AMD ATI FirePro Round-up: V7800, V4800, V3800

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We'd like to cover a few final data points before bringing this article to a close. Throughout all of our benchmarking and testing, we monitored how much power our test system was consuming using a power meter. Our goal was to give you an idea as to how much power each configuration used while idling and under a heavy workload. Please keep in mind that we were testing total system power consumption at the outlet here, not just the power being drawn by the graphics cards alone.

Power Consumption
Lower Numbers Are Better

A quick look at power consumption reveals no surprises. As you would expect, the V7800 consumed more power than the entry level V4800 and V3800 cards. At 342W fully loaded, the V7800 used about 12% less power than the top of the line V8800, while idle power was about the same at 241W.   

All three cards in our roundup feature single-slot coolers with relatively small fans. During our testing, noise levels remained reasonable and we did not notice a big difference during idle and load conditions.

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Good Review!
This review came out the same day that I received a reply from AMD towards my concerns on their marketing of these new cards. Lets just say it was very disingenuous!
These are good workstation cards. The question you must ask yourself is what is the primary tasks you require of these GPU's? Since Hot Hardware has given you a good overview of the performance of each card when coupled with the V8800 review. I will tend to address a few of the more work related issues compared to cost effectiveness.

When looking at your budget and system build. that will determine which card will meet your requirements. If you are looking for a workstation card for primarily Photoshop or Painter. Then  the V3800 and V4800 will more than suffice. Yet if you are going to professionally output images to 600dpi for print purposes, I would suggest minimum the V4800. If you are going to use these mainly for video editing or Graphic production then having the V4800 or V7800 will fit nicely, depending on your budget.
If 3D is going to be the primary use, then the entire system comes into question.  Any of these cards are going to give you a significant boost in performance. Even over the last generation of cards from both ATI and Nvidia. The first issue is that this is the generation of cards that uses Direct X11. Since 3D Max relies on this as its primary driver, having the latest version is always a plus. Yet, Max also relies upon a good processor and lots of RAM! So if Max is going to be your primary platform, then you need to adjust your budget accordingly. If you have an unlimited budget? Then yes, go for two V8800's in crossfire mode with 128GB RAM and two Xenon six cores! Within Maya these cards really fly. So it comes down to what the quality of rendering you are aiming for. Of course it is always good to have the ability to render out ultra realistic images with HDRI images.
Beyond these cards having twice the performance of their predecessors, it is the processors driver ability that make them essential is you want them to be useful from this day on.  If ATI sticks with their usual release schedule, then I am sure we will be seeing what will be the Fire Pro V8850 before the end of the year. But they probably wont release it until they feel they have all the sales they can get from this current lineup. Or until the day after you receive one of these!The V8850 will most likely be a 4GB card with the same specifications as the V8800 and might even be twice the price. This will probably be their answer to the Nvidia Quadro 5800, and be close to the same price. After AMD's response to my concerns, I look back and think I should have gone with Nvidia at twice the price, at least then I would have known that they would not release a similar card at half the price, only a few weeks later.
Any DCC concerns will be answered with dedicated workstation cards such as these. The performance increase will be instantly noticeable. Just within Photoshop an painter, I have noticed that the Wacom operates more like a real brush and your brush strokes are more natural in speed and creation. For 3D, the final render times have gone from hours down to minutes. Which will ultimately save you months of final production times! If Budget is a main concern like it was for me. then in conclusion, the FirePro V7800 is the one to get. That way you can get another later and crossfire them to get 4GBs, which will end in a similar setup, if you were to wait for the V8850, at roughly the same price. The only difference is in the stream processors. So unless you are doing scientific modeling that requires high computational accuracy or advanced particle effects, save yourself that six hundred dollars. With that you can upgrade your CPU and RAM, so the entire system can demonstrate the full capabilities of a good dedicated workstation card.

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