Conclusion: ATI Leads, NVIDIA and ELSA Show Potential
Technologically speaking, NVIDIA's Quadro4 750XGL offers advantages over ATI's Radeon 8800. The OpenGL segment requires more than just standard drivers, though. In order to attract customers, it is not only important to guarantee great system stability but also to put a lot of effort into the drivers. They must be optimized (and eventually certified) to run on widespread workstation applications such as 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks or Catia.
ELSA and ATI have been persistently striving for certification, albeit without success; after all, we're still dealing with the early stages of the driver. If one of these two were to rush ahead to its large customers, it would cause envy rather than success. Until the product has been launched, ATI and ELSA will still have a bit of time to work on their drivers.
This preview does show, however, that the engineers at ATI Research have been able to get quite a jump with the FireGL 8800 card. ELSA, slightly stricken by the revamping of the company, still has its work cut out in making the drivers pass the qualification procedure with satisfying results. The final verdict has yet to be made. We will review both OpenGL graphics cards again once both companies are ready for showdown.
The ELSA Gloria4 750XGL, based on NVIDIA's Quadro4 750XLG, and ATI's FireGL 8800 with the Radeon 8800 chip, will hit the stores in the next few weeks and retail for approximately $999.