AMD FirePro APUs: Will Workstation Integrators Say Yes?
AMD (NYSE: AMD) rolled out its first-ever FirePro Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), the A300 and A320, for entry-level and mainstream desktop workstations, aimed at users requiring high-performance computing horsepower and graphics such as computer-aided design (CAD) and media and entertainment professionals. Will the FirePro A300 and A320 APUs attractive workstation integrators and OEMs? Here are some clues.
There could be some channel appeal here. The reason: The blending of CPU and GPU performance in a single processor chip, prompting new workstation designs without yielding performance and reliability, according to AMD. The new AMD offerings arrive as CEO Rory Read seeks to strengthen the company’s business. Read is a former Lenovo executive who has deep channel experience.
The A300 Series APUs will be available in systems from a number of workstation integrators starting in August of 2012, AMD said. The company did not disclose pricing.
“Design professionals demand workstation-class tools that enable productivity and flexibility in their workflow, and the AMD FirePro A300 Series APUs enable workstation integrators and OEMs an exciting new computing platform on which to design and build powerful, entry-level desktop workstation configurations that deliver unbeatable value for CAD and M&E workflows,” said Matt Skynner, AMD Graphics corporate vice president and general manager.
Key features include:
- Eyefinity Technology to display applications on multiple monitors.
- AMD Turbo Core technology to dynamically scale CPU and GPU performance depending on workload demands
- Supports horizontal display resolutions up to 10,240 x 1600 pixels
- Supports Discrete Compute Offload (DCO), allowing additional compute capability by using discrete AMD FirePro GPUs with APU graphics
- 30-bit color support for advanced workflows such as color correction and image processing when using displays capable of 10-bit-per-channel operation
- Dedicated UVD (universal video decoder/VCE, or video CODEC engine) media encoding hardware for faster “fixed function” GPU processing of H.264/MPEG4 files and other motion media formats
AMD also added to its FirePro GPU line with the new W9000, W8000, W7000 and W5000 workstation graphics cards. AMD called the W9000 “the most powerful workstation graphics card ever created” and said that the W8000, W7000 and W5000 are built on AMD Graphics Core Next Architecture, designed to efficiently balance compute and 3D workloads. The FirePro W9000, W8000, and W7000 can drive up to six, 30-inch independent displays via Multi-Stream Transport (MST) hubs for maximum workspace utilization at 4096×2160 resolutions.