Power Consumption and Conclusions
AMD FirePro V7800 and V4800 Professional Graphics Review - Graphics Cards 80

AMD FirePro V7800 and V4800 Professional Graphics Review - Graphics Cards 81

Power consumption for both the V7800 and V4800 fall in line with the product lineup from AMD; the V8800 still has the highest total power draw while the V7800 uses 18% more wattage than the V5800. 

Performance

The new FirePro V7800 and V4800 cards call into the ladder of professional graphics solutions pretty much as we expected them to coming into this review.  The V7800 performs above the V5800 and below the V8800 and the V4800 between the V3800 and the V5800; sometimes we are just glad when numerical naming schemes work out to mean something.

I was surprised to see that the V7800 performed much more like the V5800 than the V8800 – with the 2GB frame buffer on the V7800 I expected a bit more.  I think we might be seeing a limitation of the testing applications in use here though – even at 1600×1200 resolutions that we run SPECviewperf at I would doubt we are really saturating what the bandwidth the buffer provides.  Still, I did expect the 1440 shaders to perform notably better than they did in comparison to the 800 shaders on the V5800. 

The V4800 was much faster than the V3800 thanks in large part to the much faster memory system it implements over the cheapest Evergreen-based FirePro option.  While the V3800 uses a DDR3 memory system with 14.4 GB/s of bandwidth the V4800 uses a GDDR5 system with over 57 GB/s.  And of course we expected the move from a 512MB frame buffer to a 1GB buffer would cause part of that performance jump.

Features

The feature set is something that AMD continues to dominate.  With included goodies like three display support with Eyefinity technology, an OpenGL 4.0-ready driver and of course, DX11 support, the FirePro V8800, V5800 and V3800 are a noticeable generational leap ahead of the Quadro FX 4800/3800 for those developers that are living on the bleeding edge of technology.  As we have seen in our Eyefinity testing for gaming, being able to run with a wide array of displays can drastically change how your view your work environment and increase your productivity.

AMD FirePro V7800 and V4800 Professional Graphics Review - Graphics Cards 82
Unique Eyefinity configurations like this are already available

While NVIDIA is lacking in technology, they do have the edge in software support as of this writing.  Both the CS4 and upcoming CS5 iterations of Adobe’s content creation software include specific improvements built around NVIDIA CUDA technology and thus will NOT be available for FirePro users.  If you are a heavy Adobe user this is something worth looking into before making an investment in either side.

Pricing

The pricing for all of the new FirePro cards looks like this:
  • V8800 – $1499
  • V7800 – $799
  • V5800 – $469
  • V4800 – $189
  • V3800 – $109
After testing all of the above the best values are the V4800 and V5800; the V4800 is a great bargain for a professional series graphics cards that performs much better than the V3800 with a pretty modest price increase.  The V5800 performs pretty similarly with the V7800 in most of our tests and with a 70% lower price, unless you know you NEED the 2GB frame buffer, it just makes the most sense for developers not on an unlimited budget. 

Final Thoughts

The new FirePro V7800 and V4800 graphics cards fell in line with our expectations based on our previous time spent with the flagship V8800 and V5800/V3800.  If you are a professional graphics user I would find it difficult to not recommend the latest Evergreen-based options when compared to the most recent Quadro releases from NVIDIA.  NVIDIA’s advantages today stem from partnerships such as their acceleration support on Adobe’s CS5 software; for AMD it is a problem that can’t be solved by technological advantages but rather better business ties and relationships with top content companies.  If we look at performance and value though, the AMD FirePro line is entirely in the driver’s seat.

There is another card being announced from AMD: the FirePro 2460 Multi-View card that offers four display outputs on a half-height card.  For more details on that check out my separate news post on it


Be sure to use our pricing engine to find the best prices on professional graphics cards and anything else you might need!

AMD FirePro V7800 and V4800 Professional Graphics Review - Graphics Cards 83

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