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AMD and Nvidia launch new pro-grade GPUs, APUs

AMD and Nvidia launch new pro-grade GPUs, APUs

AMD and Nvidia's dedicated pro-grade GPUs are joined by the former company's first FirePro-certified APU products.

Pro-graphics fans have received some good news this week, as both Nvidia and AMD have outed their latest-generation high-end products for the workstation market - including the first workstation-class accelerated processing units (APUs.)

First, Nvidia's announcement: the Quadro K5000. Based on the latest Kepler GPU, the Quadro K5000 includes 1,536 CUDA cores and 4GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit memory bus. The result, Nvidia claims, is a card capable of pushing 2,150 gigaflops in single-precision mode or 90 gigaflops in double-precision mode. Coupled with support for DVI-I, DVI-D and DisplayPort monitors - with the option to drive up to four independent displays from a single board - the company is clearly hoping to win over pro-graphics types with the two-slot 122W TDP design.

As befits a Kepler board, the Quadro K5000 also includes bindless texture support for referencing over a million in-memory textures with reduced CPU overhead and TXAA anti-aliasing - both features missing from prior Quadro products.

If you were thinking about adding a Quadro board to your next build, however, the price may be something of a stumbling block: while UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, Nvidia has given the Quadro K5000 a US recommended retail price of $2,249 (around £1,440 excluding taxes) ahead of its planned release in October. For those who prefer pre-builds, Nvidia has announced that Maximums systems - combining a Tesla K20 processor with the Quadro K5000 - will be available from the likes of Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo and Supermicro by the end of the year.

AMD's offerings start with a quartet of FirePro boards based on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. The entry point for the new boards is the FirePro W500, a Pitcairn-based system which packs 2GB of GDDR5 on a 256-bit memory bus with a claimed performance of 1,270 gigaflops single-precision or 80 gigaflops double-precision. A single-slit design, the board includes two DisplayPort outputs and a single dual-link DVI port, and boasts a fairly sedate TDP of just 75W.

For those who demand more, the FirePro W7000 doubles the memory to 4GB of GDDR5, boosts performance to 2,430 gigaflops single-precision and 150 gigaflops double-precision, includes four DisplayPort outputs and has a 150W TDP in - again - a single-slot design.

Moving from the Pitcairn boards to the Tahiti boards, things get bulkier: the FirePro W8000 has a 189W TDP and a hefty dual-slot design, but manages 3,230 gigaflops single-precision and 810 gigaflops double-precision. If that's not enough, the top-end FirePro W9000 includes 6GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit memory bus, packs six mini-DisplayPorts and boasts 3,990 gigaflops single-precision and 1,000 gigaflops double-precision performance - but has a massive 274W TDP.

Pricing for AMD's standalone FirePro range starts fairly low, but rapidly ramps up: US RRPs for the range have been given as $599 for the FirePro W5000, $899 for the FirePro W7000, $1,599 for the FirePro W8000 and a whopping $3,999 for the FirePro W9000.

Alongside the standalone FirePro boards came AMD's announcement of two FirePro APU chips. The first, the AMD FirePro A300, boasts a 3.4GHz base clock speed peaking at 4GHz in single-core turbo mode and a 65W TDP, while the AMD FirePro A320 speeds things up with a 3.8GHz base clock and 4.2GHz peak turbo clock in a 100W TDP. Both models include 384 stream processors, running at 760MHz on the A300 and 800MHz on the A320.

AMD is hoping that its FirePro-certified APUs will help end the stigma of on-board graphics for professional purposes, promising full compatibility with even high-end software packages. Better still, the company claims that a FirePro A300 will outperform Nvidia's Quadro 600 entry-level dedicated graphics board.

What AMD isn't currently sharing is the price, stating only that off-the-shelf systems based on the two new FirePro APUs will be appearing some time later this month.

14 Comments

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[USRF]Obiwan 8th August 2012, 12:02 Quote
For that price I can have a quad SLI setup and still have some money in the pocket. Pro or not, it is nothing different from the Gaming variants. So what makes the price difference?
adam_bagpuss 8th August 2012, 13:31 Quote
they are very different from the gaming equivalents as they are totally optimised for the tasks professional rendors, modelling cad uses etc

I bet if you benched a gaming GPU it would come anywhere near these in terms of throughput
Gareth Halfacree 8th August 2012, 13:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adam_bagpuss
I bet if you benched a gaming GPU it would come anywhere near these in terms of throughput
If you're talking raw compute performance, you'd be surprised: the official figures for the Radeon HD 7970 3GB put it at 3,790 gigaflops single-precision and 947 gigaflops double-precision, which compares favourably with the top-end FirePro W9000 6GB's 3,990 gigaflops single-precision and 1,000 gigaflops double-precision figures given the disparity in pricing.

What you're *really* paying for in the FirePro cards is the certification and the drivers, which guarantee accuracy, stability and support for professional software including 3D rendering, CAD and multimedia stuff in a way the consumer-grade cards and drivers do not.
asura 8th August 2012, 14:34 Quote
No idea about current generation cards (I'm not so well healed) but the FX4600 smashes 8800GTS/X in most "professional" applications...

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a258/supermanic/benchmarks/SolidWorks.jpg

this gives you an idea of the differences involved (SM = SoftModded as post 7800 it's not possible to flash geforce to quadro)
mi1ez 8th August 2012, 14:38 Quote
Quote:
Both models include 384 CUDA cores, running at 760MHz on the A300 and 800MHz on the A320.
CUDA cores on an AMD? Sleeping with the enemy?
Gareth Halfacree 8th August 2012, 15:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
CUDA cores on an AMD? Sleeping with the enemy?
Whoopsie - I meant stream processors. That's the danger of mixing AMD and Nvidia in one article - you forget which made-up terminology belongs to which company. Fixed, ta!
MSHunter 8th August 2012, 15:24 Quote
generic term is: Stream Processors

AMD= MAD Cores

Nvidia= CUDA Cores

:D
GuilleAcoustic 8th August 2012, 15:26 Quote
http://www.phoronix.com/data/img/results/amd_v3800_v5800/2.png

Even the entry level V3800 (equivalent to an HD5570 with half bandwidth) smashes the more powerfull HD5770 on CAD software like Maya, 3DS, Pro Engineer, etc.

You're mainly paying for optimized and certified drivers. Pro cards also have 30bits color resolution, quadbuffering and higher level of AA.
schmidtbag 8th August 2012, 15:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mi1ez
Quote:
Both models include 384 CUDA cores, running at 760MHz on the A300 and 800MHz on the A320.
CUDA cores on an AMD? Sleeping with the enemy?

That is interesting, but keep in mind nvidia open-sourced CUDA - I'm sure to them at this point competing against openCL isn't worth their time and effort.

Either way, a workstation APU sounds like a fantastic idea. Switch to the APU when you want to do something workstation related and use a PCI-e 16x slot for gaming purposes. In the workstation graphics world, I've come to notice that (at least as of the last series), the v3900 to v5900 are pretty close in performance and price range. Overclock a v3900 and you MIGHT get close to the v5900. I believe the v5900 is equivelant to a HD5750, and the v3900 is a HD5670. That being said, a workstation APU could really supply some compelling performance. Once you go to v7900 and higher, you get a lot more performance but the price nearly quadruples.

Workstation GPUs as of today seem to be what AMD is best at of all of their product categories. They're overall faster and cheaper than nvidia's.


@ GuilleAcoustic
Haha not only does the v3800 pwn the 5770, but what you just showed is a linux benchmark, and anyone who has tried linux before knows that AMD doesn't pay much attention to linux. Just shows that workstation graphics really do make a difference at times.
GuilleAcoustic 8th August 2012, 15:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag

@ GuilleAcoustic
Haha not only does the v3800 pwn the 5770, but what you just showed is a linux benchmark, and anyone who has tried linux before knows that AMD doesn't pay much attention to linux. Just shows that workstation graphics really do make a difference at times.

I always go to Phoronix when I need Linux benches :D. The APU on the A320 is a little faster than the V3900, could make a very small and interesting Pro rig.

Another interesting bench : W5000 vs V5900 vs Quadro 2000

http://www.tomshw.it/files/2012/08/collezioni/1747/31996_b.jpg
Elton 8th August 2012, 19:52 Quote
You're basically paying for ECC RAM (well on the Teslas now a days), accuracy, error correction, and drivers.

Also support. You pretty much get top notch support for these cards purely because they're so expensive.
fluxtatic 9th August 2012, 07:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
Obiwan]For that price I can have a quad SLI setup and still have some money in the pocket. Pro or not, it is nothing different from the Gaming variants. So what makes the price difference?

Ars Technica has an article today (a review of HP and Dell workstations, in the absence of a new Mac Pro) that has an actually quite decent breakdown of the differences between gaming cards and pro cards. Interestingly, the situation is different on OS X. That is, report that Maya doesn't work on your GTX 680 under Windows, they'll tell you "tough luck, buy a Quadro." Report the same problem on OS X, they file a bug report and fix it. Some small upside of the terrible hardware selection for Mac, I suppose :\

All that said, there's one of you in every thread on these articles - yeah, no kidding you could get a quad-SLI-whatever for the same kind of money - THEY"RE FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES. If I was making a living doing professional graphics work, I wouldn't necessarily bat an eye dropping $4k on a video card. What gets me are the people who drop even $1k on a graphics setup for gaming. Once you get past two-card SLI/XFire, the returns generally get so incremental that all you're really increasing is your e-peen.

But, hey, it's your money - tell me how it works out when you try to pick up chicks at the bar with tales of what a kickass "gaming rig" you've got :P
GuilleAcoustic 9th August 2012, 09:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
If I was making a living doing professional graphics work, I wouldn't necessarily bat an eye dropping $4k on a video card. What gets me are the people who drop even $1k on a graphics setup for gaming. Once you get past two-card SLI/XFire, the returns generally get so incremental that all you're really increasing is your e-peen.

But, hey, it's your money - tell me how it works out when you try to pick up chicks at the bar with tales of what a kickass "gaming rig" you've got :P

.... +rep dude ! That's exactly what I think :)
mclean007 9th August 2012, 12:18 Quote
To pre-empt the hilarious comments that invariably ensue on anything GPU related - will it blend? Will it run Crysis? This will be awesome for folding / bitcoin mining. Blah blah blah.
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