For the last couple of years AMD has been pretty consistent about cascading their GPUs through their entire product line. Nowhere is this more evident than their professional graphics lineup, where consumer desktop video cards have transitioned over to professional products at almost 6 months on the dot. In May of this year we saw the introduction of the Cayman based FirePro V7900 and V5900, and now just a bit over 6 months after the Turks based Radeon 6570 and 6670 launched, Turks is getting the professional graphics treatment with the FirePro V4900.

  AMD FirePro V7900 AMD FirePro V5900 AMD FirePro V4900 AMD FirePro 3D V4800
Stream Processors 1280 512 480 400
Texture Units 80 32 24 20
ROPs 32 32 8 8
Core Clock 725MHz 600MHz 800MHz 775MHz
Memory Clock 1.25GHz (5GHz data rate) GDDR5 500MHz (2GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 128-bit 128-bit
FP64 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Transistor Count 2.64B 2.64B 716M 627M
TDP <150W <75W <75W <75W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point N/A N/A $189 N/A

As Turks was designed to replace the older Redwood GPU, so too is the FirePro V4900 designed to replace the FirePro 3D V4800 (AMD has dropped the 3D moniker). As you may recall from Turks’ desktop launch, Turks improves on Redwood in a few different ways. With respect to performance Turks moves from 5 SIMDs (400 SPs) to 6 SIMDs (480 SPs), which gives it an immediate 20% compute and texture advantage over Redwood at the same clocks. Turks also brought with it the rest of feature improvements we saw with the Northern Islands GPUs: primarily support for DisplayPort 1.2 and color calibration in linear space, while UVD 3 is also present for video decoding purposes. All of these features will be available in the V4900, and in spite of these improvements Turks still comes within a few watts of Redwood’s power budget, making the Turks based V4900 a drop-in replacement for the Redwood based V4800.

Since AMD keeps fewer FirePro cards than they do desktop Radeon cards, only a single variant of Turks will be launching as a FirePro card. The V4900 is for all practical purposes a GDDR5 Radeon HD 6670 when it comes to hardware, running at the same 800MHz core clock and 1GHz (4GHz data rate) memory clock as its consumer counterpart. AMD officially classifies the V4900 as having a sub-75W TDP, though giving the similarities to the Radeon HD 6670 it should be right around 66W. Compared to its desktop counterpart though AMD has gone with an entirely different form factor for the V4900, opting to use a full-height single slot card with an active cooler.

Meanwhile for the port configuration on the V4900 AMD has gone with something more traditional for the FirePro market, equipping the card with 1 DVI port and 2 full size DisplayPorts. The choice in DisplayPorts is significant as Turks brings with it DisplayPort 1.2 compatibility, which means the V4900 can be used to drive up to 6 monitors in Eyefinity mode when paired with MST hubs. And speaking of MST hubs, we’ve been waiting on them for quite some time now given that AMD has supported DisplayPort 1.2 for nearly a year. AMD is telling us that they finally expect those hubs to start shipping this quarter, so professional and consumer users alike will finally be able to drive more monitors off of the current crop of video cards.

As AMD is producing the FirePro series directly – a holdover from the early ATI days where ATI was vertically integrated – AMD provides direct support for the V4900 and other FirePro cards. In this case the V4900 will be supported with AMD’s standard support package: a 3 year warranty and 24/7 support. And of course the V4900 will work with the company’s FirePro driver set, which brings with it specific support and compatibility testing for professional applications such as AutoCAD and SolidWorks, which of course is the primary role for a professional card.

Wrapping things up, AMD has put the MSRP on the FirePro V4900 at $189. At this price the V4900 doesn’t have any direct competition – it’s more than $200 cheaper than the GF106 based Quadro 2000 and $50 more expensive than the GF108 based Quadro 600. This is largely a consequence of Turks’ design, as it falls between those NVIDIA GPUs in performance. With professional cards however it’s typically drivers that are the bigger factor, and AMD would prefer to consider the V4900 as competition for the Quadro 600 based on the pricing. Finally, AMD is expecting the V4900 to begin shipping from their factories today; so while today is the formal launch, we’d expect it to be a couple of weeks before cards actually start showing up for sale.

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  • fic2 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    From newegg it looks like the prices on the other cards are:
    V4800: $160 (MSRP $189)
    V5900: $430 (MSRP $599)
    V7900: $700 (MSRP $999)

    Depending on your uses it looks like the V4900 would probably be worth the $30 price from a V4800, but not sure about the $240 premium for the V5900.

    There are some benchies here:
    Looks like it is quite a bit better than the V4800, most of the time better than a V5800 and beaten by the V5900 but for the price is a very good deal. Kind of seems like the retail for the V4900 would be around the $160 mark of the V4800 with the V4800 having to drop.
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    "With professional cards however it’s typically drivers that are the bigger factor, and AMD would prefer to consider the V4900 as competition for the Quadro 600 based on the pricing."

    Raw performance is certainly less important in the professional market than the ultra-competitive consumer market. I'm not sure what you are trying to say here though Ryan? Of course the V4900 is more comparable to the Quadro 600 since they're only $50 apart and not $200.

    Does the industry in general (or specific verticals) really have any preference toward AMD or Nvidia? They both are certified for dozens if not hundreds of industry-niche software with few examples of only one or the other being a requirement.
  • KarusaUK - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    Most companies use Nvidia out of marketing and past performance. However, a lot of AMD offerings are better value and they are aggressively pushing to regain their market share. It seems to me that with the development budget of AMD, ATi cards are now a very competitive offering with certain features unavailable to Nvidia such as multiple displays and very very high frame rates.
  • eastyy - Thursday, November 3, 2011 - link

    dont know anything about these type of cards and wondered what are they actually used for ? what makes them different to the cards i use for games ? and how are they at running games ?
  • tipoo - Thursday, November 3, 2011 - link

    They are used for professional work, ie 3D rendering and modeling, professional video creation, etc. They would underperform equivalent game oriented graphics cards, since the drivers are tuned to professional use (stability over speed). The physical differences arent that big actually, mostly what you get is driver support and optimization. There was a time where a few mods could turn a standard graphics card into one of these workstation ones, but they blocked that.
  • somesome11 - Friday, January 13, 2012 - link

    We just purchased the v4800 about 2-3 months ago, and just now was the V4900 has come out. Spec wise, it looks essentially the same, but has a few slight spec adjustments, and looking at Amazon the v4800 and v4900 are right around the same price. I just hope AMD doesn't drop support for the v4800, that seems to happen to me quite often with my cards. Overall, we've been happy with the v4800, it was a drastic improvement for AutoCAD and Sketchup over my 5770. I'm a little disappointed that nVidia has cornered so many partnerships compared to AMD though; AMD often has the superior hardware, and they're working on their software/driver support, now they just need to make sure everyone's on board with them (like Adobe only having CUDA support for certain apps).
  • KarusaUK - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    With the recent offerings from AMD they are now securing more deals with vendors so now we have a choice of either AMD or Nvidia. From the benchmarks it looks like the V4900 is quite a bit better than V4800 but if you are happy with it I wouldn't upgrade. The V4900 is a very sweet spot that is its not much worse than its higher end cards.

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