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AMD FirePro V8700: High-End Workstation Graphics

Software: Driver Features

The FirePro V8700 ships with the same Catalyst Control Center (CCC) that comes with the Radeon HD 4870. In fact, one notices hardly any obvious differences between these two products. At first glance, the only obvious difference is the additional menu item entitled "Workstation." A single click on any of these thumbnails will open a picture gallery with larger images.

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One of the nicest driver features is automatic application recognition, which ATI calls AutoDetect. This software seeks to apply optimal settings for all of the workstation applications it finds on a particular machine. This turns out to be a valuable capability, especially to those users who work with numerous graphics-heavy applications. This is one particular area where Nvidia has some serious catching up to do.

(Ed.: It's worth noting that, while you see CrossFire connectors in the images on the previous page, AMD's FirePro cards currently don't offer any benefits to running in CrossFire mode. Nvidia, on the other hand, offers SLI support for its Quadro FX boards, enabling accelerated rendering, multi-display mode, or higher capacities for FSAA. This is one area where AMD has some serious catching up to do.)

  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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?
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • You should test the other way around also, how does workstation card perform in games? (Not possible maybe)
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply