Professional Graphics Cards from AMD
ATI FirePro V3700
We would like to start our discussion of the professional graphics solutions from AMD with FirePro V3700 card. It is currently the cheapest workstation graphics card in AMD’s lineup. Its price is extremely democratic even in gaming terms: you can get a FirePro V3700 for less than $90. However, it is not much more expensive than a gaming Radeon HD 3470, which looks very similar to FirePro V3700 in hardware aspect.
FirePro V3700 is based on RV620 graphics processor and the card itself is equipped with 256 MB of GDDR3 video memory with a 64 bit bus. Although the working frequencies of this professional card are a little higher than those of its gaming relative: 800 MHz for the core and 1900 MHz for the memory. But nevertheless, if we compare the formal specifications, then FirePro V3700 will lose quite significantly to its predecessor - FireGL V3600. You can see the same tendency in the test results: they are overall lower than the results demonstrated by the youngest professional AMD solution in our previous test session.
So, it is important to understand that despite fully-fledged support of DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 3.0 and Shader Model 4.1 as well as certification from the leading CAD/CAM developers, FirePro V3700 accelerator can only offer minimal performance in professional applications. And although FirePro V3700 can perform just as good as top gaming solutions in a numbers of 3D modeling and CAD suites, we tend to consider this graphics accelerator only as the simplest professional option, which you can only go for “out of desperation”.
FirePro V3700 has pretty predictable looks. Its PCB is almost identical to that of the gaming Radeon HD 3470. The differences only pup out on the connector panel: the professional solution offers two Dual-link DVI outs supporting up to 2560x1600 resolutions. Besides, it is equipped with a more efficient copper cooler instead of the aluminum one on the gaming card. It will prevent critical GPU overheating even if the fan fails. However, the cooler only works for the GPU. The memory chips on the back of the PCB do not have any cooling of their own.