AMD FirePro V8700: High-End Workstation Graphics

FirePro V8700 Hardware Details: DisplayPort Times Two

When it comes to hardware, only a few items differentiate this graphics card from the Radeon HD 4870 model that targets gamers. As we describe on the following page of this story, the biggest differences between the V8700 and the HD 4870 relate to the drivers.

In everyday use, the card's ventilation made a very positive impression. It's much quieter than earlier solutions of the same caliber from ATI.

The new DisplayPort graphics interface also appears to have captured ATI's fancy, which probably explains why the company decided to include two such ports on the V8700. We aren't sure we understand why, because so few monitors currently support this interface--the majority of high-end monitors use DVI, and you still run into an occasional VGA-only model even today. Here's a sampling of the monitors that support DisplayPort:

  • HP DreamColor LP2480zx
  • Dell UltraSharp 3008 WFP
  • Eizo FlexScan S2432W-H

The V8700 warranty provides three years of coverage, including access to a dedicated technical support staff that specializes in workstation systems. Mainstream Radeon cards for gamers give nowhere near this level of protection.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
69 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • Harby
    AntiphonalIt's funny - my HD4870 is intentionally crippled in applications that I will not use so they can use a 5x price mark up for people who use those applications. /sigh


    You're clueless. The price premium is for the drivers themselves, not the hardware. No one crippled your gaming card. But no one optimized its drivers for workstation applications either. And these optimizations are not simple tweaks but massive and careful code to give you massive performance boost under very very specific applications.

    You could go as far as saying that you're in essence buying an expensive piece of software as well and not just a graphics card.
    12
  • Other Comments
  • Tindytim
    Can we get some BIOS hacks for the next review of Workstation cards? Since 99% of the cards are just Desktop variants with the drivers being the difference, all that's Needed is a BIOS hack.

    I'd love to see how the real thing would stack up next to a card with different BIOS.
    6
  • bvanveelen
    Is that 1% difference in hardware enough to give these big differences? If the firepro drivers could somehow be applied to a HD4870 would it give similar performance?
    5
  • curnel_D
    TindytimCan we get some BIOS hacks for the next review of Workstation cards? Since 99% of the cards are just Desktop variants with the drivers being the difference, all that's Needed is a BIOS hack.I'd love to see how the real thing would stack up next to a card with different BIOS.

    Ok, so basically, we'd have to get ahold of a fireGL bios, and hack it into a 3850. If there was an equivilant to a 3870, I'd do it myself.
    Who's brave enough? :P
    -1
  • Tindytim
    bvanveelenIs that 1% difference in hardware enough to give these big differences? If the firepro drivers could somehow be applied to a HD4870 would it give similar performance?

    That's what a BIOS hack will do. You change the BIOS of the 4870 card to that of it's workstation equivalent.
    1
  • Antiphonal
    It's funny - my HD4870 is intentionally crippled in applications that I will not use so they can use a 5x price mark up for people who use those applications. /sigh
    5
  • Tindytim
    curnel_dOk, so basically, we'd have to get ahold of a fireGL bios, and hack it into a 3850. If there was an equivilant to a 3870, I'd do it myself. Who's brave enough?

    Do a google search. It's been done before. Although I doubt this new card would yield any benefit over a 4870 with a BIOS hack, other than in some overclocking.

    I'd be more interested in the Nvidia card because then they at least add a little more VRAM. Hell, I'd love to see a Quadro card, with lots of VRAM, BIOS hacked to a Desktop variant to see how it would do at higher resolutions over the actual desktop variant.
    0
  • Harby
    AntiphonalIt's funny - my HD4870 is intentionally crippled in applications that I will not use so they can use a 5x price mark up for people who use those applications. /sigh


    You're clueless. The price premium is for the drivers themselves, not the hardware. No one crippled your gaming card. But no one optimized its drivers for workstation applications either. And these optimizations are not simple tweaks but massive and careful code to give you massive performance boost under very very specific applications.

    You could go as far as saying that you're in essence buying an expensive piece of software as well and not just a graphics card.
    12
  • Anonymous
    You should test the other way around also, how does workstation card perform in games? (Not possible maybe)
    8
  • Harby
    vixenistheshitYou should test the other way around also, how does workstation card perform in games? (Not possible maybe)


    Of course its possible. But at best performance will be equal, I would assume a bit worse, depending on whether FirePro drivers include the specific game optimizations catalayst includes or not.
    2
  • krazyderek
    Drivers and 3yr support aside, I really really really really would have liked to see the top 4870 1gb consumer card thrown in just for a reference point. It would do wonders to help justify the price markup to my boss that signs the purchase order.
    -1
  • krazyderek
    AH HA! there is one, thank you TH!
    0
  • JPForums
    Wow, I never would've thought that the V7700 would've outperformed the V8700 in any of the benchmarks. I never thought the GPU frequency difference of 25MHz would make up for fact that the V8700 has 2.5x sthe SPUs and ~60% more memory bandwidth than the V7700 (given how similar the architectures are). Can this one be chalked up to less mature drivers or is there some hardware design issue hindering the performance of what seems to be the clearly superior card?

    The V8700 doesn't loose to the V7700 all that often, but in some of the cases when it does loose, it also looses to nVidia's counterparts (with the V7700 winning). It would be a much more compelling product (especially at the already good price) if it could beat the V7700 across the board.
    -3
  • Tindytim
    HarbyOf course its possible. But at best performance will be equal, I would assume a bit worse, depending on whether FirePro drivers include the specific game optimizations catalayst includes or not.

    Ah, but that's assuming they are the same. Some Nvidia cards have more VRAM than their desktop counterparts. With a BIOS hack, I wouldn't be surprised if they did better than them, especially in those higher res situations.
    0
  • lamorpa
    Maybe, "the pricing on this card makes it a very good deal for the money" could be better phrased as, "the money you pay based on pricing on this card makes the amount you pay a very good deal in terms monetary amount for the money that you pay which is less money than you might expect because it is a good money deal"
    0
  • Pei-chen
    Would the new GTX 285 2GB outperform these cards? 285 2GB is so much more powerful in gaming maybe it can make a difference in rendering.
    0
  • pcfxer
    Aren't the FirePro and GL cards more money than the desktop variants??? Why would you then waste your time with a hack?
    -3
  • Tindytim
    pcfxerAren't the FirePro and GL cards more money than the desktop variants??? Why would you then waste your time with a hack?

    You got it backwards. You get a cheaper desktop card, BIOS hack is, then use the expensive FirePro drivers.
    3
  • bustapr
    Does this mean that the firepro is better at everything than a hd4870?
    -7
  • ses27
    If the soldworks benchmark is still openGL then its obsolete
    Soldedworks went directX in ver 2009
    And there main competition Inventor in 2008
    Both stating the fact that openGL cards are too expensive
    So TW your soldworks benchmark looks obsolete
    1
  • judeh101
    I can't wait for Firepro.
    -2