Radeon Pro WX 8200 promises pros lots of bang-for-the-buck

The SIGGRAPH conference kicks off today in Vancouver, and AMD is marking the occasion by launching a fresh pro graphics card. The Radeon Pro WX 8200 houses a Vega 10 GPU with 56 compute units enabled, fed by 8 GB of second-generation SK Hynix HBM2 RAM, and it'll feed displays using four Mini DisplayPort outputs.

That refined memory gives the WX 8200 512 GB/s of memory bandwidth, up from 410 GB/s on the consumer RX Vega 56. Working back from AMD's specs, that HBM2 RAM is likely running at an effective rate of 2 Gbps per pin. AMD's specified theoretical FP32 rate of 11 TFLOPS suggests the WX 8200 has a boost clock range of 1530 MHz. Both of those figures are superior to the RX Vega 56.

AMD is aggressively pitting the WX 8200 against Nvidia's roughly-$1800-at-retail Quadro P5000 in a range of workloads. The company generally promises a decent lead in performance over the P5000 for renderers like Radeon ProRender and Blender Cycles, as well as pro apps like Nuke, Premiere Pro, and Maya.

AMD believes that the future of professional graphics work lies in two new frontiers of performance that traditional metrics like those above don't capture, however: VR and simultaneous rendering and multitasking.

The company's DirectX 12-powered VRMark Cyan Room synthetic VR test result is self-explanatory. Like the other internal tests AMD presented, the company believes the WX 8200 leads the Quadro P5000 for professional use. For pros who are previewing their designs or models in VR, that performance parity could be an important mark in AMD's favor.

Original image: Vizrt

AMD also made the point that pros don't need to worry about manually tuning their systems for the best performance with the WX 8200 under blended workloads when multitasking, as one might with the Quadro P5000 and its dedicated toggles in Nvidia's control panel for managing graphics and compute workloads or focusing entirely on graphics performance.

To drive this point home, AMD mixed graphics and computing workloads all at once by running the SPECviewperf 13 benchmark on top of a Blender Cycles render task. The company claims that the SPECviewperf suite of tests generally ran at rates professionals would find acceptable for interactive use, while the Quadro P5000 failed to deliver acceptable performance in even one of the SPECviewperf tests under the same mixed workload.

The biggest selling point for the WX 8200 may be its price tag: $999, or slightly more than the retail price of the Quadro P4000 for that potentially Quadro P5000-meeting or -beating performance. The card will go up for pre-order at Newegg tomorrow and should hit e-tail shelves in early September.

AMD will be showing off the WX 8200 at SIGGRAPH alongside an improved version of Radeon ProRender that can perform hybrid rendering with ray-tracing and rasterization, as well as a heterogeneous rendering approach that can put CPU power to work on difficult areas of a rendered scene when it's needed—perhaps an ideal task for the Threadripper 2990WX that's coming to retail tomorrow, as well. Interested pros in Vancouver should check out AMD's booth for more information.

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