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Workstation card - Radeon HD 7990 vs. FirePro W7000

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
August 15, 2013 11:00:47 AM

I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.

More about : workstation card radeon 7990 firepro w7000

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a b À AMD
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August 15, 2013 11:16:45 AM

Zanduz said:
I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.


The HD 7990 is actually two 7970s glued together on a single PCB. Although it is physically a single card, it has two GPUs on it and they will function independently. For gaming, this means that Crossfire must be supported and enabled. For professional work, this means that one of the GPUs will almost always be idle.

However, a 7990 may be useful in environments which support OpenCL/DirectCompute acceleration. You would have to assess this on a case by case basis with the professional software that you use.
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August 15, 2013 11:22:28 AM

Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.


The HD 7990 is actually two 7970s glued together on a single PCB. Although it is physically a single card, it has two GPUs on it and they will function independently. For gaming, this means that Crossfire must be supported and enabled. For professional work, this means that one of the GPUs will almost always be idle.

However, a 7990 may be useful in environments which support OpenCL/DirectCompute acceleration. You would have to assess this on a case by case basis with the professional software that you use.


So you´re basically saying that at 7990 is no better than a 7970 for professional work?
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a b À AMD
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August 15, 2013 12:11:20 PM

Zanduz said:
Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.


The HD 7990 is actually two 7970s glued together on a single PCB. Although it is physically a single card, it has two GPUs on it and they will function independently. For gaming, this means that Crossfire must be supported and enabled. For professional work, this means that one of the GPUs will almost always be idle.

However, a 7990 may be useful in environments which support OpenCL/DirectCompute acceleration. You would have to assess this on a case by case basis with the professional software that you use.


So you´re basically saying that at 7990 is no better than a 7970 for professional work?


The best thing that you could get for professional work is a W9000, which is the workstation version of the 7970 itself. However, AMD does not place as many restrictions on the capabilities of their desktop cards as NVidia does, so the 7970 will often suffice in place of a W9000 for most uses. Hardware rendering for modeling applications through OpenGL/Direct3D will improve accordingly (though this will not necessarily improve rendering operations that are not OpenGL/Direct3D accelerated, such as ray tracing).

A 7990 would only benefit professional compute workloads where the workload is DirectCompute/OpenCL accelerated. For example, Sony Vegas Pro 12 supports OpenCL acceleration for encoding video to h264; using a Radeon, FirePro, or Quadro graphics card will significantly reduce encoding time. Furthermore, it would only benefit professional workloads more than a 7970 where the application supports more than one OpenCL/DirectCompute device.
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August 15, 2013 12:49:02 PM

Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.


The HD 7990 is actually two 7970s glued together on a single PCB. Although it is physically a single card, it has two GPUs on it and they will function independently. For gaming, this means that Crossfire must be supported and enabled. For professional work, this means that one of the GPUs will almost always be idle.

However, a 7990 may be useful in environments which support OpenCL/DirectCompute acceleration. You would have to assess this on a case by case basis with the professional software that you use.


So you´re basically saying that at 7990 is no better than a 7970 for professional work?


The best thing that you could get for professional work is a W9000, which is the workstation version of the 7970 itself. However, AMD does not place as many restrictions on the capabilities of their desktop cards as NVidia does, so the 7970 will often suffice in place of a W9000 for most uses. Hardware rendering for modeling applications through OpenGL/Direct3D will improve accordingly (though this will not necessarily improve rendering operations that are not OpenGL/Direct3D accelerated, such as ray tracing).

A 7990 would only benefit professional compute workloads where the workload is DirectCompute/OpenCL accelerated. For example, Sony Vegas Pro 12 supports OpenCL acceleration for encoding video to h264; using a Radeon, FirePro, or Quadro graphics card will significantly reduce encoding time. Furthermore, it would only benefit professional workloads more than a 7970 where the application supports more than one OpenCL/DirectCompute device.


And do you know if Sony Vegas Pro 12 supports more than one OpenCL/DirectCompute device? If so, I assume the 7990 would be a better card for the job than the W7000?
If not, should I consider the 7970 as an upgrade, hence it being quite similar to the W9000 which is a better card than the W7000?
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a b À AMD
a c 133 U Graphics card
August 15, 2013 4:54:36 PM

Zanduz said:
Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
Pinhedd said:
Zanduz said:
I currently have a workstation with an i7-3930k and a Firepro W7000. However i have read a bit about the new Radeon HD 7990 and was wondering wether the 7990 would be an upgrade or downgrade performance-wise. Note that i do not use the card for gaming at all, only professional work in programs such as Sony Vegas and Photoshop.
Thanks in advance.


The HD 7990 is actually two 7970s glued together on a single PCB. Although it is physically a single card, it has two GPUs on it and they will function independently. For gaming, this means that Crossfire must be supported and enabled. For professional work, this means that one of the GPUs will almost always be idle.

However, a 7990 may be useful in environments which support OpenCL/DirectCompute acceleration. You would have to assess this on a case by case basis with the professional software that you use.


So you´re basically saying that at 7990 is no better than a 7970 for professional work?


The best thing that you could get for professional work is a W9000, which is the workstation version of the 7970 itself. However, AMD does not place as many restrictions on the capabilities of their desktop cards as NVidia does, so the 7970 will often suffice in place of a W9000 for most uses. Hardware rendering for modeling applications through OpenGL/Direct3D will improve accordingly (though this will not necessarily improve rendering operations that are not OpenGL/Direct3D accelerated, such as ray tracing).

A 7990 would only benefit professional compute workloads where the workload is DirectCompute/OpenCL accelerated. For example, Sony Vegas Pro 12 supports OpenCL acceleration for encoding video to h264; using a Radeon, FirePro, or Quadro graphics card will significantly reduce encoding time. Furthermore, it would only benefit professional workloads more than a 7970 where the application supports more than one OpenCL/DirectCompute device.


And do you know if Sony Vegas Pro 12 supports more than one OpenCL/DirectCompute device? If so, I assume the 7990 would be a better card for the job than the W7000?
If not, should I consider the 7970 as an upgrade, hence it being quite similar to the W9000 which is a better card than the W7000?


I'm sorry but I do not know if it supports more than one device. My suspicion however is that it does not.

If you do decide to replace your W7000 with an HD 7970 you will lose some of the workstation exclusive features that are present on the FirePro cards. This includes the ability to use colour depths beyond 24 bit sRGB/yCbCr, finer handling of pixel detail (Applies only to Direct3D/OpenGL applications; drivers tweaked for gaming are optimized for speed and will approximate results, drivers tweaked for professional work are optimized for detail and will render to the computational limits of the hardware), and some application specific driver tweaks that are the result of collaboration between the professional software vendors and AMD/NVidia.

I do know that most Adobe (photoshop included) and Autodesk applications perform somewhat better with workstation cards than consumer cards, and some engineering programs will fail to run at all without one installed. I am unsure about Sony Vegas Pro 12, aside from what I mentioned above of course.

I would suggest that you contact the vendors for the software that you use and see what they recommend. Adobe in particular collaborates closely with AMD and NVidia and will be able to give you a much more detailed answer than I can.

Of course, if you're not doing multi million dollar hollywood grade professional work these points are mostly moot. I can tell you with certainty that a change from the W7000 to 7970 or a W9000 will yield a performance difference equivalent to a change from a 7870 to a 7970 as they are equivalent in hardware.
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