Nvidia, meanwhile, has been largely idle. The company's high-end parts, the Quadro 4000, 5000, and 6000, are all based on the original Fermi architecture. By moving first with a new architecture, AMD has (at least hypothetically) stolen a march on its competition.
That's important, for a pretty fundamental reason.
The professional GPU market is only a fraction of discrete GPU unit sales volume, but commands a disproportionately large section of total dGPU revenue. This graph neatly captures why enthusiasts and consumers should care about AMD's professional graphics business. With a four year profit margin of just 5.1%, it's imperative that AMD begin to turn a higher profit from its graphics unit if it's going to keep up with Nvidia or invest significant funds into OpenCL or other optimizations for current software.
The new W9000 and W8000 cards we're reviewing today are replacements for AMD's nearly two-year-old FirePro 3D V9800 and V8800.
Memory bandwidth has increased by 80% and double-precision floating point performance is up to 1TFlop. On paper, these cards appear to be dynamite.