AMD ATI FirePro V8800 Workstation Graphics Card - HotHardware

AMD ATI FirePro V8800 Workstation Graphics Card

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ATI has come on very strong in the consumer graphics space over the last few months. Besides being first to market with DirectX 11 compatible video cards, unleashing Eyefinity technology on to the masses, and expanding their product line up at every meaningful price point, the Red Team also lays claim to the fastest desktop graphics cards in the world, the Radeon HD 5970. With all of the excitement surrounding these new cards for the consumer market, we wondered when professional graphics models would arrive.

For the uninitiated, here's a quick summary. Workstation graphics cards are used by a wide assortment of professionals, such as 3D professionals working in CAD, DCC, broadcast, medical imaging, and financial services. They tend to focus on OpenGL as the API of choice, as the vast majority of applications opt for it rather than Direct3D, the common API for gaming-level graphics on the desktop. Typically, GPU makers perform very little modification to their base GPU for workstation class products. Rather, they unlock improved performance with driver enhancements and workstation application optimization and validation alone. Professional graphics drivers really enable increased performance though highly focused tuning in specific workload and software environments. Also note that workstation cards go through many stages of certifications from application providers to ensure compatibility as well. Mainstream gaming cards simply don’t have to be tested as strenuously, hence the considerable price discrepancy between the two types of cards.

During the summer of 2009, we reviewed ATI's flagship workstation graphics card, the FirePro V8750. At the time, we revealed that it was basically a V8700 with improved memory capabilities. With the launch of the new FirePro V8800 and its new GPU architecture, we expect to see a lot more improvement than just a memory upgrade. As you may have guessed, the V8800 is the workstation equivalent to the Radeon HD 5870. It sports the RV870 GPU with 1600 shader processors, but also offers 2GB GDDR5 memory checking in at 1150MHz. This is the card 3D pros have been anxiously waiting for and its finally ready for prime time. Read on as we take the brand new FirePro V8800 for a spin to see just how fast it really is.


ATI FirePro V8800 Professional Graphics Card





While the majority of the specs speak for themselves, there are a few features we'd like to point out. The FirePro V8800 includes four native DisplayPort outputs, a stereo output, and comes with two DP to DVI adapters. These will come in handy for those lacking DisplayPort monitors. Furthermore, ATI brings Eyefinity technology to the workplace as users will be able to stretch applications across four screens. And we should note that the card requires two 6-pin PCIe power connections from the PSU and consumes about 208W. 

As far as pricing goes, $1499 may seem like a lot to average consumers, but is actually in line with current offerings in the high end workstation videocard space. Last year, the V8750 launched at $1799 and prices for top end professional graphics cards have been trending downward for the past couple of years. Better performance at a lower cost?  Yes, please.

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I agree ATI just keeps producing hit after hit with this new architecture. The price is actually very reasonable compared to Nvidia Quadro line. Power usage was well in line for the performance you get with this card. Also the 4 monitor display will come in handy for those who need a broad display,  I am thinking oil companies looking for reserves as they can now cover more area with this type of setup. Auto CAD employees will be rejoicing when working with this card. Well done ATI you really have outdone yourselves this time around. Like the article states Quadro is no where to be seen as ATI continues to put seperation between them and the competition. Great job again on execution Yes

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I like how you added the 5970 in there just to show that workstation cards and gaming cards can't compare with one another in workstation applications.

Thanks for the review!

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I wonder how Crossfire scaling would be against the V8750?

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Good question, Ralph! We didn't get an opportunity to test with two of these monsters.

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You mean putting two 5970s in Crossfire to see how well it performs against these workstation cards? If Crossfire scaling in games wasn't that great, I don't see how it could be much different in workstation applications. Even if the scaling was 100% (which it won't be), it still can't come near the V8800, let along the V8750. Even if it did achieve 100% scalling, you would be paying a lot of money for two 5970s. Might as well get the V8700 which would probably outperform 2x 5970s and costs much less. Or get the V8750 for around $50 more than 2x 5970s and perform way better.

 

But if you are talking about FirePro cards in Crossfire, I would love to see the scaling of that. I hope it scales better than the gaming cards scales in video games.

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He is most likely talking about the V8800 cards in crossfire :)

I would love to get one of these to try out, it won't be used for my gaming computer (if i had another computer...) as the 5970 performs better for game graphics :).

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YES...YES...YES...!!!!


This is why I love Hot Hardware.  Thank You Mathew, You just saved me 15 Bones, and a whole year of frustration :)


I have spent almost the last four months researching all the new workstation card. I was beginning to wonder when the next line was going to come out. As an ATI supporter, I saw the prices dropping yet no clue when the next versions will arrive.


Nvidia has had their Teslas on their site for almost a year, and we still have not seen them. Or know what they could do. I bet they couldn't even compare to the 5870's. Sorry Nvidia fanboys, but when it comes to WS price/driver support/performance Nvidia cant wipe the underside of my car :P


This is a really great review. I was going to upgrade to the V8700 since the V8750 was not much different from each other. For the home side, I tried a Radeon 4850 at first. and then I found that the rendering performance was sad! It was ok when you are doing the actual modeling in either Max or Maya. But when you start adding higher geometry or even doing a smooth, and piling up the animation on shots longer than 120 frames it really begins to bog down. Also if you are doing CS4/Painter/MS EX work, the Bit processing is kinda lacking when working on full size, multi layered PDS files. Even though it has the same R770 architecture, even after screwing up the system trying to mod it. It wasn't much of an improvement.


When it came to doing the final rendering the game cards just kinda sits there and look at you saying, you want me to do what!  I then switched up to a V3700, and the difference in productivity has been phenomenal. With the Raden the renderer could go for close to half a day if not the full day. Now it is down to about four hours for a 120frame screen with roughly 2mil+ verts.  In order to get all my animation, rendering, video editing and even my Painter work done. I know I need to get something faster, now that after trials and error, you cannot use a gaming card.


It is kinda funny how people get these and complain about not being able to game on them. These are used for making the games, not playing them! Although through my research, just like this review (Which would have saved me from research in the 1st place) I found that the 8K series has pretty good capabilities for gaming.  That was another one of my concerns is the future implementation of DX11. I found that the 8K series are future proof for at least the next two years.


I immediately checked prices and availability. And I could only find one site that carried it. SabrePC(dont know if they are a real company?) seems like the only one for now, I haven't ever heard of them. I didn't notice a release date? Hopefully the Egg will update soon.


I tried your Pricegrabber connection and couldn't find it?

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Thanks for the review, always a good read. Geeked

Just a quick comment on the Unigine section that had this;

"Interestingly enough, the V8800 proved to be the slowest of the group, with an average of only 12.6 FPS during testing."

It's not really surprising, since the V8750 is not doing tessellation (on DX11 no DX10/10.1 version in Unigine), so it's somewhat expected that the V8800 would perform about half as fast as the dual GPU HD597 in an application that doesn't benefit from optimized OGL drivers, and is also slower than the V8750 which isn't doing as much work.

Just  thought you might want to remind people of that reason for the performance drop, which with that in mind, is likely expected.

Thanks again though for another great review. Yes

 

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OK guys,
 
I have looked everywhere and I cant find anyone selling this beast. I have even checked the AMD partners and none of them have it listed.
 
The Egg knows nothing about it. Yet It seems like it has already been released. Do you know anyone who has it in stock?

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After navigating through AMD's website and their partners, it doesn't even look like system integrators like DELL have them yet.

Google shopping comes up with 3 results and I have never bought from those vendors before. Haven't even heard of them. Maybe someone here on the forums has experience/advice on those 3 sellers. Excalibur PC does have 600 seller ratings, if that means anything...

http://www.google.com/products?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=s&hl=en&q=firepro%20v8800&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf

(If link doesn't work, just Google "firepro v8800" and hit the shopping option)

 

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