AMD FirePro V3900: Pro Performance, Bargain Price

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3DS Max 2011

Even gamers and general enthusiasts have likely heard of 3ds Max, it's the 800 lb gorilla on the 3D rendering block. We tested both cards using the newest edition of the SPECapc test for 3ds Max 2011. Unlike the other benchmarks in this review, which are available for free, the 3ds Max benchmark is available in two editions. The Personal version contains a subset of the Professional version's tests and sells for $20; the Professional Edition contains 58 tests, including large-scale benchmarks designed to stress even top-end workstations, and runs $495.

3ds Max 2011
3D Rendering and Animation
We tested the Professional Edition of the benchmark -- with one caveat. Both of our AMD cards threw errors if we ran the very first test (Test020 - Building City). Strangely, that particular test would run perfectly -- it was later tests that would fail and crash the benchmark. We contacted AMD and were told that the company is aware of the issue but can't offer a solution at this time. Our results, therefore, are included without the Large Scale CPU results that would normally be generated.

There's several interesting trends to remark on here. The V3900 roars ahead in the large model GPU and GPU shaders benchmark. The V3800's low memory bandwidth is the likely culprit; that GPU was choked on a 64-bit bus; the V3900 doubles the bit-rate to 128. Modeling performance increases by 45.5%, while Interactive graphics is a modest 12.2% faster. The arithmetic average performance improvement for the V3900 over the V3800 is 26%.

The Radeon HD 6870 beats the professional cards handily until it comes to manipulating large models via GPU. At that point, performance craters.

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