Pro Graphics: Seven Cards Compared

AMD FireGL V5600

Those on a tight budget who still want to work efficiently should consider the AMD FireGL V5600. As a mid-range board, it is equipped with 512 MB GDDR4 memory. The size is sufficient for most professional applications and GDDR4 is also significantly faster than the DDR2 memory on the smaller V3600.

For $600 you can get decent results in computer-aided design and digital content creation. You can connect two monitors to the board via DVI; these ports are dual-link capable and ensure high resolutions up to 2560x1600 pixels. Because it uses the RV630 chip, this graphics card is compatible with PCI Express 2.0. However, you won’t find a connection for the 3D virtual reality glasses. The chip is clocked at 800 MHz, while the memory runs at 1,100 MHz, resulting in a bandwidth of 35 GB/s. As a mid-range product, the V5600 is comparable to the Nvidia Quadro FX 1700.