AMD FirePro V8700: High-End Workstation Graphics

AMDs RV770 graphics processor, so well-known for its use in gaming variants of the Radeon HD 4870, is now being used in the companys workstation graphics cards. At the same time, AMD has stepped away from its well-known FireGL brand; the most current professional graphics adapters now carry a FirePro label. Toms Hardware has been lucky enough to score an early production model, the FirePro V8700, for comprehensive benchmarking.

The FirePro boards also mark a complete switchover by AMD from 80 to 55 nanometer manufacturing technology. Buyers should rejoice in that this means reduced power consumption, and correspondingly quieter cooling fans. But can a smaller die size and related technological advancements also improve performance?

Price is certainly a key factor here. At a price of $930 at Newegg, the V8700 is an astounding $284 cheaper than its predecessor, the FireGL V8600. Until this product hit the market, AMDs ATI division had always placed great emphasis on maintaining price-performance ratios across similar products of its own design.

Nvidia has historically been able to outperform similar ATI products at the highest end of its product offerings. These days, Nvidia buyers must be willing to settle for performance parity instead--for example, see our previous article, "Pro Graphics: Seven Cards Compared".

Its not completely clear to us why ATI has suddenly dropped the GL suffix from its Fire brand names, replacing that portion of that name with "Pro" instead. In discussions with product managers at ATI, we were repeatedly informed that "Pro" stands for "Professional" and thus better speaks to the goals of the workstation graphics group. Nevertheless, we believe that it can be risky to mess around with established brand names. Perhaps it makes more sense to see this move as a way of de-emphasizing differences between OpenGL and DirectX technologies? Either way, ATI has decided to switch its branding completely from FireGL to FirePro.



  1. avatarholy

    Pro Graphics: Seven Cards Compared :,1995.html

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