The Best Workstation Graphics Card in 2021

Updated on: January 11, 2021

Looking For The Best Workstation Graphics Card? Let Us Help You Out

In recent years, GPU technology has advanced gradually, largely motivated by the demands of gamers seeking the very best in graphical fidelity and framerates. In their own right, GPU's are essentially massively parallel computers, with dedicated BIOS, advanced processing cores, and RAM. As long as a task can be parallelized and written into a format that takes advantage of the strengths of a GPU, the technology can be used to perform a wide variety of tasks much faster than CPUs.

GPUs are coming to the fore in a wide variety of realistic applications from things that make sense for 3D hardware, such as rendering 3D scenes to esoteric uses, including scientific simulation and analyzing large quantities of data searching for patterns. I will run through some of the advanced tasks in this article that GPUs will excel in and make suggestions for professionals who want to conduct processes on a desktop PC that has until recently been preserved by network distributed computing.

What are the workstation graphics?

Specific types of graphics cards that are used in workstations and high-end servers are Professional or Workstation Graphics Cards. These graphics cards pack enormous power and are designed for applications in CAD, CAE, and heavy-duty graphics. They are mainly used to use heavy graphics applications for 3D modeling, 3D rendering, etc. in scientific applications, studios, and work, or to calculate a massive number of graphic calculations.

Workstation Graphics Cards look the same from the outside as normal graphics cards, but their work differs greatly from them. These graphics cards may have the same internal GPU architecture, but they are optimized for professional graphics applications, and some of them may contain additional hardware components or additional complicated graphics processing features. As compared to consumer graphics cards, they are also equipped with larger memory.

As they are tuned for graphics-intensive applications rather than gaming, the drivers for workstation graphics are completely different from gaming graphics cards. Compared with gaming graphics cards, workstation graphics cards are also way too expensive. The price of workstation graphics cards may rise to $5000 or more, while the price of gaming graphics cards may not exceed $1500.

Both NVIDIA and AMD, the leading graphics card companies, offer powerful workstation graphics cards for specific graphics-intensive applications and software.

We have shortlisted few of the best workstation graphics card for you:

EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Ultra

EVGA RTX 2060 KO Ultra

Specifications

  • Memory detail: 6 GB GDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 1680 MHz
  • Real-time ray tracing
  • Hyper-realistic graphics
  • Dual fans

The recently released EVGA revamp of the RTX 2060 was intended to be a simple price drop for the RTX 2060 to cope with the launch of the AMD RX 5600 XT. These GPU's, however, displayed a range of interesting performance anomalies under review.

The explanation was used in the GPU die: the TU 104 GPU die is used by the RTX 2070 and 2070 Super Cards, but certain chips do not make the cut in quality control validation. To reduce the render pipelines down to an RTX 2060 specification, these usable but incomplete chips are 'fused off' and have found their way into EVGA's RTX 2060 KO.

It is obvious, however, that not all of the die has been deactivated, and the 2060 KO performs like the cards for which its processor was intended in some computational tasks. If you plan to do compute-intensive tasks such as rendering in Blender-it will work almost as well as the RTX 2070 super in many situations, this makes it a great value buying at $300-$320.

Of course, it's an RTX 2060 in gaming and will work as such, which is to suggest that it's outstanding at 1080p and more than capable of decent 1440p gaming as long as you don't want to use the RTX features in the handful of games that give them.

The EVGA RTX 2060 KO or KO ultra is the GPU for you if you want a flexible and good value GPU with knockout compute output that punches far above its price tag. Image editing and rendering of completed videos use a GPU and CPU mix, but for the most part, the bias in both editing/preview output and final rendering lies with the CPU.

3D effects and transformations can be accelerated by a capable GPU in terms of GPU in both live view and final render, but the effect is not labeled in use unless you are working with high-resolution video.

The RTX 2060 Super offers a strong combination of cost-effectiveness, 8GB VRAM, and support in the most frequently used video editing packages, though depending on your particular requirements (premiere pro and Davinci resolve). The MSI Ventus GP OC is a low-priced card, but it features a backplate, a robust twin fan cooling solution, and MSI's well-regarded warranty support. In a cost-efficient video production workstation, it can do sterling work.

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Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC

Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC

Specifications

  • Memory: 6GB GDDR6 
  • Dual-fan cooling
  • Supports up to 3 monitors with HDMI 2.0B
  • GPU Tweak II
  • XSplit Gamecaster

A GPU provides a small but noticeable performance boost for most graphic artists working with photographs or 2D design, especially with Adobe suite products that can use CUDA cores to speed up computer-intensive tasks such as transformations.

There is also the consideration that it may allow larger displays and higher refresh rates to go from onboard graphics to a dedicated GPU, as well as a simpler path to multiple display setups that professionals can find beneficial.

However, opting for a high-end GPU is rarely worthwhile, and all entry-level Nvidia GTX cards provide decent value for money and performance as a do-it solution. For visual design, certification is not needed for engineering or other essential design applications, and the Geforce line-up now supports 10-bit displays for ultimate color accuracy (using the studio drivers).

Among the AIB GTX 1660 Super Cards that offer this GPU, we will suggest Asus GeForce GTX 1660 Super OC. For lower temperatures and quieter operation, the compact form factor squeezes in two cooling fans, and it has 3 Displayport sockets that could be critical for a graphic artist with multiple views set up. Zotac concentrated on the efficiency and utility of this card, not on the aesthetics of flashy gamers, making it a sound option for a professional workstation for graphics manipulation.

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GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Super Windforce OC

GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Super Windforce OC

Specifications

  • Aorus exclusive halo fan RGB
  • Windforce 3x cooling system
  • Real-time Ray Tracing
  • Nvidia Turing architecture

In applications such as Blender, 3D rendering can make heavy use of a GPU to minimize scene performance times. With GPU count, Blender performance scales almost linearly. Since 2 RTX 2080 Supers are only just above the cost of a single RTX 2080 Ti, it is a powerful choice to reduce rendering times.

In a professional studio environment where production output needs to be top-notch, RTX 2080 Ti's and Titans offer the possibility of even more VRAM, but these are only likely to be required. The RTX 2080 Ti is the best choice as a single card solution given that 11Gb VRAM is appropriate for the projects in question.

Our advice goes to a pair of RTX 2080 Supers. It's the most efficient and economical way to optimize productivity without breaking the bank. Ensure that Nvlink is also used to minimize the latency of contact between the two GPUs; this can bring an additional performance boost of 5-10%.

Since rendering takes time and the heat load on the case can be serious, this is a rare opportunity where a blower GPU cooler is a good option: the heat is exhausted directly from the GPU from the case, ensuring that the exhaust fans of the case are not overloaded.

The blower design means that neither card will suffer from being starved of cool air because we're stacking 2 GPU's here. Consider using regular axial fan cards in this setup only if you can guarantee that they will get enough airflow.

A strong option is the Gigabyte RTX 2080 Super Windforce, which gives good performance at a low cost. It has a typical 1815 Mhz boost clock, but we would expect to see much higher actual usage, and under heavy load, the air throughput can prevent thermal throttling. A great option for SLI and the creation by 2020 of the ultimate workstation.

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HP Quadro P2000 Graphic Card

HP Quadro P2000 Graphic Card

Specifications

  • Pascal Architecture
  • 160-Bit Memory Interface
  • 5GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • Supports CUDA, OpenCL, and Other APIs
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 Interface
  • Active Fansink Cooler

CAD, and Autodesk specifically, is a GPU workload that is slightly oddball. Although Nvidia's GTX or RTX architecture cards from Pascal or Turing give a good performance, they are not Autodesk approved. That means that your entire problem is technical problems or driver instability. It also means that project performance is not approved, and when essential components are being designed, that is not suitable in industrial and manufacturing environments.

  • That's why we're looking at the Nvidia Quadro set here. These GPUs are manufactured by PNY and are Autodesk approved, which means full technical support as well as better performance.
  • In CAD basic functions, even entry-level Quadros outperform high-end market RTX cards.
  • With 24Gb VRAM and deep four-figure price tags, Quadro cards range from the P2000 to monstrous RTX Turing-based vehicles.
  • However, the P2000 will be comprehensive, sporting 5 Gb VRAM and lightweight single-slot GPU architecture for almost all Autocad work.
  • A CAD workstation also gains more from a solid CPU, so in most cases, the cost-effective $450 P2000 is a wise option.
  • There's only one model available that considerably simplifies matters. This is the go-to GPU for you if you're building a workstation and realize that your needs are modest.
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ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Turbo

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Specifications

  • Memory: 11GB GDDR6 352-bit memory
  • Boost Clock: 1560 MHz 
  • Gpu Tweak II
  • 8mm dual-ball Bearing fans
  • Supports up-to 4 monitors

In recent years, machine learning has come to the fore, having moved out of the realms of dedicated supercomputers and into the affordable consumer hardware ATX form factor. Machine learning is a distributed workload that means it will gladly consume as much GPU as you can afford to throw at the problem and as many. This means a realistic limit of 4 GPUs for most single-box solutions.

  • Although Titan V and Titan RTX cards give supreme single card performance, they are cost-prohibitive, which means they will be outperformed for the money by consumer RTX 2080 Ti.
  • Two Titan RTX's but four RTX 2080 Ti with spare change for the Power Supply will get you $5,000 to run them all, and this is a wise starting point to determine your machine learning needs and decide whether you want to scale with extra GPU's.
  • Machine learning takes up the entire time and long sessions of the GPU, so returning to 'turbo' type coolers makes sense to ensure the exhaust air is not recirculated.
  • Considering the RTX 2080 Ti has a TDP of around 280W, if you opt for regular cooling in even a large case, it is entirely possible to build a 1Kw hot box!

Asus simply called the 'Turbo', produces the most cost-effective RTX 2080 Ti Turbo model. It's available on Amazon at $1149, making it one of this flagship card's cheapest versions. This GPU is the way forward because we don't care about aesthetics, video outputs, or anything but buying as many cores as possible.

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NVIDIA Quadro 600

NVIDIA Quadro K600

Specifications

  • Memory Bandwidth: 25.6 GB/s
  • Memory Interface: 128-bit
  • Memory: 1 GB DDR3
  • Display Connectors: DVI-DL + DP

This is the cheapest graphics card for low profile entry-level workstations that you can get on the market. Don't be fooled by its size, because this card is quite powerful and you can run 3D CAD design software like Solidworks pretty well. For small to mid-level servers, this card is also suitable.

  • This small professional graphics card is based on the Kepler GPU architecture and comes with 1 GB of DDR3 memory.
  • This card is capable but is not really intended for 4k displays and at lower resolutions, it will do fine.
  • It has a single slot design and can fit in cases with a slender or low profile. The card supports Nvidia Mosaic, a multi-display technology from Nvidia.
  • So, this is one of the best options available today if you are looking for a small and budget workstation card.
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Nvidia Quadro K620

Nvidia Quadro K620

Specifications

  • Triple Lightning Gen 4
  • On-board 2.5G LAN
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Audio Boost HD technology

This is a graphics card with a lower midrange profile workstation that is more powerful than the Quadro K420. This card is almost identical to the K420 but has a slightly larger fan. With 384 CUDA cores, Quadro K620 comes with 192 more than present in K420 and makes it twice as strong as K420.

  • This workstation card is sufficiently powerful to run Revit CAD applications and supports 4k displays.
  • The 2GB DDR3 VRAM card comes with a lower power consumption of 45 Watts.
  • This is a great low profile workstation card that is affordable and sufficient for a workstation on a budget desktop.
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AMD FirePro W7000 4GB GDDR5

AMD FirePro W7000 4GB GDDR5

Specifications

  • Memory: 4GB GDDR5
  • Memory Interface: 256-bit
  • RAMDAC: 400 MHz
  • Max. Resolution: 4096 x 2160
  • Bus: PCI-Express 3.0 x16

This is a powerful professional graphics card with a low midrange profile from AMD. 512 Stream Processors and 4 GB of GDDR5 memory come with it. Four monitors are supported by AMD FirePro W7000, a 4k ready card. This card is in terms of features and performance, very similar to the Nvidia Quadro K1200. The card has a single slot design and operates very silently. For small to medium workstation PCs and servers, it's a perfect low profile graphics card.

  • The AMD FirePro W7000 supports a 4k display and can simultaneously run up to four monitors.
  • Support for DirectGMA (Direct Graphics Memory Access), resulting in higher performance and lower latencies, is another great feature of this card.
  • So if you want a powerful graphics card for a low profile workstation, then this one is really worth testing.
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AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition

AMD Radeon Vega Frontier Edition

Specifications

  • 16GB 2048-Bit HBM2
  • Boost Clock: 1600 MHz
  • OpenCL 2.0 Support
  • 4096 Stream Processing Units
  • 10-bit Color, Dual-Slot

A versatile AMD workstation graphics card based on the new Vega GPU architecture is the Radeon Vega Frontier Version. For professional use, this is one of the most powerful graphics cards. This graphics card has 13.1 TFLOPS performance of FP32, which is even better than Nvidia Quadro P6000 which has 12 TFLOPS maximum performance.

  • The Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is a powerhouse with 64 Compute Units (nCU), 4096 Stream Processors, and 16 GB HBM2 memory (HBC) with a bus/interface width of 2048 bits.
  • A whopping 483 GB/s is the total memory bandwidth provided here. The maximum power consumption of this card for the liquid-cooled variant is 300 Watts (air-cooled) and 375 Watts. 850W or higher is the PSU requirement for this card.
  • This is a dual graphics slot card and the PSU requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
  • Three DisplayPorts and one HDMI port are included as networking options.
  • Windows 7, Windows 10, and Linux (64-bit operating systems are supported by this workstation graphics card.
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NVIDIA Titan RTX

NVIDIA Titan RTX

Specifications

  • Memory: 24GB ofGDDR6
  • Boost Clock: 1770 MHz
  • 72 RT cores
  • Memory bandwidth: 672 GB/s

Quadro cards used to be at the top for graphical-based applications, but with the launch of the Titan of the RTX series, the tables have turned, because this gaming card is literally a magnificent rendering GPU. We compared it with the Quadro RTX 6000 for comparison sake and it totally crushed it in timings.

  • Even now the greatest myth is that the Quadro cards in the graphical application are stronger, but when it comes to rendering, the ray-tracing cores have just turned the game in favor of the standard GPUs.
  • With its GDDR6 and 24 GB of memory, the Titan RTX GDDR6 offers the maximum bandwidth available for data processing.
  • You get the very best card for both worlds, gaming, and 3D rendering with the 4608 NVIDIA CUDA cores that are clocked at 1770MHz boost clock along with the 72 ray-tracing cores for some absolutely brilliant light reflection in rendering work, along with 576 Tensor cores for AI applications.
  • Put this card under any workload and we are certain it can pull it off well, if not better, than all the cars built for this job out there. This card specifically excels at machine learning and AI, so you won't find a better card out there for those who are looking for a card for AI growth.
  • This card will actually support 8K video editing for video editing tasks and we have actually tried 4K video editing and compared it to the Quadro RTX 6000, this card doesn't know how to lose, it's pure crazy.
  • The Titan series of cards is known for its power-hungry design, it has a 280 Watts TDP, so you better have a heavy power supply to sustain it. One thing though this card consumed a lot of power.
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Quadro RTX 6000

Quadro RTX 6000

Specifications

  • Memory: 24 GB GDDR6
  • 16.0 TFLOPS single precision
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Memory bandwidth: 624 GB/Sec

Looking at the nomenclature of the new Nvidia Quadro cards capable of ray-tracing, it seems obvious that the Quadro RTX 6000 is not the most powerful GPU for Nvidia workstations to date. The Quadro RTX 8000 will be that. A closer analysis shows, however, that the Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 8000 are the exact GPUs at their heart. They also work at the same clock speeds, have the same amount of CUDA cores, and performance across the board is identical.

However, the one important difference between the two is that the Quadro RTX 8000 has twice the amount of memory. A whopping 48GB of GDDR6 memory makes it highly future-proof and capable for the near future of handling just any complex, memory-intensive rendering task.

  • Some, however, consider the 48 RAM gigs a little excessive, unless you work at NASA (in which case you wouldn't be looking for the best online workstation GPUs).
  • It is a challenge to get any application to consume even half of that volume, regardless of what you throw at it for the most part.
  • That for the vast majority of workstation users, in combination with the ludicrous $10,000+ price of the Quadro RTX 8000, renders it as good as non-existent.
  • For the Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000, the same can't be said.
  • Don't make a mistake: the Quadro RTX 6000 is not cheap at all. It comes at only a slightly higher price, however than the highly capable Pascal-based Quadro P6000, which was the best workstation graphics card money to buy not too long ago.
  • You're having a big improvement in output for the additional $300 odd you'd have to pay for the Quadro RTX 6000.
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XFX Radeon RX Vega

XFX Radeon RX Vega

Specifications

  • Memory: 8GB HBM2
  • Boost clock: 1546Mhz
  • Core Clock: 1247Mhz
  • VR premium ready

The Vega Graphics Card sequence has been polarising. Undoubtedly, in the form of HBM2 technology, they are powerful and use advanced and more reliable memory, but that also adds to their cost. In addition, Vega graphics cards are known for running loud and hot.

  • AMD has cut the prices of their Radeon Vega 56 and 64 cards with the launch of the Nvidia 1600 series graphics cards in the past few months to deliver stronger mid-high range competition. Obviously, the target market is gamers, but these price cuts can also greatly help workstation builders.
  • By no way is the Radeon Vega 64 a slouch. For gamers, it is a good 1440p graphics card, but it also has the surprising potential for users of workstations, particularly CAD implementations.
  • In reality, it manages to largely outperform AMD's flagship workstation GPU, the Radeon Pro WX 8200, in some programs like 3DS Max, Maya, and CATIA.
  • The Vega 64 also dramatically annihilates all competition with some of the fastest rendering times out there on the Blender benchmark.

Of course, that doesn't mean that in any rendering test, the Vega 64 will kill the competition. In reality, there are many renderers on the market that are tuned to take exclusive advantage of Nvidia's CUDA core technology, and using an AMD card (let alone the Vega 64) in such cases is pointless given how it will pale compared to even the most obsolete Quadro GPUs.

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Quadro RTX 4000

Quadro RTX 4000

Specifications

  • Memory: 8 GB DDR6
  • Memory Interface: 256-bit
  • TDP: 160 Watts
  • Memory bandwidth: 416GB/Sec

The Quadro RTX 4000 is currently considered a low-level performer in the Nvidia RTX lineup of ray tracing capable workstation graphics cards. It seems less like a workstation GPU and more like a mid to high-end gaming graphics card because of the 8 GB of GDDR6 RAM and the average single-precision TFLOPs on paper.

  • Yet the design and efficiency underlying it tells the opposite story. The Quadro RTX 4000 is a workstation graphics card that is extremely powerful and deserves serious consideration from serious professionals.
  • The RTX 4000 annihilates the previous generation Quadro P6000 in several benchmarks, such as LuxMark, Arion, and CAD programs like SolidWorks.
  • A look at the new pricing scheme reveals that it still costs about $4,000 and above for the Quadro P6000.
  • Given this huge difference, it is obvious that the RTX 4000 provides substantially better value for most non-GPU memory-intensive tasks, with the added benefit of ray tracing, which is missing in the older generation of Quadro cards. The powerhouse of the single-slot form factor is capable of deep learning and advanced shading, taking little or no room in your system all the while.
  • The output is much better than what you would expect from a "lower-end" Quadro graphics card, especially when considering the huge gap in the previous generation between the Quadro P6000 and P4000.
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Summary

This was a quick guide to help you grab your hands on the best product. Though the experts recommend shopping for the Quadro P6000. The Quadro P6000, of course, is not inferior to any workstation-based workload out there.

There are several workloads in which the P6000 will perform better, particularly when memory capacity becomes significantly necessary for higher resolution rendering and encoding tasks. All you need to do is to place the order for the same and enjoy the best experience.

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