ATI FirePro V8800: Overview
AMD's ATI FirePro V8800 succeeds the FirePro V8700. Going only by the number of shader cores the V8800 is able to muster, you’d think there should be no competition. At first glance, the GPU’s 1600 shaders would indicate impressive performance potential. By comparison, Nvidia's 352 CUDA cores sound downright paltry. However, as our benchmarks will show, it’s not just about how many shaders you’ve got, it’s how you use them. At the end of the day, whether the cores are called CUDA or Stream says nothing about their capabilities.
As mentioned, the FirePro V8800 is closely related to the Radeon HD 5870. Both are built around the Cypress XT GPU, also known as RV870. Like Nvidia, AMD artificially hobbles its Radeon-class desktop cards through the driver, ensuring that only FirePro models will offer top performance in workstation scenarios. While a Radeon may seem like the less expensive choice, the upshot is that it’s a less-than-ideal card for a workstation.
How closely are these two cards related, then? Superficially, the Radeon HD 5870 and the FirePro V8800 are easy to tell apart simply by the product names printed on their shrouds and the model numbers on the PCB. Also, AMD has opted to rely completely on DisplayPort connections for its professional model, while the Radeon HD 5870 still comes with two DVI outputs and an HDMI connector as well. However, even a practiced eye would have trouble telling the two cards apart based only on their board layouts.
As expected, the ATI Fire Pro V8800 uses lower clock speeds than its desktop sibling. Again, the following table provides an easy comparison.
|Specifications||FirePro V8800||Radeon HD 5870|
|Chip||Cypress XT (RV870)||Cypress XT (RV870)|
|Memory||2048 MB||1024 MB|
|Core Clock Rate||825 MHz||850 MHz|
|Memory Clock Rate||1150 MHz||1200 MHz|
ATI has launched several workstation cards this year. These include the following models.
- ATI FirePro V8800 (2 GB GDDR5, Cypress XT / RV870)
- ATI FirePro V7800 (2 GB GDDR5, Cypress Pro / RV870)
- ATI FirePro V5800 (1 GB GDDR5, Juniper XT / RV840)
- ATI FirePro V4800 (1 GB GDDR5, Redwood XT / RV830)
- ATI FirePro V3800 (1 GB GDDR3, Redwood XT / RV830)