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AMD Ups The Workstation Ante With A New FirePro Driver

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  • AMD Ups The Workstation Ante With A New FirePro Driver

    Phoronix: AMD Ups The Workstation Ante With A New FirePro Driver

    Whether you are an owner of an ATI FirePro V3800 that retails for just over $100 USD, the proud owner of an ATI FirePro V8800 that goes for over $1,300 USD, or any of the FirePro products in-between, you will want to update your graphics driver when AMD puts out their next stable software update. Back in March AMD put out an amazing FirePro Linux driver that increased the performance of their workstation graphics cards already on the market (and the other Evergreen-based workstation cards that entered the market soon after) by an astonishing amount. Our independent tests of this proprietary Linux driver update found that the performance in some workstation applications had increased by up to 59% by simply installing this updated driver while other OpenGL tests had just improved rather modestly with 20%+ gains. AMD though is preparing to release another driver update for Microsoft Windows and Linux that ups their workstation graphics performance even more! We have run some tests of this new beta driver against their older driver with both their low-end and ultra-high-end FirePro products and have found the improvements again to be astonishing.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15158

  • #2
    Why dont you check this drivers on X Server 1.8.0? Doing this on X Server 1.7.6 isn't good because much people use Fedora 13 Could you don another test?

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    • #3
      Our only complaint about the beta Linux press driver that we tested was the major regression found within the Unigine Heaven game tech demo, but we are confident that AMD developers will quickly resolve this issue especially if this performance drop is found within their consumer graphics cards.
      Maybe. Or maybe they've made a conscious decision to trade off gaming performance for better rendering performance on their professional drivers. This could be as simple as ATI retuning the drivers a bit to favor a different workload.

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      • #4
        With EnSight we recorded gains on the FirePro V3800 of 21% and the FirePro V8800 had a massive boost of 61.5%! This +60% improvement in the SPECViewPerf 10.0 EnSight performance is astonishing and the largest we found when testing the fglrx 8.72.11 press driver.
        interesting

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        • #5
          what did they do exactly there?

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          • #6
            I don't think that 20% is a modest improvement

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            • #7
              Still interested in the Win #'s as well...

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              • #8
                What exactly is the difference between a FirePro V8800 running on the 8.762 Beta 1 "Workstation Driver" versus a HD5870 running on the Catalyst driver? Is the workstation driver really that different? Catalyst 10.7 is 8.753, which suggests it's actually an older build, but what if it had been 8.762? Would it be the same code?

                Looking at the specs of the V8800 versus the HD5870, I couldn't find many differences, except for the fact that the FirePro has 4 DisplayPort outputs, and the FirePro has a genlock/framelock module. Dragon Age jokes aside, this is something that consumers would never need, but is it really worth nearly a $1000 increase in price?

                You would think that the most expensive piece of the card is not the packaging or the connectors, but the GPU itself. Clearly the GPU is the most dense piece of discrete logic in the package, and it's quite a feat of engineering to be able to mass produce them at all. 1600 streaming processors. Hey, that's identical to the HD5870! You do get twice the amount of GDDR5, though.... that could account for a significant amount of the price delta.

                Still, I think we're seeing a decrease in value with the FirePro line -- you are getting significantly less bang for your buck, sorta like the Intel Extreme Edition CPUs at the maximum clock rate. I can't imagine that it costs an additional $900 for the "ATI FirePro™ S400 Synchronization Module Support (for Framelock/Genlock)" and a couple of DisplayPort connectors. And the version numbers of their drivers make it seem like the driver code itself is 99.999% identical as well (maybe a few tweaks to excel at benchmarks or 3dsmax or something, like an earlier poster said). I bet they just charge that heinous price because they know that deep-pocket corporate customers like Pixar will pay it regardless. No wonder most of their development resources go into the workstation market.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by allquixotic View Post
                  What exactly is the difference between a FirePro V8800 running on the 8.762 Beta 1 "Workstation Driver" versus a HD5870 running on the Catalyst driver? Is the workstation driver really that different? Catalyst 10.7 is 8.753, which suggests it's actually an older build, but what if it had been 8.762? Would it be the same code?
                  It's the same code but some features will only be enabled on selected PCI ids or specific PCS (cf. aticonfig, amdpcsdb, etc.). You will have to investigate yourself and probably find out a lot of things.

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                  • #10
                    Where is the link to the used driver? Even when you have got FirePro cards you can not verify your results without.

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                    • #11
                      >> when AMD puts out their next stable software update

                      That would be a first.

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