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AMD FirePro W8100 Review: The Professional Radeon R9 290

SPECviewperf 12: Synthetic Simulations

Synthetic Tests: Energy

This benchmark simulates a typical volume rendering application, which is used for geophysical surveys (think seismology, along with oil and natural gas exploration) and medical imaging. During the surveys, 2D images are combined to form volumetric representations, creating 2D and 3D views that can be further analyzed and evaluated.

The energy-01 viewset takes advantage of hardware support for 3D textures and the associated trilinear interpolation, which, in turn, depends on a lot of fast graphics memory.

It’s surprising how far AMD’s FirePro workstation graphics cards lag behind Nvidia’s Quadro K6000. The new FirePro W8100 is noticeably beaten by the W9100 and W9000, though it fares well enough to best the FirePro W8000 and Quadro K5000.

Synthetic Tests: Medical

As with the Energy viewset, which covered geophysical surveys and imaging, SPECviewperf 12 uses a synthetic suite to represent the medical field, making use of functionality that is often used for this kind of texture-based volume rendering. Two-dimensional images, created through the use of computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), are combined into a 3D representation.

The direct volume rendering is achieved by lining up the image slices in parallel. This is done based on texture coordinates, which are specified at every single vertex. They consist of the location in the 3D space (x, y, and z) and also define the alignment and scaling of the texture on the polygon via an object. Next, the values needed for the actual display are calculated based on the texture coordinates. This is called compositing. The entire volume can be thought of as a large number of voxels, or volume pixels, which contain opacity and color on top of the texture information.

Volume ray casting is used to calculate the actual image from the voxels. The present benchmark has two parts. The “4D Heart Data Set” contains several 3D objects, and the “Stag Beetle” places large demands on memory. Comparing AMD’s FirePro W9100 and W8100 using this benchmark shows how cuts to the lower-end board's specs come back to haunt it. Then again, you could also say the W8100's performance is exemplary since it beats the $3200 FirePro W9000.