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AMD FirePro W8100 Review: The Professional Radeon R9 290

OpenCL: 4K Video Post-Processing

Video Editing and Encoding

For multimedia and entertainment applications, professionals want smooth and efficient processing of high-resolution content. OpenCL and CUDA are well-suited for speeding up such complex calculations.

Because 4K (3840x2160) is becoming more and more common in the professional and desktop spaces, we picked two applications that employ OpenCL to accelerate processing (filtering) and encoding of this up-and-coming format.

We modified our test setup slightly by adding a third SSD, Samsung's 500 GB 840 EVO. It receives the output data, which are large H.264-encoded video files. The input files (several 4K TIFF files and a 4K video) reside on a 480 GB Corsair Neutron GX. We wanted to make sure that storage wasn't introducing any performance-altering bottlenecks.

Adobe Premiere CC Pro

Our two tests include a sequence of TIFF-based images affected by OpenCL-accelerated filters and a high-res video run through another series of filters. This was designed to represent a usage scenario similar to those found in the real world. Filter selection needs to be flexible when doing professional work, after all. AMD's FirePro W8100 trails the W9100 by about 13 percent, which isn’t bad given the ~$800 price difference.

We take a step away from the ultra-demanding workloads suggested in reviewer's guides, strip off the OpenCL-based components, and get down to a more typical benchmark. Under these conditions, the FirePro W8100 pulls inside of the W9000 and barely slips past. Nvidia's Quadro K5000 isn't even a contender here.

Considering that our videos are relatively short, but do include a number of effects, we’re looking at a respectable number of operations that need to be completed. They certainly push our entire system to its limits.

Sony Vegas Pro

This is a good benchmark for AMD's FirePro W8100. The only graphics card it loses to is the pricier W9100.

Overall, the FirePro W8100 does well when you consider its $2500 price point. The advantages of a GPU-accelerated workflow become more pronounced as your content gets longer and the editing more intensive. Workstation-class graphics aren't necessary for manipulating small clips optimized for mobile devices, since the performance differences are barely measurable for that kind of source material.