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ATI brings DX11 to entire FirePro range

AMD graphics wing ATI has just updated its line-up of professional workstation cards, bringing the whole range into the DX11 era.

Following on from the FirePro V8800 are four new cards, designed to cope with the demands of professionals using 3D graphics workstations.

Although the cards use chips fundamentally designed on the same architecture found in the Radeon HD 5800 series of GPUs, these FirePro cards are targeted specifically at the professional workstation market, and that means a few changes.

For a start, the cards are manufactured by ATI, in order to ensure rigorous quality-control. They will also come with much more memory than your average gaming card, and feature support for ATI’s new AutoDetect Technology. This is a feature in the driver that automatically configures the optimal settings for each application as it’s opened; a bit like the profile system in the latest Catalyst drivers, but for professional apps.

At the top of the new heap is the FirePro V7800, which sits just underneath the V8800. Unlike the V8800, and ATI’s last-generation V7700 for that matter, it has a single-slot cooler. The card’s GPU has 1,440 stream processors, and addresses a 2GB rack of GDDR5 memory via a 256-bit memory interface. ATI says the card consumes under 150W when it’s running at full pelt.

This series also sees ATI taking advantage of its new multi-monitor EyeFinity technology, and the V7800 has two DisplayPort connectors and a dual-link DVI port, enabling you to hook up three 30in 2,560 x 1,600 displays, all of which can be controlled independently.

As well as accelerating advanced features in OpenGL 2.0 and DirectX 11, the card also supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering with 8-bit, 10-bit and 16-bit per RGB colour component support. Along with the all the other cards in the line-up, the V7800 also has a 30-bit display pipeline, taking the accuracy of colour reproduction beyond the usual 24-bit level, if your display can cope with it.

Next comes the V5800 (pictured), which cuts the stream processor count down to 800, and addresses a smaller 1GB stack of GDDR5 memory via a narrower 128-bit memory interface. With its cut down specs, ATI says the card consumes less than 75W when it’s maxed out. The card also supports the HDR features of its higher powered brethren.

After that we have the V4800, which has just 400 stream processors, but still has 1GB of GDDR5 memory. This is where you lose the extra HDR features, but the card still has a 30-bit display pipeline.

Finally, there’s the V3800; a low-profile card with a DVI connector and just one DisplayPort output. Like the V4800, it also has 400 stream processors, but only has 512MB of GDDR5 memory, which is addressed via a narrow 64-bit memory interface. This is really an entry-level card for low-profile workstations, and ATI says it consumes less than 43W.

As well as supporting DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0, the cards also support OpenCL for GPGPU computing, although this will require a new driver that’s promised for later this year.