AMD's FirePro W9100 is its most powerful graphics card so far

The AMD FirePro W9100 boasts 16GB of RAM, is designed for 4K video editing and VFX, and you can put four of them in one workstation – but its power requirements are enormous

The FirePro W9100 is AMD’s most powerful workstation-class graphics card – ie one that’s qualified for use with professional level creative applications from Premiere Pro and After Effects to Maya and CAD tools. Against its competition from Nvidia, AMD says the £2,100 plus VAT FirePro W9100 is priced between the Nvidia Quadro K5000 (currently available for around £1,350 plus VAT) and Quadro K6000 (£3,800 plus VAT) but is more powerful than either – and has published benchmarks to show this. Though as always, we take all manufacturer-published specs with a pinch of salt and will reserve judgement until we’ve had a chance to fully review the card ourselves.

Launching at the NAB post-production and broadcast trade show in Las Vegas, AMD's focus for the W9100 is on 4K video editing. AMD is making a big deal of the card’s support for the current generation of Open CL, which enables the graphics card to process intensive non-3D tasks such as video encoding and real-time effects and colour correction – even with 4K video. It also supports Open CL 2.0, which should be used by future versions of editing and VFX software.  

On the subject of 4K, the FirePro W9100 can drive up to six 4K displays through its six mini DisplayPort outputs – though this is more applicable for commercial display or financial trading systems. Most video pros will be happy with two 4K displays, or two HD displays for your application’s UI and a 4K output monitor (which may not even be connected to the W9100, but rather to post-specific hardware from the likes of AJA or Blackmagic).

For the most intensive work, AMD notes that you can put up to four FirePro W9100’s in a single workstation to create what it’s calling an Ultra Workstation. These will be available from industry vendors such as Workstation Specialists, who will create workstations that can deliver the 1,100W that four of these cards together will need. A single W9100 requires 275W – an important detail not divulged at last month’s sneak peek – which means system builders, or anyone hoping to upgrade their current workstation with this card, will have to ensure their power supply can accommodate this.

Tech specs include:

  • 5.24TFLOPS of peak single-precision GPU compute performance
  • 2.62TFLOPS of peak double-precision GPU compute performance
  • 16GB of GDDR5 memory with a 512-bit memory interface and 320GBps memory bandwidth
  • 275W power consumption (through 8-pin and 6-pin connectors)
  • PCI-E 3.0

We currently have a AMD FirePro W9100 in our test labs and will publish a full review when it’s complete – which will take longer than we expected as we’ve had to upgrade the PSU on our test workstation to allow for the massive power demands.


Elsewhere on IDG sites

Read Next...