The ATI FireGL graphics cards have been a staple of the workstation graphics scene for about a decade, but last year AMD made the decision to end the FireGL series and create the FirePro 3D series in its place. The FirePro 3D series is now made up of graphics cards ranging in price from under $100 USD and built using their RV730 GPU to their highest-end models costing well over $1,000 and using the RV770XT graphics processor. The ATI RV770XT is what is used by the consumer-grade Radeon HD 4870, which was greeted by same-day Linux support and other firsts for their Linux Catalyst driver like OverDrive, RandR 1.2 support, and CrossFire. The support for the new FirePro graphics cards is also first-rate under Linux with their Catalyst driver, but how is their performance? In this article we are examining the ATI FirePro V8700 1GB workstation graphics card under Linux.
Beyond just dropping in an RV770XT and making a few optimizations for workstation tasks, the FirePro series has a few other new additions. Compared to the previously reviewed ATI FireGL V8600, which was an ultra high-end model, the FirePro V8700 brings DisplayPort to workstation computing and more than double the number of Stream processors. The ATI FireGL V8600 series had 320 Stream processors, which was good for the time, but now the FirePro V8700 boasts 800 Stream processors! The RV770XT core also operates at a higher 750MHz clock speed compared to 688MHz with the FireGL V8600/V8650. When it comes to the video memory, AMD is using GDDR5 with this PCI Express 2.0 graphics card, but on a 256-bit memory interface.
Below the V8700 series are the FirePro V3750, V5700, and V7750 that are based upon the RV730 core (similar to the Radeon HD 4650 and Radeon HD 4670). There is also a FirePro V7770, which uses a RV770PRO ASIC similar to the Radeon HD 4850.
Our review sample of the FirePro V8700 was OEM packaged, but the retail version should include a driver disk, user's manual, DisplayPort to DVI adapter, DVI to VGA/D-Sub adapter, and an HDTV adapter. AMD backs the ATI FirePro products with a three-year warranty. The ATI FirePro V8700 is currently retailing for about $1,200 USD.