AMD Radeon Pro Duo Benchmarked And Tested

Radeon Pro Duo Recap, Test Setup, Pro Graphics Quick Take

Update - 10/27/16: AMD Radeon Technologies Group recently announced their new Radeon Pro series graphics cards based on the company's Polaris GPU architecture. This is the same technology in the Apple's new MacBook Pro 13 and 15-inch notebooks that were announced today. 

The following coverage here on the pages ahead is of AMD's Radeon Pro Duo, a high performance desktop and workstation class graphics card...  

Radeon Pro Duo 5

AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG) has been teasing the product we will be presenting performance metrics for in the pages ahead, for almost year now. A dual-Fiji powered Radeon card was brought out on display by AMD's CEO Lisa Hsu last June, though at the time, no name had been designated for the card. Then last month, in a joint announcement with Crytek and the company's VR First initiative, AMD unveiled the 16 TFLOP Radeon Pro Duo at its Capsaicin event at GDC 2016 for the first time. There was significant build-up for this card, and rightfully so, with the potential for it to be the fastest single-board graphics card on the market, at least for a period of time.

As you might imagine, we were more than a little surprised when AMD informed us they wouldn't be sampling the card to members of the Tech press. The company had its reasons, which we won't speculate on, but will offer again the statement that AMD made, which is that the Radeon Pro Duo is a graphics card for “gamers who create, and creators who game." Quite frankly that sounded a LOT like many of us here at HotHardware. After all, we render, transcode, build and create lots of content for various platforms both web, video and otherwise. We are indeed that exact demographic of creators who game. The Radeon Pro Duo would surely be in good hands with us, so we thought, but that was not in AMD's plan. And so we set out to obtain a card through the other channels we have at our disposal here, because we thought it was important for you the reader to see what it was made of performance-wise, and what AMD had been so proud of showing off for the last 11 months or so.

Since we covered the tech specs, features, design and build quality of the Radeon Pro Duo here in our launch preview, we won't rehash that again here, but instead urge you to check that coverage out as a refresher if you need it. In terms of the basic speeds and feeds, however, here's a quick glance at how the Radeon Pro Duo fits in AMD's current high-end product stack...
AMD Radeon Pro Duo
Specifications & Features
In short, you can think of a Radeon Pro Duo as dual Radeon Nanos on a single PCB, but with a self-contained water cooling solution that is both very quiet and effective. In fact, during all of our heavy-duty game and graphics testing that follows, the card never broke a sweat and was extremely quiet and well-behaved.

We should note, however, that because we only had a card on hand for a couple of days, that we were unable to perform our usual power consumption load testing, though at 375W TDP, you can bet it's a beast in that regard and your PSU needs to be up to its tri-8-pin PCIe power connector required task.

And with that all said, let's get on with some numbers...

How We Configured Our Test Systems:

We tested the graphics cards in this article on an ASUS X99 chipset based motherboard powered by an Intel Core i7-5960X octal-core processor and 16GB of Corsair DDR4 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" default settings and disable any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's X.M.P. profile was enabled to ensure optimal memory performance and the solid state drive was then formatted and Windows 10 Professional x64 was installed and fully updated. When the installation was complete, we installed all of the drivers, games, and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests.

Crimson Pro Duo
AMD Crimson Driver For Radeon Pro Duo

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered
Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-5960X
(3GHz, Octa-Core)
ASUS X99 Motherboard
(Intel X99 Chipset)

Radeon Pro Duo 8GB
Radeon R9 Nano 4GB
3 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB
NVIDIA Quadro M6000 12GB

16GB Corsair DDR4-2133
Intel SSD 750
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network
Relevant Software:
Windows 10 Pro x64 (10586)
AMD Radeon Crimson v16.4.2
AMD FirePro Workstation Driver v15.301.2401
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v364.72
NVIDIA Quadro ODE Drivers v363.13

Benchmarks Used:
3DMark "Fire Strike"
MIddle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor
Metro Last Light
Far Cry Primal
Hit Man Absolution
SPECViewperf 12
Radeon Pro Duo 4

LuxMark And SPECViewperf
OpenCL Accelerated 3D Rendering And Pro Graphics Benchmarks
LuxMark is a OpenCL cross-platform benchmark tool that has become a popular Open CL-accelerated 3D rendering benchmark. Its a tool based on the open source LuxRender physically-based spectral rendering engine that accurately models the transportation of light and supports high dynamic range. LuxRender features a number of material types to allow rendering of photo-realistic and artistic scenes. LuxRender is free software licensed under the GPL and offers plugins for packages like Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D and 3DS Max.

Luxmark 625px
Radeon Pro Duo Luxmark
This test is somewhat similar to Cinema 4D's Cinebench, which harnesses the power of the CPU to render a 3D scene with various lighting and reflection effects. With LuxMark, however, OpenCL and the GPU are used.  Side note: we actually fired up Cinebench R15 and R11.5 to see if we could test the Radeon Pro Duo with its OpenGL test, but unfortunately Cinebench would not start on our test system with the card installed.

We should note that, in this test and the following SPECviewperf testing, we exclusively used AMD FirePro and NVIDIA Quadro pro workstation drivers for testing, since these are pro workstation and content creation type applications and benchmarks. Regardless, here you can see that the Radeon Pro Duo offers excellent performance, almost two times that of a single GeForce GTX 980 Ti card or a single NVIDIA Quadro M6000. Of note here is that the Quadro card's 12GB GDDR5 frame buffer offers no advantage but rather GPU compute throughput is being measured more so than anything else.

SPECviewPerf 12 is the latest version of the venerable SPEC benchmark. The entire test suite has been overhauled for this version, including a new extensible architecture that's designed to make SVP easier to customize and adapt for a variety of workloads. The test now includes new medical and energy datasets, updates classic viewsets, and includes a new test for the Autodesk Showcase application. notes: "SPECviewperf 12 measures the 3D graphics performance of systems running under the OpenGL and Direct X application programming interfaces. The benchmark’s workloads, called viewsets, represent graphics content and behavior from actual applications."

SpecViewPerf includes a variety of tests, so we've chopped them up to make the results easier to read. These tests are true workstation CAD, rendering and modeling tests.
 Radeon Pro Duo SPECViewperf

Radeon Pro Duo SPECViewperf 1
Here we see a very different picture of the Radeon Pro Duo which is out-classed in all tests except for the Autodesk Showcase, Catia, and Siemens NX tests. In Siemens NX (snx-02) the Pro Duo actually offers 2X the performance of a pair of GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards. However, in that same test, when you enabled the same base Maxwell GPU in a single GPU powered Quadro M6000, with pro graphics optimized drivers, you can see that a truly optimized driver and hardware stack for pro graphics applications will lay to waste consumer or "pro-sumer" configurations.

So, on one hand the Radeon Pro Duo offers serious rendering horsepower for content creation workloads, but it's not a "big iron" type workstation card either. Rather, the Pro Duo is something in between, at least for now. But never mind this "workstation" stuff, we know you want look at the Pro Duo's gaming chops.

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