When doing research for a new graphics card, mainstream users might come across a professional workstation-class video card and wonder what all the fuss is about. On the surface, one must look at the enormous price differences and question the justification when technically the hardware used to build the cards is very similar. But those that use workstation GPUs know that these products carry the driver support for specific 3D rendering programs that mainstream video cards do not. While they both accomplish the same basic tasks of processing commands and rendering images on a display, workstation cards are for engineering, digital content creation, and scientific modeling applications--not gaming. And as such, their target audiences are very different.
Late last year, we reviewed AMD's flagship FirePro workstation graphics card, the V8700. It was the first professional video card based on the RV770 graphics processor and it impressed us with its performance and relative affordability. Half a year later, AMD has released a new ultra high end product that promises to pick up where the V8700 left off. The FirePro V8750 sports the same RV770 GPU and 800 shader processors, but offers improved memory performance by way of 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 900MHz, which offers 115GB/s of peak bandwidth.
AMD FirePro V8700
AMD FirePro V8750
Comparing the new AMD FirePro V8750 card to the previous generation V8700, not very much has changed in the grand scheme of things. But the improvements in memory speed and capacity immediately stand out. AMD had doubled the amount of GDDR5 memory from 1GB to 2GB and raised its frequency from 850MHz to 900MHz. We also see a bandwidth bump from 108GB/s to 115GB/s as a result.
The FirePro V8750 includes two native DisplayPort outputs, one DVI connector, a stereo output, and customized drivers to accelerate 3D modeling applications. But these features also carry a hefty price tag. The FirePro V8750 sells for $1,799 which is about three times the cost of the most expensive dual-GPU gaming card. Lets take a closer look at what all this money gets you.