graphics card reccomendations?

Hi OF folks,

I’m trying to pick out a graphics card for an interactive installation I’m going to do with OF. There will be three projectors (1024 x 768 each) connected to a Matrox triplehead2go box. For reasons beyond my control I have to do this on a PC under XP, but most of my experience is Mac/Linux. So, my knowledge of card/driver issues under XP is lacking.

The app will be rendering a bunch of moving 3D models, (some with textures) and rendering up to two movies on different projectors at the same time. Interactive frame rates are more important than pixel perfect accuracy, though I would like smooth, antialiased rendering.

My last experience doing something like this with a PC, the graphics card (an XFX GeForce gaming card) overheated consistently, causing the display to show a very pretty shade of blue, instead of my app.

Searching the forums and googling around suggest that Nvidia is the way to go over ATI. Given my past experience with GeForce I was thinking of trying a Quadro card instead, hoping they would be more stable and have more reliable cooling. But it seems the firmware on these cards favors accuracy over speed, which is probably not what I want.

So my question: Can anyone recommend a stable, reliable card that you have had good luck with or you think might be a good fit for this application?

Thanks for your help!


I’d go with nvidia, they have better open gl drivers on windows. I had problems with ATI-cards and my opengl code in the past. Use one with a lot of onboard memory so you can get FSAA on your full context.

We used consumer-ware nvidias (7300gt and now 8600gt) and we had no problems with overheating.


nvidia more stable, i’m using 8600gt without any trouble.

I’d recommend staying away from the quadro series. A lot of extra cash for no features which are going to be useful for you in any way. Nvidia make the chipset on a GeForce, not the actual card, so if you’ve had heating problems with a previous Geforce, it would be the manufacturer’s fault (XFX) not the Nvidia GeForce chipset - though XFX are a decent gaming card manufacturer so that is a bit weird, maybe it could be the air circulation in the case? Or just bad luck. Last time I was on PC (2 years ago) I was using a very heavily overclocked BFG 7800GT in a shuttle, and had no heating issues. I don’t know the current state of drivers on PC, but just wanted to point out quadro would be unnecessary (unless you need things like SDI out etc.!)


Dont use these INTEL GMA onboard graphic cards 950 or X4100HD on PC. They have very very poor OPENGL drivers and cant enable Vertical sync - heavy image tearing. On mac its ok


A while back I did 5 screens, (2 x TripleHead2Go with one “monitor” to spare) on one GeForce 8800, no overheating issues or anything like that.

I was rendering mostly a bunch of textures in 2D though (saved video loops), so I wasn’t pushing the card terribly.

I haven’t used an ATI card for a while, but one great feature of the NVIDIA cards is that you can set it to combine all the monitors into one big one, it’ll make your programming easier.

Definitely go for a gaming card, skip the Quadro and FireGL or whatever ATI’s ones are called.


I´ve always worked with nVidia cards. I recently got a GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) and I´m very happy with its OpenGL performance.

Thanks for all of the replies… very helpful info! Sounds like I will go with Nvidia GeForce. My overheating experience with the XFX card was indeed in a fairly crowded case. (slightly larger than a shuttle)

I’m still trying to pick out an exact card, but on the issue of thermal dissipation I found the following interesting link:,2122-6.html

It tells you how much each of the cards dissipates at idle vs. full blast.