Advanced Micro Devices on Thursday confirmed that it would unveil its next-generation FirePro graphics cards aimed at the professional market later this month. While the company did not officially said that it plans to release Hawaii GPU-based FirePro graphics solutions, it did call the new products “groundbreaking”, which means all-new technology.
Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of graphics business unit at AMD, will host a special preview news conference in Sunnyvale, California on the 26th of March at 9:15 a.m. PDT, to showcase “powerful new professional graphics innovations” from AMD. The company did not elaborate about details, but it is highly likely that it will introduce new FirePro W8000- and W9000-series professional graphics solutions powered by the Hawaii chip, AMD’s most powerful graphics processing unit to date.
Earlier this month it was reported that AMD planned to roll-out an all-new FirePro graphics card based on the latest Hawaii graphics processing unit based on the improved GCN [graphics core next] architecture in early April. Thanks to 512-bit memory bus of the Hawaii chip, AMD could install 10GB of GDDR5 memory onto its next-gen FirePro W9000/W8000-series graphics solutions, which should boost performance in a number of professional applications. The output configuration of the novelty will likely be similar to the FirePro W9000: six mDP ports as well as an SDI link.
Keeping in mind that AMD offers a pretty broad lineup of professional graphics cards, it is logical to expect the company not to limit itself with the announcement of just two professional graphics solutions, but to unleash a family of new products. For example, AMD could refresh its mainstream FirePro series as well as add Hawaii-based Radeon Sky graphics card into the lineup of solutions for the cloud.
What is unclear is whether the new Hawaii-based FirePro will rely on the fully-fledged Hawaii with 2816 stream processors (SPs), 176 texture units (TUs) and 64 raster operating units (ROPs), or a cut down version with 2560 SPs, 160 TUs and 64 ROPs. At present the FirePro W9000 sports the fully-fledged Tahiti XT GPU, whereas the W8000 is powered by the cut-down Tahiti Pro. It is natural to expect different configurations of GPUs on future graphics cards as well.
The new high-end FirePro will likely co-exist with the current AMD FirePro W9000 graphics board since the previous-generation Tahiti GPU offers higher double precision performance (1TFLOPS vs. 0.7TFLOPS in case of the Hawaii), which may be important for certain users.
KitGuru Says: It has been quite a while since AMD updated its professional graphics cards lineup. So, it is about time.