AMD Radeon Pro WX 2100 and 3100 fit any workstation


— 2:30 PM on June 1, 2017

Even though we tend to think of "serious work" as needing serious performance, the truth is that most creative and design professionals don't usually require a ton of graphics horsepower. They do, however, need rock-solid support and stability. That's why products like AMD's new Radeon Pro WX 2100 and Radeon Pro WX 3100 exist. These boards mate a miniature Polaris processor with 2 GB (WX2100) or 4 GB (WX3100) of GDDR5 memory to make a pair of single-slot, low-power graphics cards aimed at content creators and other professionals who don't need the mathematic might of a larger GPU.

For reference, the GPU aboard these cards is mathematically identical to the one AMD used for the laptop-bound Radeon RX 540. That means it has 8 GCN compute units, working out to 512 stream processors. Both cards appear to run the chip only slightly above the 1219 MHz boost clock rate of the laptop version, seeing as the stated 1.25 TFLOPS figure is pretty close to the laptop chip's 1.2 TFLOPs.

As the 96 GB/s bandwidth figure for the WX 3100 matches up to the RX 540's, it appears to be equipped with the same 6 GT/s memory here as there. Meanwhile, the WX 2100 has half the memory and half the bandwidth thanks to only half of its memory bus being occupied.

The company says that the WX 3100 should stay under 50W total board power, while the WX 2100 should be under 35W. In that light, the full-card blower-style coolers employed by these offerings should more than suffice. Both cards are slot-powered, and given that they are single-slot and low-profile, they should fit just about anywhere. Despite the diminutive size, you still get a DisplayPort and two mini-DisplayPort connectors.

The performance of these cards may not set your pants alight, but that's hardly the point. AMD notes that these cards (and their drivers) are fully certified for popular professional apps from Autodesk, Dassault Systèmes, Adobe, and quite a few other vendors. Rather than the almost-weekly update pace of the standard Radeon drivers, the Radeon Pro drivers go through a rigorous certification and testing process and get verified releases on the fourth Thursday of each quarter.

The company makes favorable performance comparisons to rival Nvidia's Quadro P400 and P600 cards in those same professional applications. Specifically, AMD says that the Radeon Pro WX 3100 outruns the Quadro P600 by 14% in Catia, 17% in PTC Creo, 47% in Solidworks, and as much as 54% in Siemens NX. AMD also makes similar claims about the WX 2100 versus the Quadro P400.

If you're looking to outfit an office with a bunch of reliable Radeons, AMD says these cards will be available this month. The company expects sellers to charge $150 for the Radeon Pro WX 2100 and $200 for the Radeon Pro WX 3100.

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