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AMD FirePro W600 Paves Way for Six x 4K 'Display Walls'

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 30 comments

Get ready for Eyefinity signage, perhaps even at your favourite fast food restaurant menus.

We've often seen in science fiction movies that advertising and other signage is no longer just a static image. No more posters or billboards, but rather everything is animated on a giant, backlit display.

We saw it first in sci-fi, but it's becoming a reality now, and AMD today announced a new graphics card that will help that along even further with the FirePro W600 professional graphics card.

The FirePro W600 is AMD's first professional graphics card to utilize the Graphics Core Next architecture and 28nm production technology. With this launch, AMD is targeting multi-screen display wall environments and large, dynamic screens that are easily updated with new content.

“Whether we are checking flight times at the airport or watching the latest ads on massive screens in city squares, digital signage has quickly become an important and ubiquitous part of our lives,” said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Graphics.

Digital signage is now growing beyond just a single display and to multiple screens stitched together to create one larger image. Those who associate AMD's graphics with technologies such as Eyefinity will know how this will apply to the signage market. Smaller and cheaper LCDs can be combined to create a very high resolution wall that replaces an older, low-res giant screen.      

Besides the usual Eyefinity 6 configurations that we know and love (the 3x2), now all six displays can be lined up side by side in a row or stacked on top of one another in a column. Perhaps even more exciting is that the card can output to a projector that can stitch together all six images without worry of bezels getting in the way, as projected images don't have to worry about that. The resolution supported should scale well to large formats as well, going all the way up to 4096x2304 per display. Later this year, AMD will also add support for projection edge blending and image warping.

The card will be priced at $599 and will pack 2GB of GDDR5 graphics memory. It will support two HD video streams via AMD’s Unified Video Decoder.

It being part of AMD's 28nm family, the FirePro W600 also has PowerTune technology that dynamically optimizes power consumption during operation and ZeroCore Power technology that reduces power consumption at idle and turns fans off for silent operation. At the max, the W600 is a 75W part.

At this rate, it won't be long before we'll be experiencing sensory overload just from just from digital signage.

Read more from @MarcusYam on Twitter.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Darkerson , June 13, 2012 5:24 AM
    Not bad considering what it will be used for. Go AMD!
  • 20 Hide
    AznCracker , June 13, 2012 6:06 AM

    and only 599. was expecting more for a commercial product
  • 16 Hide
    Robert Pankiw , June 13, 2012 6:43 AM
    Archange, more than likely, the images being generated will be highly compressible, and more than that, pre-rendered, since it is meant for things like "menus" and "billboards".
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Darkerson , June 13, 2012 5:24 AM
    Not bad considering what it will be used for. Go AMD!
  • 9 Hide
    nikorr , June 13, 2012 5:41 AM
    I like it.
  • 20 Hide
    AznCracker , June 13, 2012 6:06 AM

    and only 599. was expecting more for a commercial product
  • -1 Hide
    archange , June 13, 2012 6:35 AM
    2 GB for 6 x 4k displays may be cutting it short.
  • 16 Hide
    Robert Pankiw , June 13, 2012 6:43 AM
    Archange, more than likely, the images being generated will be highly compressible, and more than that, pre-rendered, since it is meant for things like "menus" and "billboards".
  • 2 Hide
    silverblue , June 13, 2012 6:51 AM
    Besides which, even using triple buffering that'd only equate to 162MB of VRAM. 1.8GB left to play around with.
  • 2 Hide
    CaedenV , June 13, 2012 7:38 AM
    ... that is the equivilant of running 24 1080p screens off of a single card that only costs $600, and eats only 75W. I think it is safe to say that this ought to put the final nail in the coffin for companies like Matrox who have traditionally ruled the multi display market. There is simply no competing with this.

    All we need now is to put some ram and processing power behind it so that it can support full video, or something more complicated than simple animations.
  • 2 Hide
    randomkid , June 13, 2012 7:44 AM
    75 watts only? That sounds ideal...
  • 5 Hide
    alphaalphaalpha1 , June 13, 2012 9:02 AM
    75w, so no PCIe power connector is needed? That means that it's probably similar to a 7770 2GB, just with a slightly lower TDP, so it might have a slightly lower voltage and/or binning or if not better binned, then possibly clocked lower. It could be very useful for a lot of things.

    caedenv... that is the equivilant of running 24 1080p screens off of a single card that only costs $600, and eats only 75W. I think it is safe to say that this ought to put the final nail in the coffin for companies like Matrox who have traditionally ruled the multi display market. There is simply no competing with this.All we need now is to put some ram and processing power behind it so that it can support full video, or something more complicated than simple animations.


    Six 4096x2304 displays is a 56.6MP aggregate resolution and twenty-four 1080p displays is a 49.7MP aggregate resolution. This card's max is closer to twenty-seven 1080p displays' worth of pixels. Also, there will be more powerful cards than it. This is simply a low end and more affordable card for very high resolutions for non-intensive purposes.
  • 0 Hide
    EDVINASM , June 13, 2012 9:12 AM
    Strange no one is wondering whether it will run Crysis.. :)  Am surprised it comes with only 2GB of RAM.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 13, 2012 9:47 AM
    I can see it now- won't be long before some bright spark realizes that you could build 6 rear projected screens into a cube shape, project one image onto each of them, suspend the viewer in the centre of the cube (wires to each of the top 4 corners of the cube) and have a truly immersive 3d VR experience!!

    Oh hang on- I jjust realized, you could build a cube out of 6 rear-projected screens, project one image onto each of them, suspend the viewer....... ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    devBunny , June 13, 2012 9:48 AM
    Great card, would love one along with the half dozen monitors that go with it ... however, on that other topic, ...

    "digital signage has quickly become an important and ubiquitous part of our lives"

    Its only importance is that it is a ubiquitous irritation. >:-
  • 5 Hide
    SirDevon , June 13, 2012 11:47 AM
    Quote:
    I can see it now- won't be long before some bright spark realizes that you could build 6 rear projected screens into a cube shape, project one image onto each of them, suspend the viewer in the centre of the cube (wires to each of the top 4 corners of the cube) and have a truly immersive 3d VR experience!!




    That's thinking 'into' the box... :pt1cable: 
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , June 13, 2012 12:47 PM
    SirDevonThat's thinking 'into' the box...


    Yes, but now we'd have to get out of the box. Will thinking get you out of that box once you gotten into it? Probably not, so be careful with where you do your thinking. Into the box might not be such a good idea.
  • 2 Hide
    Travis Beane , June 13, 2012 1:08 PM
    That's so beautiful, I'm crying. How about setting it up for 6 4096x2304 in a 3x2 configuration then running a pre rendered 12,288x4608 3D video of Crysis done with ray tracing? That would be... beautiful.

    Back to reality, I would enjoy one of these. I went for a 3x1 setup at 4536x2048, and it added a whole new level of ease and functionality. That is, until the adapter stopped functioning.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , June 13, 2012 1:42 PM
    The great question of humankind:
    Can it play Crysis?
    ;-)
  • 3 Hide
    spookyman , June 13, 2012 1:56 PM
    These cards aren't meant to play games kiddies. they are designed for displaying graphics...

    Got to most fast food places and their menus are displayed on several flat screens now.
  • 1 Hide
    willard , June 13, 2012 2:28 PM
    archange2 GB for 6 x 4k displays may be cutting it short.

    This isn't meant to play games, so it doesn't need much memory. Likely won't be rendering anything more complex than a few basic animations, a background and some text.

    Each 4k display has 9,437,184 pixels. Each pixel is 24 bits, for a total of 7,077,888 bytes per image buffered, and 42,467,328 bytes for all six. Triple buffer it and you still use less than 128MB of memory. That leaves you more than 1.8GB of memory for the simple rendering tasks this card will be asked to do.

    2GB is probably overkill, but using less would actually cost more since AMD would need to retool a production line to do it.
  • 1 Hide
    silverblue , June 13, 2012 2:37 PM
    I think I got my maths a bit wrong earlier; each pixel will be three bytes for a 24-bit image, nine bytes if you triple buffer it, making for 84,934,646 bytes or 81MB per screen, conversely 509,607,936 bytes or 486MB for the entire array. I'd simply forgotten the triple buffering.

    They could've dropped to 1GB as it still fits the usual AMD memory setup, but we don't really know how much work is going to be done by this card other than the 56.6 million pixels it's throwing about at any given time. o.O
  • 0 Hide
    mihaimm , June 13, 2012 2:50 PM
    Now... can I please just get ONE 4K display????!?!?!
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