ATI FirePro V8700
The top representative of the AMD’s professional graphics accelerator lineup is FirePro V8700. This graphics card is based on RV770 chip, which once again indicates that the graphics cards market for 3D modeling and CAD applications is extremely inertial. The latest AMD GPU known as RV790 hasn’t yet found its way into professional graphics solutions. And it is not because of some production issues or something similar: the new equipment certification for designer and engineering systems takes a while to complete. In other words, a professional solution on RV790 will appear, but we don’t know how soon.
Therefore, we let’s focus on FirePro V8700 that definitely is a close relative to Radeon HD 4870. At least, the looks of this graphics solution indicate exactly that: it uses almost the same PCB design as Radeon HD 4870 1GB. Just like other professional AMD solutions, you can only notice the differences between them on the connector panel: instead of two DVI connectors typical of most gaming solutions, FirePro V8700 is equipped with a Dual-link DVI and two new Displayport connectors supporting up to 2560x1600 resolutions. There is a connector for stereoscopic glasses right next to them.
The cooling system on FirePro V8700 differs only by its color. The same dual-slot coolers with exhaust are installed on high-end gaming AMD graphics cards. By the way, although gamers often complain about the noise generated by this cooling system, we have to say that the new flagship professional AMD solution has become much quieter compared to its predecessor – FireGL V8600. However, this is actually not surprising at all: the use of a 55 nm processor has definitely paid off. Nevertheless, FirePro V8700 power consumption didn’t reduce too much, because you still need to use two additional 12V 6-pin power cables. As for AMD, they recommend to use at least 550 W PSU in a system with FirePro V8700.
FirePro V8700 accessories bundle is hardly any different from the bundles of other professional solutions. Besides the card, you also get the drivers, a small booklet and a standard set of three adapters.
As for the formal specifications, FirePro V8700 is not too different from Radeon HD 4870. Its GPU works at 750 MHz and GDDR5 SDRAM works at 3400 MHz effective frequency and supports 256-bit bus. Since FirePro V8700 is the top solution in AMD’s professional graphics cards lineup, it is equipped with 1 GB of video memory.
However, this number is kind of modest in the contemporary professional graphics accelerators market. For example, Nvidia offers graphics solutions with 2 and 4 GB of video memory onboard. That is why it is important to understand that the top professional graphics solution from AMD that is currently selling for about $1000 is, in fact, only a mainstream product. Unfortunately, dual-processor accelerators in the high-end gaming segment do not have any professional analogues. And it means that Nvidia has an excellent opportunity to offer a more diverse product range in the professional segment. So, let’s see how well they managed to exploit this opportunity.