AMD FirePro W8000, W9000 Challenge Nvidia's Quadro

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Test Setup, SpecViewPerf

We tested all of our cards using an Asus P8Z77-V motherboard with 16GB of DDR3-1333 and a Core i7-3770K processor. Windows 7 64-bit was installed and we fully patched the OS before beginning our analysis. All of the applications we tested were patched to the most recent versions available, as far as Service Packs and other updates are concerned.

Our three FirePro test cards

We tested AMD's new FirePro W8000 and W9000, as shown above, as well as an older V7900. Our Nvidia cards were a Quadro 6000 and 4000. Due to time constraints, we weren't able to test every card in every scenario. We've got more than enough information to take an overview of the competitive situation between the two companies, however.

All of our benchmarks were run with Vsync disabled. When we consulted SPEC, we were told that the organization takes no official position, and that AMD tends to test with Vsync off, while Nvidia tests with Vsync on.

SPECViewPerf 11 (64-bit):

We begin with SpecViewPerf 11. SpecViewPerf is described as "a portable OpenGL performance benchmark program written in C.. Viewsets differ from SPECapc benchmarks in that they exercise only the graphics functionality of the application. This enables direct performance comparisons of graphics hardware. Since SPECviewperf does not require an application software license to run, it is accessible to a wider range of users than SPECapc benchmarks. It is also easier to use and runs faster than SPECapc benchmarks."

We've broken the various SPEC tests into several graphics to make them easier to parse. We begin with catia-03 (Computer Aided-Three-dimensional Application) and the scientific visualization program ensight-04.

This isn't the sort of start we'd hoped for. The FirePro W9000 and W8000 are a clear improvement on the V7900, but the Quadro 6000 still leads in ensight-04. Catia-03 performance is terrible; the W9000, at $4000, is just barely half the speed of the Quadro 4000 at $650. The fact that all three AMD cards top out at 27 FPS seems to point to an application or driver issue -- and it's not the only one, as we'll see.

Lightwave and Maya are both 3D modeling programs, and here the new FirePro cards are on slightly better ground. The new GPUs manage to more-or-less match the Quadro 4000's performance in Maya and best it in Lightwave, but Maya again shows virtually no performance difference between the W9000, W8000, and V7900.

The program is clearly capable of executing faster, as the gap between the Quadro 4000 and Quadro 6000 shows.

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