AMD FirePro V9800 4 GB: Eyefinity Meets Professional Graphics

Meet The FirePro V9800

We went into depth on the FirePro V8800 and Quadro 5000 back in September with Workstation Shootout: Nvidia Quadro 5000 Vs. ATI FirePro V8800.

For the most part, AMD’s FirePro V9800 is very similar to the V8800, with a handful of notable exceptions. Both cards employ AMD’s Cypress GPU with all 1600 stream processors enabled. The V8800’s core clock is set to 825 MHz, while the V9800 set to 850 MHz (that 25 MHz difference should be negligible in most benchmarks).

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AMD's "High-End" LineupFirePro V9800FirePro V8800FirePro V7800
Stream Processors160016001440
Single-Precision TFLOPS2.722.642.02
Memory Bandwidth147.2 GB/s147.2 GB/s128 GB/s
I/O6 x DisplayPort3-pin StereoFrame Lock/Genlock4 x DisplayPort3-pin StereoFrame Lock/Genlock1 x DL-DVI2 x DisplayPortFrame Lock/Genlock
Form FactorDual-SlotDual-SlotSingle-Slot
Power199 W208 W138 W

They also both sport GDDR5-based frame buffers running at the same 1150 MHz (yielding the same 147.2 GB/s of memory bandwidth on the same 256-bit bus). Granted, the V8800 includes 2 GB of memory, while the V9800 comes equipped with 4 GB. But don’t let twice the memory fool you—it’s actually pretty difficult to take advantage of that much RAM unless you’re working with scientific/oil/gas data sets or 4K frames in stereoscopic 3D.

The two cards occupy dual-slot form factors and support CrossFire. But while the FirePro V8800 only needs two six-pin power connectors, the V9800 requires one six-pin and one eight-pin connector. Moreover, the V8800 offers a quartet of full-sized DisplayPort outputs and a three-pin stereo connector. The V9800 fully utilizes Eyefinity through six mini-DisplayPort connectors (the same stereo plug is available, too).


Because the FirePro V9800 uses DisplayPort exclusively, there are bound to be questions about hooking up to DVI-based monitors. The good news is that AMD includes five DisplayPort-to-single-link DVI adapters and one DisplayPort-to-dual-link DVI adapter with the card. The single-link dongles support resolutions of up to 1920x1200, while the dual-link dongle enables 2560x1600 on one display.

Of course, configuration is a lot simpler if you go with native DisplayPort monitors, like the Dell P2210Hs on my test bench. Connecting six of them is a simply matter of running mini-DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort cables between the components.

Perhaps best of all (especially for professional users), most of the DisplayPort-oriented bugs we encountered back in March with AMD’s Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 Edition card have seemingly been worked out. No more monitors disappearing from our Display Group. No more corrupt cursors persisting on-screen. And no more driver-reported failures. The only issue we encountered was a tendency for our 30” Dell 3007WFP to not receive a signal during boot-up (attached to a dual-link active adapter), forcing a manual reboot (Update: We confirmed with AMD that this problem is isolated to the Dell 3007WFP in our lab. Newer models from Dell shouldn't have this issue).

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Nvidia shines in the industrial/commercial/scientific market, with their driver team and CUDA/GPGPU tech. Too bad the V9800 fell short of expectations. Also, Nividia cards are obviously going to have better results in Adobe Mercury since both companies worked together on hardware optimization. AMD needs to be more aggressive in working together with software makers, (including games!) to have a stronger hold on both the CPU and GPU markets. Overall, a good read.
  • reprotected
    It would actually make sense if they compared with the V8800 and the Quadro 6000. We also need a review of the Quadro 4000, 2000 and the 800, along with the lower Firepro 3D series.
  • reprotectedIt would actually make sense if they compared with the V8800 and the Quadro 6000. We also need a review of the Quadro 4000, 2000 and the 600, along with the lower Firepro 3D series.1. Definetly, a review of the "lower end" cards would be nice.
    2. Plus, it would be nice to see how well the SLi cards scale.
    3. Also, with the updated (e)nVidia desktop cards (GF100 to GF110), will the Quadro ones see a revision too - if so, when?
  • Benchmark with gpu base render engin like mental images IRay or Chaos Group V-Ray RT
  • cangelini
    radiovan1. Definetly, a review of the "lower end" cards would be nice.2. Plus, it would be nice to see how well the SLi cards scale.3. Also, with the updated (e)nVidia desktop cards (GF100 to GF110), will the Quadro ones see a revision too - if so, when?
    Good question (3), I'll ask!

  • Cwize1
    This was a rather underwhelming test suit. I think the fundamental problem you have is that most of the tests you ran were CPU based.

    What most of these production apps use the GPU for is on the fly rendering. For example, sculpting in blender can tax the GPU quite nicely given enough vectors. Another good blender one would be playing back a super resolution baked fluid simulation in real time. For example, take the tom's hardware logo you had before, turn it into water and let the water fall onto a flat surface. Bake the simulation with a ridiculous resolution (as much as you can before blender crashes) and then play the simulation back in real time while watching 5 high definition videos at the same time.
  • tony singh
    What a disappointment, hopefully next firepro will be aa winner.
  • hell_storm2004
    The FirePro has still the long way to go to catch up with the Quadro. I hope ATI makes good progress in the workstation models soon like they have come a long way in the desktop market.
  • wa1
  • eclecticfortune
    In this article's conclusion appeared this statement:
    "If you’re a creative professional working with Adobe’s CS5 suite, then the Quadro is hands-down a no-brainer."
    Benchmarks indicate that the lower priced GTX 480 is a far better choice (cost effective)for those taking advantage of the Mercury Playback Engine running Premiere Pro CS5.
    At the top of this page, click on the "MPE Performance Chart" to get a comparison between the different Nvidia Cards with Premiere Pro CS5.