Thanks to the further proliferation of 8Gb GDDR5 memory modules, we’ve seen an uplift over the last few months with the memory capacity of professional graphics cards. For the professional graphics market this is always a welcome development, as datasets are already massive and always growing, especially in the content creation field.

Due to various technical considerations – primarily a larger memory bus – over the past generation AMD has traditionally offered the highest capacity professional graphics cards, with the current FirePro W9100 topping out at 16GB. More recently, last month NVIDIA surpassed AMD with the launch of the 24GB Quadro M6000. However this week in advance of the 2016 NAB Show, AMD is firing back and retaking the top spot with their own capacity bump, updating the FirePro W9100 to 32GB.

AMD FirePro W Series Specification Comparison
  AMD FirePro W9100 (32GB) AMD FirePro W9100 (16GB) AMD FirePro W9000 AMD FirePro W8100
Stream Processors 2816 2816 2048 2560
Texture Units 176 176 128 160
ROPs 64 64 32 64
Core Clock 930MHz 930MHz 975MHz 824MHz
Memory Clock 5Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5 5.5Gbps GDDR5 5Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 512-bit 512-bit 384-bit 512-bit
Double Precision 1/2 1/2 1/4 1/2
Transistor Count 6.2B 6.2B 4.31B 6.2B
TDP 275W 275W 274W 220W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm
Architecture GCN 1.1 GCN 1.1 GCN 1.0 GCN 1.1
Warranty 3-Year 3-Year 3-Year 3-Year
Launch Price (List) $4999 $3999 $3999 $2499
Launch Date Q2 2016 April 2014 August 2012 July 2014

The updated FirePro W9100 takes off right where the previous model left off. Based around a fully enabled version of AMD’s Hawaii GPU, the specifications outside of memory capacity are unchanged. As for the memory itself, this update sees AMD replace their 4Gb GDDR5 chips with 8Gb chips, moving from a 32 x 4Gb configuration to a 32 x 8Gb configuration. Consequently any possible performance impact is data set size dependent. Performance essentially doesn’t change for data sets that fit within memory, while sets between 16GB and 32GB that were slow before because they didn’t fit on the card will now be able to be loaded in their entirety.

With their latest capacity bump, AMD becomes the first company to ship a 32GB pro graphics card, and consequently retakes their top spot in the market. At the same time AMD will have final bragging rights for this generation, as AMD and NVIDIA have now both maxed out the memory capacity of their current cards.

The 32GB FirePro W9100 will be launching this quarter through AMD’s usual distribution and OEM partners. The MSRP will be $4999, which is closely aligned to competitor NVIDIA’s own pricing, though also higher than the 16GB card it supplants. Meanwhile AMD will continue to ship the 16GB card as well, and while there isn’t a current MSRP attached to it, it’s currently available from retailers for around $3000.

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  • Michael Bay - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    You`ll pay that up later in games, DLCs and other assorted shit.
  • fluxtatic - Saturday, April 16, 2016 - link

    So, uh, maybe spend less next time? $1k is nothing for a serious gaming PC, but if it's really as bad as all that, you could drop around $600 and be as happy as someone apparently as bitter as yourself might ever expect to be.
  • mapesdhs - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    "... consequently retakes their top spot in the market"

    I cannot see how that is remotely justified. So this card has a lot of RAM, how does that mean AMD now has the "top spot"? Based on what performance results, etc.? Has anyone tested a 500GB GIS set and compared the interaction performance with NV's current best? Differences could end up being platform dependent, rather than GPU potential. Big data compute on the GPU is so much more complex than oh this card is better 'cos it has more RAM. Storage I/O is also critical in many cases. Some tasks that use lots of GPU RAM may fit into 32GB and then not change much while the task is running, others are swapping out constantly to new data.

    I expect generalisations in gamer articles, not pro topics.
  • shelbystripes - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    The article already noted that "any possible performance impact is data set size dependent", and it was pretty clear from context that the "top spot" comment was specifically about RAM capacity. It's pretty clear they're not talking about benchmarked performance, since they don't purport to even have that yet. It's not hard to tell what they actually mean, which is that AMD is offering a card with more RAM thasn Nvidia, which is directly relevant for some (but not all) of the professional market.

    I'm not sure what your problem is.
  • ingwe - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    Is the 274 W spec for the W9000 a typo is or is actually specced at 274 W and not 275 W? Not a big deal but I am curious.
  • Ryan Smith - Monday, April 18, 2016 - link

    That's the official spec.
  • Marcelo Viana - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    32 GVram still small amount of memory. When 64GVram comes, then i'll take it seriously.
  • alpha754293 - Friday, April 15, 2016 - link

    I wonder how this compares to the nVidia's offerings.

    And to the person that was ranting about gaming, you're an idiot.

    (You're probably also the same type of person who would comment on a Top500 supercomputer post with "But can it play Doom?" or rant about some other equally stupid crap like that. *rolls eyes*)
  • m7nz - Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - link

    Interesting that this card is supposed to be for <a href="">professional graphics workstation</a> type loads, but the discussion here is mostly pertaining to entertainment usage/game usage. Generally I've found that big numbers in professional type equipment doesn't always carry over to exceptional performance in games.

    It's also interesting that the technology seems to be advancing so quickly, 6 months later and the $1k cards have changed so much. 8Gb DDR5 is like a minimum number for a real GPU right now. Not that you can always find a decent card, the currency guys are snatching them up pretty quick.

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