As we all know, graphics cards are painfully expensive these days, and I regularly shift through lots of sites trying to find some good deals on GPUs. So imagine my surprise when I saw one for sale on Dell UK with a price tag of £13,866. It wasn't a mistake, it was a genuine graphics card. It's also five years old.
Now, I know what you're thinking and that this has to be some kind of special super specialised card for that kind of money. And you'd be right as it's a Quadro QV100, sporting the full Volta-powered GV100 GPU and 32GB of HBM2 VRAM on a 4096-bits wide memory bus.
This particular model was launched in March 2018, but the Volta lineup kicked off nine months earlier with a couple of Tesla models. Where Quadro cards were aimed at professional content creators and the like, Tesla was aimed at the HPC (high performance computing) market.
All of the old Quadro cards (Nvidia dropped the model name a few years ago) could be used for gaming perfectly well, not that you ever would due to the huge prices.
But in December 2017, Nvidia released the Titan V graphics card and despite the GPU giant's repeated claims that it wasn't for gaming, it got a PC Gamer benchmark shakedown nevertheless. As it so happens, the Titan V was around 13% faster on average, in 4K gaming, than the top dog of that time, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
GV100 cards are still used by a good number of supercomputers around the world, thanks to its decent FP64 throughput and ability to munch through matrix operations on the newly introduced tensor cores.
Since Volta, Nvidia has developed a total of five GPU architectures and an RTX 4090 would eat a Quadro QV100 for lunch in most areas, apart from FP64 calculations. To cover that segment, you could just go with a last-gen A100 40GB card, which you get at Amazon for a mere £7,040. Almost half the price of the Quadro that Dell is trying to sell.
If it wasn't so ridiculously expensive, would that QV100 be worth picking up, just to mess about with? The simple answer is no. Despite having lots of Tensor Cores, none of the Volta GPUs are supported by Nvidia's DLSS API, so what it ultimately comes down to is that it's just a slightly faster GTX 1080 Ti for gaming and something like an RTX 4070 would be a lot better.
The one thing that really puzzles me is the £13,866 price that Dell is asking for the Quadro QV100. Its launch MSRP was $9,000 and while the world seemingly can't get enough of Nvidia's GPUs for AI and HPC, you'd have to be seriously desperate to get this one.