AMD FirePro V8700 1GB
Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 13 March 2009. Page 10 of 10. 18 Comments

While the fglrx / Catalyst Linux driver was originally just designed for the ATI FireGL products, and since has expanded into supporting graphics cards as the Linux desktop user-base grows, the workstation support is still very much a focal point for their Linux driver teams. The ATI FirePro V8700 is well supported when using AMD's Catalyst Linux driver with DisplayPort capabilities, PowerPlay, OpenGL 3.0, and other features. With the Radeon HD 4870 having been introduced with Linux support from the first day back in July, the RV770XT support was already well tuned by the time the FirePro V8700 was introduced in September.

In our workstation OpenGL benchmarks on Linux, the ATI FirePro V8700 performed very well and often had a noticeable advantage over the FireGL V8600. With the Maya, Tcvis, and Pro/Engineer tests in particular, the FirePro V8700 was able to shine with its RV770XT core and 1GB of GDDR5 memory. While based around the same core, the FirePro V8700 cost is justified over the Radeon HD 4870 when it comes to workstation graphics performance. Even if the current economic conditions have your company cutting back, using a Radeon HD graphics card for workstation OpenGL tasks is not the way to go. At gaming, the performance in Nexuiz and Lightsmark were similar between the Radeon HD and FirePro components. Aside from the OpenGL tests, the FirePro V8700 ran fine on Ubuntu Linux with the Catalyst driver and we experienced no fundamental issues -- in fact, the only problems we experienced was the Unigine Sanctuary and Tropics tests not working.

Beyond just the Linux numbers, the FirePro V8700 is shorter than the V8600 and can fit within a standard ATX chassis, consumes less power with its 55nm core, uses newer GDDR5 memory, offers dual DisplayPort and Stereoscopic outputs in addition to one DVI-D connector, and is CrossFire 2.0 compatible (though no drivers support this option currently). While CrossFire will not operate on the FirePro graphics cards at this time, two FireGL/FirePro graphics cards can be paired together with multi-monitor support using the Catalyst Linux driver. The FirePro V8700 GPU also supports Unified Video Decoding 2, but AMD still has yet to introduce XvBA, or X-Video Bitstream Acceleration, which is their video acceleration API that will need to compete with NVIDIA's VDPAU. Right now the FireGL V8600 and FirePro V8700 can each be found for about $1,200 USD at major Internet retailers.

For pricing information and more information on ATI graphics cards, visit TestFreaks.com.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.


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