Tech Tip: Is it Time to Update Your Video Card?

October 2014

Is it Time to Update Your Video Card? Summit v.7.0 and 7.1 (due out soon) have added some new superimposition “OpenGL shaders” such as vertex marking, fast text rendering, line widths, line mitering, and dashed line styles for ArcGIS and MicroStation. Have you tried them? Can you see them? If not, your video card may be too old.

Example of dashed line and vertex marking shaders in Summit’s superimposition

To display the new OpenGL shaders, your card needs to have OpenGL version 4.0 or higher. You can find the card’s OpenGL version on nVidia’s website. Go to and search for the specifications sheet for your card model. For example, the Quadro FX 3700 and 4800 have OpenGL v.3.0, and this is too old to run modern OpenGL shaders.

Check NVIDIA’s website before purchasing a new video card: If they have upgraded their video line, this is the first place you will see it. When the video cards are upgraded to a new line, they work just like their predecessors, but have more memory and better performance. The price of the new video cards usually stays close to the old model’s price.

Example of nVidia’s Quadro card line (subject to change at any time)

You can also go to NVIDIA’s comparison section to see exactly how the new video cards have improved.

Example of nVidia’s quadro board comparison sheet (subject to change at any time)

If you have any questions about the card you’re considering buying, contact DAT/EM Support for additional advice.

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