Say hello to the new king of AMD's professional graphics lineup: the FirePro V9800. This freshly announced offering boasts 4GB of RAM, six display outputs, the highest overall performance of any FirePro desktop card released to date... and an appropriate $3,499 price tag.
Under the hood, the FirePro V9800 sports the same Cypress chip as the FirePro V8800 we wrote about in April. In fact, the two cards have a lot in common: 1600 stream processors, 147.2GB/s of memory bandwidth, and even identical clock speeds. The new card purportedly reaches slightly higher scores in SPECviewperf 11, however, and it actually has a lower thermal envelope despite packing twice as much memory. (AMD quotes a TDP of 199W, about 9W below that of the V8800.)
Of course, the V9800 also sets itself apart with six Mini DisplayPort outputs—for which AMD supplies six Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapters in the box. The card supports frame lock and genlock for syncing up displays, and it will serve up stereoscopic 3D graphics, as well.
Some folks might consider this a tardy launch for a Cypress part. Yes, we've all heard the rumors about the imminent arrival of next-gen AMD GPUs, but product cycles for professional parts follow a different schedule. AMD tells us there's a lot of time-consuming internal testing and certification involved, and professional customers just don't upgrade as often.
On a semi-related note, AMD notes that it's hard at work on a new professional graphics driver update that will bring about substantial performance improvements. Expect gains of 15-80% in SPECviewperf 11, the company says. Those gains should appear in the upcoming 8.76 beta driver.