The Radeon Pro W6400 GPU:
A Kickstart for AMD in Mainstream CAD Computing?
AMD's competitive positioning in the market for discrete workstation GPUs looking to improve, but beware a third supplier.
Robust competition in any market is a good thing. It keeps suppliers on their toes, applying constant pressure to build the best possible products with the shortest lead times and most aggressive prices. Customers benefit, and in the context of CAD workstations, that means both end-users and the OEMs that select and bargain for the best hardware components to outfit those systems.
While certainly preferable to a monopoly, a duopoly isn’t necessarily a whole lot better. That goes double when one dominates to the extent that NVIDIA does today over AMD in the market for workstation-caliber GPUs serving professional visual computing markets like CAD. The former has become a virtual monopoly, while the latter has hung on in the marketplace for several years commanding single-digit market share, though each refresh of its Radeon Pro line an opportunity to reset that status quo.
With a price tag suited to the widest breadth of the CAD base, AMD’s new Radeon Pro W6400 is the tool the company’s hoping can kickstart some renewed headway. If AMD can finally find that elusive tailwind, and should an aspiring new suitor joining the field in 2022 gain a meaningful foothold, the CAD community may be seeing a market transition from a de facto monopoly in discrete workstation GPUs to a more competitive three-way rivalry.
The Radeon Pro W6000 family from AMD with the new W6400 GPU.
(Image source AMD)
The Radeon Pro W6400: RDNA2 Dives Down the Price Curve
With a sub $300 sales price to fit the budget of virtually any CAD professional, the W6400 targets the highest-volume sweet spot of the professional marketplace. The W6400 is the third Radeon Pro SKU built from AMD’s most recent GPU architecture, RDNA2, covered previously here and here. Following the norm for most new technology rollouts, RDNA2 for workstations arrived first at the upper end of the market, with the ultra-high end Radeon Pro W6800 selling for around $2,250 and the mid-range Radeon Pro W6600 priced around $649. While the W6800’s price limits its appeal to only the upper-most fringe of the market, the W6600 slots into the more accessible mid-range of the market. But as expected, the W6600 did not mark the low point for RDNA2-based Radeon Pro pricing. While the W6600 presented a more accessible RDNA2 class GPU for AEC and product design types to consider, the new sub $300 W6400 pushes the door wide open.
Find out how the Radeon Pro W6400 performs and measures up against other GPUs, plus what we should see soon from Intel. Read more >>
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