Will AMD's new CAD-centric FirePro W4300 graphics card also be good for film?

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

AMD / RedShark NewsAMD FirePro W4300

AMD has unveiled the FirePro W4300, which promises unparalleled performance for CAD users (for GPUs in its class). But does it make sense for film professionals?

Apparently, AMD has been hard at work behind the scenes these past months, prepping the release of the FirePro W4300, a powerful, "low profile" GPU aimed at the CAD market. Of course, CAD users and film editors and post professionals are different types of users with workflows unique to their respective disciplines, but there's enough overlap in needs that the AMD FirePro W4300 warrants discussion.

Intriguing Specs

The AMD FirePro W4300 features 4GB of GDDR5 memory, which is well-under, say, a Nividia Titan Z's 12GB, but what you lose in memory, you gain in lower power consumption and smaller footprint. The FirePro W4300 only pulls 50W maximum. When you consider the stated capabilities of this GPU, there's a lot to like from that moderate power draw.

Two of AMD's proprietary technologies, Eyefinity and FreeSync, enable this GPU to run up to six UHD displays and control display rate of each, which should be of interest to those in post. AMD also touts 5K display support, but we assume that will cut down on the number of displays that can be run at one time.

One note: in order to connect six UHD displays, all displays need to have Display Port 1.2a connectivity and must be connected via an Multi-Stream (MST)-enabled hub.

For Further Review

When we get our hands on the FirePro W4300, we'll put it through its paces and deliver a more definitive review concerning its suitability for film professionals. In the meantime, check out the AMD's full press release for the FirePro W4300 below.

Full Press Release

AMD Launches the Industry’s Best Performing Low Profile Graphics Card for CAD for Both Small Form Factor and Tower Workstations

AMD FirePro™ W4300 low profile graphics card boasts unprecedented flexibility in its class.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Dec. 1, 2015 — Today at Autodesk University 2015,  AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) unveiled the AMD FirePro™ W4300 for the best Computer-Aided Design (CAD) performance that fits both small form factor (SFF) and tower workstations. The AMD FirePro W4300 card expertly integrates a powerful GPU and 4GB of GDDR5 memory within a low-profile design for installation in SFF as well as full-sized systems. Organizations can now confidently simplify their IT management by standardizing on a single, capable professional graphics solution throughout their workstation deployment.

The AMD FirePro W4300 professional graphics card is optimized for the latest CAD applications including Autodesk® AutoCAD, Inventor as well as Revit®, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks® and CATIA®, PTC Creo®, Siemens NX™, and many more. Engineering professionals can efficiently work with large geometry-intense models and apply GPU-accelerated features in their projects, such as the new Order Independent Transparency (OIT) mode supported in SOLIDWORKS. Users can help increase productivity by visualizing their workflows across up to six displays, and up to 4K and 5K resolution.

"We designed the AMD FirePro W4300 specifically for CAD," said Sean Burke, corporate vice president and general manager, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. "CAD users rely on AMD FirePro graphics cards to enable their application features to best visualize their designs, and now can continue to do so without having to compromise by using the latest energy efficient, small form factor workstations."

Based on AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture to optimize utilization and maximize performance, the AMD FirePro W4300 card features:

4GB GDDR5 GPU memory for large projects helping to improve workflow application responsiveness.

AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology that allows the use of up to six ultra-high resolution displays, helping users to multitask across multiple applications and displays with ease.
Four DisplayPort 1.2a connections standard (with support for up to six DisplayPort monitors via MST-enabled hub) and AMD FreeSync™ technology that enables GPU control of the display refresh rate for tear-free display updates, critical for media and entertainment applications and workflows.

OpenCL™ 2.0 support enabling developers to take advantage of new features that give GPUs more freedom to do the work they are designed to do.

Unique power monitoring and management technologies plus the maximum power consumption of 50W in a low-profile form factor. AMD PowerTune technology dynamically optimizes GPU power usage and AMD ZeroCore Power technology significantly reduces power consumption at idle.

Certification on more than 100 different applications for improved performance and reliability, including the most popular design and engineering and media and entertainment applications. AMD FirePro™ professional graphics drivers are released several times each year and include performance and feature improvements.

The AMD FirePro W4300 professional graphics card is currently in production -- contact local distributors for availability. Availability from major workstation OEMs is planned for 2016. For more information, contact the AMD Professional Graphics Team by email: AMD.ProfessionalGraphics@amd.com

From December 1 to 3, AMD FirePro products are on display in booth 426 at Autodesk University 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tags: Post & VFX

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