For AMD’s FirePro customers, they know that with GCN coming up on 6 months old now that this is the time to keep an eye on product announcements. It typically takes AMD 6 months to a year to release a professional product using a new GPU – primarily for driver and software validation purposes – so they’re just now entering that window.

Almost right on schedule, today AMD is announcing their first Graphics Core Next based FirePro product, the FirePro W600. However in an unusual move despite the FirePro name it’s not a professional card in the traditional sense. Rather it’s a professional card in the not-for-consumers sense.  GCN’s first professional task as it turns out is going to be a brand-new FirePro subcategory: digital signage and display walls.

In several respects digital signage and display walls are obvious markets for AMD. Fundamentally such functionality is based around Single Large Surface (SLS) technology, which AMD first gained in 2009 as their Eyefinity technology. Since then AMD has had the basic capabilities necessary for this market for some time now and have continued to add functions to Eyefinity over the years. At the same time they’ve even casually chased after the much broader digital signage market with embedded products like the E6760, but this is the first time they’ve gone after display walls with a dedicated part.

  AMD FirePro W600 AMD FirePro V4900 AMD FirePro V3900
Stream Processors 512? 480 480
Core Clock N/A 800MHz 650MHz
Memory Clock N/A 1GHz (4GHz data rate) GDDR5 900MHz (1.8GHz data rate) DDR3
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 128-bit 128-bit
DisplayPort Outputs 6 2 1
TDP <75W <75W <50W
Architecture GCN VLIW5 VLIW5
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price Point $599 $189 $119

Fundamentally the W600 is a variation of the Cape Verde based Radeon HD 7750. It’s very similar to its consumer counterpart in most respects, but it has two key differences: it’s equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 rather than 1GB, and in place of a mix of monitor outputs it has 6 Mini DisplayPorts. As we stated earlier AMD is going for the many-monitors markets of digital signage and display walls, and in that market the name of the game is how many monitors can be driven off of a single card. With W600, AMD has built a card that can drive as many monitors as the Cape Verde ASIC can handle (6).

But why GCN for the display wall market? As it turns out AMD has added several different features to GCN that prove useful for this market.  While AMD’s previous generation Turks ASIC could support 6 DisplayPorts too, it had other fundamental limitations that GCN ended up resolving. The biggest of which here is that GCN supports higher Eyefinity resolutions than Turks; 16K x 16K under Windows (sans Aero) instead of 8K x 8K, which is particularly important for 6x1 configurations or configurations involving multiple 4K monitors (thanks to DP1.2). At the same time GCN also introduced support for Discrete Digital Multi-Point Audio, which again is of particular benefit for video walls.

AMD is also touting GCN’s power saving features, but in this case that seems to be rather empty. ZeroCore Power and PowerTune are both present, but with digital signage it’s unlikely that the card will ever get to sleep in a way that triggers ZeroCore. Nor is it likely that the card will be used to run graphically intensive applications (AMD doesn’t even list 3D performance figures for the W600). But still, they’re there if customers need the functionality.

Finally, AMD has announced one more software feature for GCN FirePro cards, a few months ahead of the feature’s planned Q4 launch. AMD will be adding support for edge blending and warping for projectors, which will greatly improve the ability to setup projectors in SLS configurations. Currently it’s doable, but it requires a great deal of care to perfectly align the projectors and it only works on flat surfaces. Edge blending will complement AMD’s existing projection overlap capabilities to make it easier to setup projectors in SLS (just set them up and let the software handle the fine details), while warping will allow for aspect-correct projection on curved surfaces.

Wrapping things up, the W600 is available immediately, for $599. AMD’s primary competition here is Matrox, so they seem rather confident that they can quickly swoop in and take this market for themselves with their much newer technology.

Source: AMD

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  • highlnder69 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Matrox still makes graphics cards? I remember at a previous job we had IBM PC's with Matrox video cards. These things would seem to die on a regular basis. I did discover one trick to get most of them function again with what I called the MMVCRD, 'Magic Matrox Video Card Repair Disk' which would reflash firmware to the card and make it function again. I also remember having some sort of Matrox card a very long time ago for my gaming rig.
  • Iketh - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Tons of people had that graphics card back then... was Hercules or something like that... was cheap and had awesome performance using 1024x768...

    I wish they were able to deliver on their promise for a followup... can't remember the details... ill have to look up the article on this site
  • quanta - Friday, September 25, 2015 - link

    Except the new Matrox C-Series[1][2] cards are powered by AMD GPUs:

  • diggity0 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    The edge blending feature is very exciting. A couple of years ago we implemented a video wall using a single PC with an eyefinity video card and 4 projectors. The missing link was how to edge blend the whole thing. We found a piece of software that would do it and it worked well, but it was a $15,000 purchase. If I can do the same thing with this card and save $15,000 on project costs we might sell a few more of these systems.
  • CeriseCogburn - Thursday, June 14, 2012 - link

    The crappy 7750 is $109+ to $159, and they want $1,500 for this modded piece of junk.

    R O F L

    Amd is evil, and far worse than nVidia ever was or ever will be. It appears the new amd is a fat pig money hog cheap piece of junk central doctrine company.
  • behrouz - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    Rofl , Enjoy your troll
  • Iketh - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    Do you enjoy expressing your ignorance to the world?
  • knutjb - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Your ignorance is entertaining. Watch a business channel sometime and look at all the displays in the trading areas...$$$ Professional cards always carry a premium and it's in the sofware. You obviously haven't priced professional graphics cards.
  • tdtran1025 - Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - link

    I wish I could find flat panels that are bezeless, edgeless, so that I could gang up 4 of them to make a giant display to fill a wall.
  • TechArt - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - link

    Those bezel free displays are called "projectors".

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