards instead of GeForce Cards. Why is this? And does it matter?
Well, we are about to answer those questions for you.
Quadro vs. GeForce
In the grand scheme of things, Quadro cards are designed for workstations and professional work. The Quadro specific drivers are designed to squeeze out as much performance as possible from professional programs like SolidWorks, Maya, AutoCAD, and many other professional software. You will see significantly better performance in these programs with a Quadro card compared to GeForce cards.
On the other hand, GeForce cards are designed for the average consumer who is looking to game. The Game Ready Drivers released for GeForce cards allow for your games to run at the best possible FPS that your Graphics Card can handle.
On a more technical note, both Quadro and GeForce cards are built on the same architectures. However, this does not mean that they are the same cards. Quadro cards have significantly more memory than their GeForce Counterpart.
Let us take the Quadro RTX 5000 vs. the GeForce RTX 2080 Super. Both cards are built on the NVIDIA TU104 architecture; however, the RTX 5000 has 16GB GDDR6 memory compared to the 8GB on the RTX 2080 Super.
For gaming, this jump in memory has little effect, unless you are playing a game that utilizes more than 8GB of graphical memory. But, for professional work, the 16GB of memory that the Quadro card has will outperform the RTX 2080 Super any day!
Affects on Cloud Gaming
If you are using Cloud Gaming platforms like GeForce Now, Google Stadia, or Microsoft xCloud, the type of GPU the platform uses has little meaning. This is because they have infrastructures designed to run the games you are streaming to your device at an optimal framerate for the resolution you are using. Since these platforms are meant for gaming, as long as the game runs well, you probably do not care what hardware is running behind the scenes.
But, for platforms like Shadow that give you access to a fully functional Windows 10 PC with multiple tiers that give you different GPU's, you may ask yourself, why are they using Quadro cards instead of GeForce cards?
This is because of the limitation NVIDIA put in place. GeForce cards are not allowed to be used in a Datacenter style environment, which is what Shadow ultimately is in the background. Thus, they are forced to use Quadro cards.
"But Lucas, if they have to use Quadro cards, my gaming performance will suffer!"
This is both true and incorrect. If you were to game on the GeForce counterpart of the available Quadro GPU's offered in the three Shadow Tiers, you would get about a 5-10% boost in gaming performance.
But, that is insignificant for most games. Getting 120 FPS instead of 134 FPS will not be a huge difference. And likewise for games that run at lower framerates. The difference between 70 FPS and 63FPS is rather insignificant.
Having a Quadro card allows you to use your Shadow for professional-style work like Video Editing, 3D rendering, and more while being able to utilize the extra performance that a Quadro card will give you.
Game Ready Quadro Drivers?
As of relatively recent, Quadro released the Quadro Experience. This program is the Quadro counterpart to the NVIDIA GeForce Experience software that you can use to optimize games with a GeForce card.
Better yet, if you have a Quadro RTX card, you will also have access to gaming optimization, which will give you the same features as that of GeForce Experience. This also implies that NVIDIA knows that some will be using Quadro cards to game, and thus, we may see the difference between Quadro cards and GeForce cards shrink in the future.
Do not let the thought of Quadro cards being worse than GeForce cards for gaming influence your decision on getting into cloud gaming. I have been using Shadow for over a year, and I love it. Being able to game and do professional work on any one of my devices at home is impressive!