AMD has successfully brought the new GCN architecture to the workstation! We noticed some pretty nice performance gains in the FirePro W8000 and W9000 cards from the previous generation of AMD FirePro graphics cards. The AMD FirePro W9000 is impressive on paper as it has 2048 stream processors running at 975MHz, 6GB of ECC GDDR5 memory at 1375MHz and the ability to drive six monitors! In some benchmarks the AMD FirePro W9000 blew away the previous generation FirePro V8800 video card, but in others it was just a few percent ahead of it. Since the GCN Architecture is brand new to the workstation market, it is highly likely that AMD will be able to improve performance with new drivers down the road. This is of course the normal with any new series launch.
As all professional graphics card users know the key to having a good
workstation card are the drivers and how they work with the applications
you are using. We used the AMD FirePro W8000 & W9000 graphics cards
with AutoCAD 2013 and Maya 2013 and didn’t experience any issues with any work loads. We don’t have access to older software versions, but finding that our on your own is part of the user experience! Obviously, most companies aren’t using the latest and greatest software, so solid drivers are really the key here.
When it comes to pricing the AMD FirePro W9000 professional graphics card is $3,999 and the AMD FirePro W8000 is $1,599. These are of course suggest retail prices, so street pricing might be a little lower once these cards start hitting store shelves later this month. The NVIDIA Quadro 6000 6GB video card retails for $3,450 and is the direct competition for the AMD FirePro W9000. Unfortunately, we were unable to get and NVIDIA Quadro cards in for testing, so we really don’t know how the two brands stack up.
Legit Bottom Line: At the end of the day AMD has brought more power to CAD/CAE and Media & Entertainment professionals. If you are looking to speed up your 3D renderings in order to get visualizations you need when you want them, then take a look at these cards!