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SIG: Wrap up on GPU Hardware at SIGGRAPH 2014

Both AMD and Nvidia had brand new GPU hardware to announce at last week’s SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, Canada. We take a look at what they announced…


We continue our string of SIGGRAPH 2014 related reports with a focus on graphics processing units (GPUs) for the professional graphics and CAD market.

Nvidia’s Gear

At SIGGRAPH 2014 last week Nvidia delivered on new enterprise-grade visual computing platform technology that the company says delivers twice the application performance as the last generation of its gear.

“The next generation of Quadro GPUs not only dramatically increases graphics and compute performance to handle huge data sets. It extends the concept of visual computing from a graphics card in a workstation to a connected environment,” said Jeff Brown, vice president of Professional Visualization at NVIDIA. “The new Quadro lineup lets users interact with their designs or data locally on a workstation, remotely on a mobile device or in tandem with cloud-based services.”

01 - New generation of Nvidia Keplar class Quadro workstation GPUs.

01 – New generation of Nvidia Keplar class Quadro workstation GPUs.

The new generation of Quadro GPUs—including the K5200, K4200, K2200, K620 and K420—enables user to:

  • interact with data sets twice the size of the previous generation of cards
  • remotely interact with graphics applications from a Quadro-based workstation from essentially any device, including PCs, Macs and tablets
  • Run major applications such as Adobe CC, Autodesk Design Suite and SolidWorks 2014 and average of 40 percent faster than the previous Quadro cards
  • Switch easily from local GPU rendering to cloud-based offerings using Nvidia iRay Rendering

Quadra GPUs accelerate more than 100 CUDA architecture, DirectX, OpenCL and OpenGL applications. The latest lineup will ship beginning this fall from Nvidia workstation OEMs. To learn more visit Nvidia.

AMD New FirePro GPUs

AMD would not be outdone and leave all the SIGGRAPH glory to Nvidia. The company too introduced its new professional GPU lineup with all new pro offerings in the way of its new AMD FirePro W2100, FirePro W4100, FirePro W5100, and FirePro W7100 GPUs to already compliment its previously released new AMD FirePro W8100 and FirePro W9100 top end pro GPUs.

“We’re excited to unveil the new generation of AMD FirePro professional graphics with improved features to enable more workstation graphics performance and productivity at every level,” said David Cummings, senior director and general manager, Professional Graphics at AMD. “This new generation of AMD FirePro graphics will help workstation manufacturers and channel providers to offer powerful, reliable solutions designed to improve application performance and increased productivity to help end users do more.”

02 - AMD FirePro W7100 GPU is one of the latest pro graphics solutions for workstations.

02 – AMD FirePro W7100 GPU is one of the latest pro graphics solutions for workstations.

The next generation of FirePro GPUs bring, as you might expect 2x increases as well, just like Nvidia, with the net results being 2x more memory, multi display 4K leadership, higher compute performance, next generation API support and PCIe 3.0 support.

The King

The king of the FirePros is the W9100 with up to 16 GB of GDDR memory, support for up to 6 4K displays. It should be stated that the previous generation W9000 was the GPU that forms the basis of the high end GPU inside Apple’s radical new Mac Pro, that custom FirePro being named the D700. One wonders if Apple will be updating their new Mac Pro with updates to reflect AMD’s latest pro kit?

The new AMD FirePro W8100 supports up to 8 GB of memory, which is 2 GB of video memory higher than the FirePro D700 in the latest high end Mac Pro. Of course Apple’s Mac Pros feature two of each card so the D700 at 6 GB each is actually 12 GB. Regardless, the FirePro W9100 has 16 GB of memory on one card.

AMD FirePro W9100 and W8100 are already available today. The rest of the new lineup will be available in September from AMD global distributor partner SAPPHIRE Technology and from major workstation providers.

To learn more about these new professional GPUs—which at this point have no avenue for Mac users unless they have older Mac Pros to put them in—please visit AMD’s FirePro GPU site.

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