Workstation Shootout: Nvidia Quadro 5000 Vs. ATI FirePro V8800

ATI FirePro V8800: Features, Connectors, And Driver

Our FirePro V8800 sample completely eschews DVI. Instead, the card sports four DisplayPort connectors, allowing four displays to be used in parallel. As on the desktop, this feature is referred to as EyeFinity.

Considering the small installed user base, a DisplayPort-only design is a rather bold move. After all, most folks still have a monitor with a DVI cable sitting on their desk. There‘s no need to worry, though, as ATI includes two active single-link adapters with the card that can translate the DisplayPort output to a DVI signal. Since DisplayPort and DVI are not compatible on the physical protocol level, these need to be active adapters, with a circuit translating the signal from one protocol to the other.

As a side note, DVI-to-HDMI adapters (or vice versa) don’t need an active circuit, since in both cases, the video signal is based on the PanelLink protocol. Instead, you just need an adapter that contains connections linking the various pins for each plug correctly.

The FirePro V8800 also features a 3-pin connector for stereoscopic 3D glasses. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean the glasses have to be connected by wire. Instead, a little transmitter that synchronizes the stereoscopic images will do just as well.

AMD can put checkmarks in all the important feature boxes, including Shader Model 5.0, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.1. The company knows just as well as Nvidia that modern graphics processors are capable of much more than just rendering pretty pictures. The high transistor count and the many shader cores make current GPUs an attractive choice for scientific calculations. While Nvidia is actively promoting its proprietary CUDA API for GPGPU work (general purpose graphics processing), AMD has all but dropped its Stream API, choosing instead to back the OpenCL standard. While that move is laudable on paper, it’s not like developers are falling over themselves to create software that makes use of OpenCL (yet).

Nvidia, for its part, regularly promotes CUDA at universities, scientific institutions, and to its partners in various industrial sectors in order to inspire developers to use its programming language. And yes, that includes financial support as well.

AMD offers an add-in card for specific usage scenarios called the FirePro S400. Production companies working in the broadcasting sector need Framelock and Genlock when working across several monitors in parallel. The S400 offers this type of synchronization.

The FirePro V8800 is rated with a TDP of 208 W and satisfies its power requirements through two 6-pin auxiliary power connectors. The card also comes with a CrossFire connector that allows two V8800s to be used in parallel.

Uwe Scheffel
  • Randomacts
    That graphics card cost more then both of the computers I own. O.o
  • tacoslave
    if amd put a little more work on their drivers (i.e crossfire and firepro performance)they would be the clear performance champion.
  • Gin Fushicho
    I really wish I knew what these numbers meant.

    For someone who doesn't do 3-D design these benchmarks are kinda confusing.
  • TheStealthyOne
    The cooler for the FirePro card is really attractive imo.
  • joytech22
    You need to remember, Fermi is designed not "Just" for games, but was also designed, from day one, with computing in mind as well.
  • darthvidor
    I'm impressed to find nvidia beating amd in power consumption.
  • reprotected
    Why isn't the Quadro 6000 and the FX 5800 in the benchmarks?
  • SchizoFrog
    Once again the arguement regarding AMD Drivers is brought to the fore. But more than this, when AMD has a line of products that could be said to 'miss' they absolutely FAIL. nVidia on the otherhand seem to have learned their lesson well from the 5xxxFX series and can still produce products that can compete at least at some level, ie: GTX460. Although these are Workstation products, nVidia have a complete package with GPUs and Drivers that work from the off.
  • scrumworks
    I'm sure you'll be hearing from AMD pretty soon publishing those kind of results.
  • davefb
    sort of interesting, but why is there no comparison to mainstream boards? There is a massive premium of cost here but nothing to be able to say 'hey boss, the onboard graphics we use really don't cut it any more, how about a quadro'.
    (or have I sped-read past the reason why ;) )