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AMD reveals Firepro W8100 workstation graphics card for high-end CAD

Can drive four 4K resolution screens and four teraflops of GPU acceleration for HPC
Mon Jun 23 2014, 13:54
AMD FirePro W8100

AMD HAS UNVEILED a professional graphics card aimed at workstation users, which it claims will bring twice the performance of Nvidia's Quadro K5000 card for the CAD and engineering industries.

Based on AMD's Hawaii GPU architecture, the Firepro W8100 is a "high volume specialist card" for the professional graphics market and will be available from mid July.

"We're delivering an industry leading product focused on media and entertainment professionals, computer aided engineering and the high-end CAD users running Catia and Siemens NX," said Glen Matthews, AMD senior product manager for Firepro.

Mathews added that the most important thing AMD is offering with the Firepro W8100 is increased productivity for those professionals.

"This is all about enabling them to get more work done, helping them to deliver products to market faster and meet those deadlines," he said.

The Firepro W8100 features 2560 of AMD's second generation GCN stream processors clocked at 824MHz, with 8GB of 512-bit GDDR5 memory. It can support up to four high-resolution 4K displays with Displayport 1.2 outputs.

However, it isn't just graphics acceleration that AMD is aiming at with the new card. It sees a growing uptake of GPU compute in many applications, especially around the OpenCL language.

"From a compute standpoint, you had workstation applications and then you had HPC applications, but what has happened now is the emergence of workstation applications, in particular for CAD and media and entertainment, which are adopting [GPU] compute to provide more value to their users," Matthews said.

OpenCL is "now getting enormous traction, with a host of ISVs supporting it, and it is beginning to see traction in the HPC market as well," he added.

Not surprisingly, AMD also claimed a lead with the Firepro W8100, which it said is capable of over 4.0 TFLOPS (trillion floating point operations per second) in single precision mode, and over 2.0 TFLOPS with double precision.

The Firepro W8100 ships with support for OpenCL 1.2, but Open CL 2.0 is coming, AMD said.

AMD showed off benchmark results that indicate the Firepro W8100 is over five times faster than the Nvidia K5000 under the Luxmark v2.0 OpenCL tests, and up to 38 times faster with Sisoft Sandra. However, AMD compared its new FirePro W8100 card against a GPU card that Nvidia released in 2012.

AMD said that the suggested retail price for the FirePro W8100 will be $2,499, or around £1,467, which it said is in line with the competition.

The firm also said the new card will form part of its Ultra Workstation reference model for its system vendor partners.

In April, AMD announced the Firepro W9100 with Open Computing Language (OpenCL) support.

With support for up to 2.62 TFLOPS of GPU compute power and 4K multi-display capabilities, the Firepro W9100 was built for video, design and engineering professionals to allow them to work at "a whole new level of detail, speed, responsiveness and creativity", AMD said. µ


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