Workstation Computer News And Product Reviews

Workstations enable high performance computing for a multitude of use cases, from content creation to scientific computing, industrial design and more. Workstations are no compromise, high reliability type systems that are purposed-built to get work done and create amazing things with all-digital tools.

It didn't take AMD long to respond to the release of NVIDIA's new line of Quadro workstation-class graphics cards. The new flagship FirePro V9800 we'll be showing you here is the latest ultra high end professional graphics card from AMD, and competes in the same space as the 6000 and 5000 models from NVIDIA. It replaces the V8800 as the flagship model of the FirePro line, and targets professionals who require the highest levels of performance and connectivity, with plenty of onboard memory and support for multiple displays. In case you were wondering, the ATI brand still exists. Radeon and FirePro cards like the V9800 continue to wear the ATI badge, but as we confirmed recently, change is... Read more...
Not long ago, we reviewed the entire FirePro workstation graphics card lineup from ATI. With the V8800, our testing revealed considerable performance gains over the previous generation V8750, coupled with a lower price point. Surely, that's a combination that consumers can appreciate, especially for those looking to upgrade sooner, rather than later. But, at the time, the market was not yet settled as we anxiously awaited a response to ATI's FirePro products from NVIDIA. Thankfully, the wait is over as the launch of a new series of professional graphics cards from NVIDIA based on the company's Fermi architecture has just arrived.    Three new models arrive today to bolster the... Read more...
Two short months ago, we evaluated the FirePro V8800 the current king of ATI's workstation graphics card line-up, which replaced the V8750 as the flagship FirePro model. Unfortunately, we were unable to test it alongside any NVIDIA workstation cards for comparison purposes. At the time, we were handcuffed by two unfortunate circumstances. One was the fact that we no longer had Quadro FX cards available for re-testing, and our newly upgraded test bed prohibited us from using previous data for comparison. But also because there wasn't a current generation Quadro FX model available to compete against the V8800. And as of the release of this article, there still isn't.... Read more...
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,... Read more...
IBM has been a name synonymous with computers and technology for nearly 30 years. That point alone leaves little doubt as to why Lenovo moved to acquire IBM’s Personal Computing Division in 2004. When the acquisition was finalized in 2005, Lenovo instantly became a global PC leader. Over the past four years, Lenovo has worked hard to become a household name. With slick product lines, like the IdeaPad, ThinkPad and the IdeaCentre, that goal is gradually becoming a reality. One place where Lenovo probably hasn’t had to work quite as hard at making inroads, is the corporate environment. As IBM began phasing out its products, its business customers found a natural replacement in Lenovo, especially... Read more...
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... Read more...
Adobe, the software development powerhouse behind Photoshop, Premiere, and dozens of other content creation suites, has finally embraced the power of the GPU. Amazingly, until Adobe's CS4 suite of graphics software came out this year, the company which has nearly built their empire on graphics related software, relied entirely on the system's CPU for processing. Despite major advances in the performance and infrastructure which surrounds the GPU market, Adobe's software was never written to take advantage of the newer programmable hardware. No matter how fast of a graphics card you had, nothing would make Adobe software run faster than higher clocked processors, more... Read more...
Synopsis:  The Lenovo ThinkPad W700ds is a rather unique product, targeted squarely at mobile professionals who require the power, features, and performance of workstation-class machine on the go. We previously evaluated the standard ThinkPad W700 and praised the system for its performance and stand-out integrated features, like a Wacom Digitizer Tablet and X-Rite Color Calibrator. The ThinkPad W700ds takes all of the features offered by the W700 and ads a secondary, slide-out display, which increases monitor real-estate by 39%.The machine we received for evaluation was outfitted with 4GB of RAM, a 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9300, an NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 1GB GPU, and dual Hitachi hard... Read more...
While NVIDIA has released a number of new graphics cards for the gaming market over the last year and a half, we have seen relatively few updates to their workstation lineup in that same timeframe. It's been since mid-2007 that we saw the last major performance update to the QuadroFX lineup with the launch of their flagship QuadroFX 5600. While the monstrous G80 GPU-based QuadroFX 5600 has no doubt had competition since its release, it's been able to effectively hold off competing ATI products to reign as the performance champ throughout this last year and a half or so. Early in 2008, NVIDIA released the QuadroFX 3700 board priced at the more cost-conscious (only $1,700) high-end workstation... Read more...
ATI has spent much of the last decade producing the FireGL line of high-end workstation graphics cards, regularly challenging and often times besting competing products from Nvidia's Quadro lineup. ATI's last generation of FireGL products, which we covered heavily, were excellent all around performers. It certainly wasn't perfect (a bit too loud, a bit too expensive), but was definitely solid improvements over the generation of FireGL cards which preceded it. Now in late 2008, we're seeing ATI / AMD's first moves to eventually kill off the long-known FireGL brand. Its replacement? The ATI FirePro.ATI has yet to introduce top to bottom FirePro-class products to replace the... Read more...
When you think of a high-powered graphics workstation, the first thing which typically comes to mind is a huge, bulky tower chassis, packed to the brim with multiple processors, high-end graphics cards, and multiple hard disks. For the most part, this assumption is still fairly accurate, as these are the components which designers and artists usually require, and they aren't available anywhere else. Thus, artists have more or less been chained to their desks and their big, perfectly calibrated monitors. This isn't to say that there aren't options for the mobile workstation user, however, they have never really been up to par with what you could accomplish with a full tower. Almost every... Read more...
ATI has been particularly aggressive with their FireGL workstation graphics card lineup over the past six months. While their flagship R600-architecture was the basis for the solid (but ultimately underwhelming) Radeon HD2900XT release for the gaming market, our tests have shown that this particular GPU architecture actually is much more competitive in the workstation market. While the R600 may not be the best choice for a high-end gaming rig, it is indeed a powerful chip for high-end OpenGL work, and as such, has led to a revival of sorts for ATI’s FireGL lineup. With an excellent performing workstation GPU in tow, ATI finally took the steps to get their latest generation of FireGL cards out... Read more...
Earlier this year, we conducted a series of reports on both the high-end and mid-range workstation graphics card markets with a range of comparative tests. In our prior tests, we found performance to be exceptionally close between comparatively priced products from AMD/ATI’s and NVIDIA’s high-end and mid-range cards. NVIDIA is typically stronger on the high-end, whereas ATI’s cards are winning in the mid-range; it was pretty cut and dry.  However, once you start pricing these cards out, you’ll soon realize that there is a huge, gaping hole in the price spectrums of each respective competitive product offering. ATI and NVIDIA sell their high-end (V8650/5600) cards for... Read more...
As gamers and hardware enthusiasts, it’s easy to get jaded by Extreme Edition processors and multi-card CrossFire configurations. They push performance full-bore. And although you’ll never hear AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA recommending against using their enthusiast offerings in higher-end configurations, there’s no denying that Xeons, Opterons, Quadros, and FireGLs belong to a different pedigree. It’s The Hamptons versus South Beach. You can’t go wrong either way, but there is a distinct difference. So when it comes time to pass judgment over workstation-class hardware, you might be tempted to turn your nose up at a list of stuffy-sounding specs. A quad-core Xeon running at under 2 GHz? Two gigs... Read more...
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