The FireGL V8600 Board
The FireGL V8600 not only shares the same raw specifications as the FireGL V8650, it also shares the exact same PCB design. The FireGL V8600 is a carbon copy of the V8650, which is certainly not surprising given everything we know about the card thus far. The V8600 is a tank – it’s heavy duty and built to handle enterprise-level computing environments which may have less than desirable thermal challenges. When you pick up this card, you know you’re dealing with some serious hardware. Simply put, it means business.
FireGL V8600 - Bottom Angle
FireGL V8600 - Top Angle
Like its bigger brother, the FireGL V8600 is based on a full-length PCB design, meaning it will only fit in Extended ATX class cases. Normal ATX cases don’t have a chance of fitting this card, as it extends well beyond the length of a standard ATX motherboard. Even in huge EATX cases, like the Coolermaster Stacker, the FireGL V8600 card will just barely fit in place – if you’re considering this card you really have to make sure it will fit in your chassis. In addition to chassis requirements, the board also requires both 8-pin and 6-pin PCI Express power adapters, as the card pulls an estimated 220+ watts of power under full load. That's well beyond what most standard quad-core CPU's consume - if that's any indication of how much power we're dealing with here.
The ATI R600 GPU under the hood runs at 686 MHz, which is a bit lower than ATI’s gaming-targeted cards based on this GPU which run at 750 MHz+ in most cases. The R600 GPU is based on 80nm manufacturing process, and produces quite a lot of heat when running at full speed. The GPU clock speed does not appear to vary between full loads and idling, as every time we pinged the GPU, it was running at full 686 MHz clock speed. Power outlet friendly, it is not – but potential buyers of this card likely won’t put much thought into this aspect.
The board is based on a first generation PCI Express x16 design, and does not support PCI Express 2.0 speeds like NVIDIA’s competing QuadroFX 3700 card. The card also does not support multi-GPU connectivity like NVIDIA’s workstation products with SLI, even though the FireGL V8600 does have a pair of Crossfire 2.0 compatible connectors on top. ATI does not support Crossfire on their FireGL lineup yet, and there is no way to enable this on the driver level. However, lack of multi-GPU connectivity is a much less serious problem for the workstation market, as this is not a heavily requested feature in this type of environment.
The FireGL V8600 does support Genlock/Framelock daugherboards boards, which the competing QuadroFX 3700 does not. The market for those who need such a feature is small indeed, but it does show where ATI is targeting this card – at the ultra-high-end professional. This card certainly isn’t toned down in order to reach greater market penetration – this is the full feature set you’re getting on the V8650 card as well. The FireGL V8600 card also comes with two dual-link DVI ports and a 3-pin stereoscopic output port.
Dual Link DVI and Stereoscopic Outputs