Those who have been visiting our site for quite a while now have already understood that we primarily focus on the hardware components that would make up a high-performance desktop platform. The reason for that is certainly your, our readers’, interest to this type of hardware in the first place. However the news from the market sometimes force us to deviate a little bit from the main course and pay due attention to less typical but not any less interesting solutions. For example, we started devoting more time to products that are more suitable for professional users rather than hardware enthusiasts. For instance, not so long ago we posted a comparative testing report on the dual-core Intel Xeon and AMD Opteron processors (for details please see our article called Workstation Processors Duel: AMD Opteron against Intel Xeon). The response to this article was so great that we decided not to stop there and continue delivering more information on the expensive high-end hardware for professional applications.
Today we are going to pay special attention to professional graphics accelerators. This test session is extremely interesting because the main competitors in this market are the two well-known names – ATI and Nvidia. They are offering the professional users the specially adapted modifications of their gaming solutions. It is a really interesting question if the situation with professional ATI and Nvidia graphics cards in 3D modeling applications will resemble what we are used to seeing in the gaming world.
Here it is important to keep in mind that the professional graphics cards market is a very tasty morsel for the manufacturers. The thing is that the graphics cards for professional use built from the same component base as the gaming graphics solutions are being sold at a much higher price than the gaming product. The price difference may sometimes be close to 4-5 times, which is no joke already. This mere fact inspires ATI and Nvidia to take active part in development of corresponding professional solutions and promote them into the market alongside with the gaming Radeon and GeForce cards. Creative Company has recently turned into an unwilling stimulant for this development process having announced the reorganization of their 3DLabs division that used to offer the most high-performance solutions for 3D modeling applications.
In our today’s review we are going to introduce to you a new flagship product from the professional 3D modeling graphics card family by ATI. I have to point out right away that it is very unlikely to surprise a sophisticated reader from the architectural standpoint, because it takes quite a bit of time before the professional solution follows the gaming product line-up on the same GPU, so there appears quite a bit of information around about the chip architecture. This time is spent on software (BIOS and drivers) debugging and modification. However, it would be totally unfair towards those guys who work in 3D modeling applications if we didn’t pay due attention to the new professional graphics solution. So, here we go!