AMD on Thursday started up its first new graphics card range in years through the FirePro series. The hardware is based on the company's Radeon HD architecture but is optimized primarily for visual content creation, CAD modeling, and other professional 3D apps. The new cards all have a 30-bit pipeline that renders images internally with as many as one billion colors, preserving the accuracy for very visually rich textures.
The FirePro is also the first mid-range offering at AMD to come with DisplayPort connectors, with a top-end V5700 (shown) coming with two of the next-generation display outputs on top of one dual-link DVI output for attaching as many as three 30-inch displays to a single card.
The V5700 is the fastest of the group with 320 shader processors for pixels and vertices and 512MB of onboard video memory. AMD in turn positions the V3700 as an entry-level model for basic workstations with 40 shader units, 256MB of memory, and a simpler two-port dual-link DVI setup for output. Both cards support hardware acceleration of certain 2D video formats and will also accelerate general math written to the company's Stream Computing format.
Shipments of the V3700 have already started at a price of $99, which AMD claims is the least expensive price for a workstation card to date. The V5700 appears in September and carries a $599 price for its more advanced features. AMD publicly lists support for Linux and Windows systems but is known to be promoting the OpenCL standard for on-GPU general computing proposed by Apple.