back to article AMD teases workstation pros with 16GB FirePro W9100 graphics card

AMD has been showing off a new monster graphics card that it hopes will be one in the eye for Nvidia – and secure its fortunes in the face of a dwindling PC market. AMD W9100 AMD's new power card for the 4K set (click to enlarge) The new W9100 carries whopping 16GB of DDR5 memory with a bandwidth of about 320GB/s, and can …

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Anonymous Coward

Squiffy economics

Can you buy these with Bitcoins? It would be kind of weird. Maybe they should leave the cards plugged in on the shelf in the store (or the warehouse) mining Bitcoins and then once they've paid for themselves and the power they've used they could be given away for free? I'd get one for sure :-)

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Re: Squiffy economics

My guess is that is part of the QA soak test before sending them out to customers :-)

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Could be interesting

If they can keep it under the power limit and get full Linpack TFLOPS from the cards, one of those ultra workstations with 4 cards could potentially win the next SCC event by itself. If I'm not mistaken the last event saw the winning cluster around 8.5 TFLOPS.

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Re: Could be interesting

" If I'm not mistaken the last event saw the winning cluster around 8.5 TFLOPS."

Still jerky playing the latest version of Far Cry, I'd guess.

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VMware VDI?

sounds like a LOT of RAM for VDI sessions, 256 meg per user would be 64 users per sever with just one card. :-)

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And price war ensues...

IIRC, Nvidia just announced their Geforce GTX Titan Z with 8 TFLOPS and a paltry 12 GB of RAM for a $1000 less.

While it's not a Quadro per se (unlike the FirePro branding), I wouldn't say the performance will be too bad for that money.

Sounds like a price war to me...

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Anonymous Coward

Follow the money

AMD is smart in supplying what industry desires and is willing to pay for. They make good money on gamers but they aren't going to sell a lot of $1000 GPU cards to gamers.

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Re: Follow the money

This is what the PC market is turning into - super-expensive high-margin performance hardware for content creators, leaving toy-comp tablets to the proles.

Not an entirely good thing, IMO.

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Re: Follow the money

There are a lot of use cases people formerly used PCs for that can be filled the same or better with tablets. What we've seen and are seeing is the mass exodus of people with those needs towards tablets and to laptops as well, now that laptops are so much more powerful and light.

That doesn't mean that all use cases can be met by those - there are still a solid core of us who have needs we can't meet with a tablet or laptop. I do some serious database work. Others need to compile large chunks of code, and there's vastly more than both of us groups put together who simply want to run BattleTitanArkhamField at super high-resolutions and frame rates.

But that core of us who still need such power has been to some extent supported by those who didn't for a long time, simply because the latter didn't have any choice. Now they do and that's going to impact us. Already has, in fact. I'm about ready to upgrade my processor, I've been using AMD for a long time and was expecting to bump up to one of their Steamroller CPUs this year. Now I can't because AMD are giving up on trying to meet Intel head to head for pure power and instead are trying to do an sneaky bit of out-maneuvering with their APUs. (And that's a smart move, imo). And that's great for those who want better CPUs in terms of efficiency and cost, bad for those of us who want to throw money at them and get more power. So for the first time in years, I'm jumping over to Intel, but even there Intel are not chasing more power as much as they used to. Instead they're focusing on efficiency. Because the market has changed.

So we're seeing increasing differentiation now that the 'no choice but to use a PC' market which used to tie us all together have been freed by tablets and better laptops. With that large segment gone, the remainder are free to fragment into the small "give us all the power you got" section and the "give us something cost effective" crowd. And when a market is smaller, costs per unit need to be higher to keep a vendor invested in it. So it's bad news for the high-end enthusiast types, imo.

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Re: Follow the money

>This is what the PC market is turning into - super-expensive high-margin performance hardware for content creators, leaving toy-comp tablets to the proles.

>Not an entirely good thing, IMO.

What do us proles need a PC for, beyond some spreadsheets, email, web-browsing, and the odd bit of video encoding? The last I checked, all that can be achieved on a cheap n cheerful laptop, Small Form Factor PC, or even an ARM based device. As a benefit, these things can be done on passively-cooled hardware - blissful silence!

The causal use of productivity applications (video editing, CAD) that require a little more grunt can be powered by some gaming-grade hardware. If one really needs the stability and accuracy of the professional kit - certified workstations, pro drivers, ECC RAM - then there will be a business case for stumping up the money for it, and probably tax-deductions, too.

Don't get me wrong, TheOtherHobbes, I'm not dismissing your concern, but I feel I don't exactly understand what it is without you expanding upon it.

My personal concern - perhaps parallel to yours - is that 16:10 laptops like hens teeth these days (other than Macbooks, that is)... 'widescreen' displays require the user to do more scrolling up and down. Also, I would like higher-res PC screens, but by all accounts 3rd party applications for the desktop side of Windows don't behave as sensibly as they could - Photoshop, for example, has ridiculously small toolbar icons on high res screens.

It amazes that some niche software, such as Solidworks, has a more civilised UI than many 'mainstream' productivity applications - for example, it offers the option of large toolbar icons, so it can be used comfortably on very high res monitors.

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Re: Follow the money

@h4rm0ny

You raise a good point... whilst the gaming market drove CPUs to ever faster for many years, these days sites like Tomshardware suggest that few games benefit from anything more powerful than an Intel i5. That means that people who have tasks that do benefit from more powerful CPUs are no longer in the mainstream as once they were.

That said, software is changing, and *some* tasks can be performed on GPUs, or farmed out to CPUs on other machines on the local network - or on CPU time rented from the cloud.

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Re: Follow the money

Build it and they will come. Many many software or "toys" (games) will use as close to 100% of that CPU or GPU if they can.

You can never satisfy the desire for "more". :P

Think of an interactive video/game with more physics, more fidelity etc etc. While we do level off at "good enough", as we have with sound cards/software and HD resolutions, there is a little bit more to go in the CPU and GPU number crunching before we hit the limit of what we could ever expect or need.

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Re: Follow the money

Certainly for most folks who run 'the norm', a single 1080p, 60 Hz, 32 bit color monitor, there is a limit to how much "more" is actually used unless good chunks can be handed to the GPU. As you say, "an interactive video/game with more physics..." along with high end solid modelling pretty much defines the current limited realm for desktop hardware since the really high end stuff like FEA/CFD and rendering is increasingly done on clusters.

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More display ports.

I would like it if more lower-end cards came with multi-display port outputs. I'd potentially buy one of the new R290 cards but they all seem saddled with the same HDMI/DVI/DP combo of output ports. I want three monitors driven by display ports with maximum bandwidth. You'd think at least one vendor would realise that people buying high-end graphics cards might also want modern interfaces not old DVI stuff.

Choice is good.

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The important stuff these days..

Is what hash rate does it achieve - and what's its power consumption?

AMD are making a killing on cards for mining - reviews and articles should include these all important stats!

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