Now I'm curious. Is there really a significant increase in performance running OpenGL applications with a FirePro (or Quadro) compared to "normal" consumer cards? I mean, the price difference can be pretty huge. Is the gain worth the price?
Professional series video cards (and their drivers) are super-optimized to render OpenGL graphics programs (CAD, GIS, medical imaging, etc) far better than their consumer-type video card counterparts (which are DirectX optimized). It's simply a matter of need/choice - if most of the software you run is graphically DirectX-based, then a consumer-type video card would work best for you. Likewise if most of the software you work with is graphically OpenGL-based, then a Professional series card might be a better fit.
Since most of the sims I play are OpenGL-based (like FSOpen), I wanted a card that could render OpenGL graphics most efficiently - so I chose a FireGL card instead of the Radeon card. Another reason is I don't play any modern DirectX games that require a super-optimized DirectX video card. The older DirectX games I do play work fine on the FireGL card.
Besides, it sure makes all of those FSOpen graphics look pretty....
EDIT: Both consumer and professional series cards are price competitive - and decent entry-level consumer card (~$100) costs about the same as an entry level pro card (~$100). My mid-level AMD FirePro 3D 4800 w/ 1GB of GDDR5 memory cost $150. And yes, high-end pro cards can be $500+ but so can high-end DirectX cards (seen how much a Radeon 7970 costs?)