Graphics Cards

AMD Strengthens Foothold in Professional Graphics Market with New ATI FirePro V8800

8 Apr, 2010 By: Nancy Spurling Johnson

New card with ATI Eyefinity multimonitor technology supports up to double the display real estate with 2.6 teraflops of compute performance in a single card.

AMD this week announced its most powerful professional graphics card to date, the ATI FirePro V8800. Incorporating ATI Eyefinity multidisplay and Microsoft DirectX 11 technologies, it is the first in a new family of professional graphics solutions and is available for order immediately from AMD and its partners.

ATI FirePro V8800 graphics card

The top-of-the-line ATI FirePro V8800 professional graphics card
is the first in a new family of solutions to come from AMD.


At a media event at its San Jose, California, headquarters early this month, AMD emphasized the performance/price value of this new card.

The top-of-the-line card delivers 2.6 teraflops of raw computing power with what is said to be the highest memory bandwidth (147.2 GB/s) available in any single-card professional graphics solution more than two times the compute power of the previous generation, AMD reports. But at $1,499, the price of the V8800 is equal to or less than previous high-end models in the FirePro line.

ATI Eyefinity Multidisplay Technology

AMD customers at the media event acknowledged the significant performance gains experienced with this new card but were most impressed with the new ATI Eyefinity multidisplay functionality, which offers as much as twice the screen workspace using a single card. Three- and four-display desktop configurations are possible simply by connecting additional displays to the graphics card.

Multimonitor setups speed CAD workflows by reducing application switching, window sorting, mouse clicking, and scrolling. Support for an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) allows configuration of a single desktop surface across multiple displays. ATI Eyefinity technology works with the ATI FirePro S400 Synchronization Module to enable as many as four displays per graphics card to be synchronized at one time.

AMD customer Steve Kirkham of Kirkham Motorsports explained how he uses a multimonitor setup to increase productivity when simultaneously running SolidWorks, SURFCAM, and webcams that monitor CAM operations on the manufacturing floor. “With the V8800 card, I don’t have to be concerned about using multiple monitors,” he said. “Put in the card — done. Add another monitor — done.”


Support for Industry Standards

Next-generation ATI FirePro professional graphics support leading industry standard application interfaces, including OpenGL, OpenCL, and DirectX 11.

  • Released by the Khronos Group in March, OpenGL 4.0 includes a new tessellation feature that allows applications to amplify geometry, generating tessellated geometry based on incoming vertices and allowing professionals to take a rough object defined by only a few vertices and generate new vertices to smooth out the object and provide more detail. AMD has announced its support for OpenGL through its beta driver for OpenGL 4.0 and 3.3.
  • OpenGL 4.0 also further improves the close interoperability with the OpenCL industry standard for accelerating computationally or visually intensive applications.
  • Next-generation ATI FirePro professional graphics are designed to accelerate OpenCL 1.0. Support for OpenCL 1.0 is available through AMD’s ATI Stream software development kit, which allows developers access to AMD GPU and x86 CPU processors in a workstation or PC.
  • The latest generation of ATI FirePro professional graphics is hardware compliant with Microsoft DirectX 11, and ATI FirePro V8800 is the only professional graphics solution capable of supporting DirectCompute 11 today, AMD reports.

AMD works closely with leading application providers to optimize ATI FirePro professional graphics, and ATI FirePro professional graphics have been certified on more than 90 applications.


AMD Market Strategy

The performance sector within the graphics card market at large is AMD’s “sweet spot,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, AMD Products Group. At the AMD media event, Bergman said the company’s focus is delivering value for the dollar. The new product line with Eyefinity technology puts the company in the “best position that we’ve ever been. [Eyefinity is] a very compelling solution.”


Janet Matsuda, director, workstation graphics, said AMD’s professional line targets users who want a technological edge, reliability, and value — not just in terms of price, but performance as well. “It’s about getting the best that you can afford,” she said.


Early this month, AMD shipped the new ATI FirePro M7820 and M5800 for mid- and high-end mobile workstations. The cards can drive as many as three monitors undocked and as many as five monitors docked.


In the coming months, the company plans to round out its next-generation ATI FirePro family, offering a number of solutions to meet 2D and 3D needs of professionals using CAD, digital content creation (DCC), broadcast, medical imaging, and financial services.

About the Author: Nancy Spurling Johnson

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