When you are designing a workstation product, you’re not designing what your engineers want, but rather what the customer will buy. Workstation market is much more conservative than consumer one, and a lot of design changes have to be made in order to accomodate this, still much smaller market.
Currently, the biggest headache in the workstation world is 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems. While the FX community already went for 64-bit operating system, a lot of organizations are resisting to change and remain in the 32-bit world with its applications and broad compatibility.
This was a big challenge for both ATI and Nvidia, who went out with 2GB or 2GB+ parts (FireGL V8650 and upcoming Quadro FX5800 come to mind) and saw that they had to reshape the drives in order to work perfectly with 32-bit applications.
This is also the reason why Quadro CX and the upcoming 4800/5800 line-up feature a model geared to 32-bit and a model geared towards 64-bit users. If you want all the latest and greatest that 64-bit world can offer you, you will go for the Quadro FX 5800. If you need broadest compatibility, you will go with the CX/4800, and the problem is solved.
Thus, CX/4800 will be nothing else but a souped up GTX260 cards with 1536 MB of memory, while the FX5800 will be that monster with 4GB of memory.
All in all, I have to agree with Tim Sweeney when he announced his disappointment with Microsoft Vista – we had the ideal chance to bring 64-bit operating system to life and get rid of this duality that only drives application engineers to the ground. I guess we’ll have to wait for Windows 7 to finally wave goodbye to graphics cards that can’t have 2GB of memory or more…