AMD FirePro W9100 vs NVIDIA Quadro K6000

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It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a new battle in the workstation GPU wars. Today, we're reviewing the company's FirePro W9100 -- a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290 and R9 290X, but aimed at the workstation market and professional consumers. Does AMD's new card have what it takes to seize the professional performance crown?

The W9100 is a full Hawaii GPU with 2,816 stream processors, 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. It carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU -- a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card.  Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. The W9000 and W9100 have one other major point of differentiation -- each offers support for up to six 4K displays using DisplayPort 1.2. NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at just two DP 1.2 ports. You can still theoretically run more DisplayPort 1.2 displays if you use a hub, but if you want to hook everything up through the video card, AMD has a distinct advantage here.


Find The AMD FirePro W9100 @ Amazon.com

AMD FirePro W9100
Specifications & Features

Memory

  • 16GB GDDR5 memory
  • 512-bit memory interface
  • 320 GB/s memory bandwidth

 Compute Performance

  • 2,816 stream processors (44 compute units)
  • 5.24 TFLOPS peak single-precision floating-point performance
  • 2.62 TFLOPS peak dual-precision floating-point performance

 Display Outputs

  • Six mini DisplayPort 1.2 outputs
  • Maximum DisplayPort 1.2 resolution 4096x2160
  • Maximum DisplayPort 1.1 resolution 2560x1600

 Cooling/Power/Form Factor

  • 275W maximum power consumption
  • Discreet active-cooling solution
  • Full-height/half-length dual-slot form factor
  • PCIe 3.0 compliant, x16 bus interface

API/Features/OS Support

  • DirectX 11.1
  • OpenGL 4.3
  • OpenCL 2.03
  • Shader model: 5.0
  • AMD Eyefinity multidisplay technology support
  • AMD HD3D Pro support via stereoscopic 3-pin mini DIN4
  • DirectGMA support
  • OS Support: Microsoft Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Linux (32- or 64-bit)

 System Requirements

  • Available PCIe x16 (dual-slot), 3.0 for optimal performance
  • A power supply, one PCIe AUX power connector (8-pin) and one PCIe AUX power connector (six-pin)
  • 16GB system memory
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista or Linux operating system (32- or 64-bit)
  • Internet connection for driver installation


Customers who follow the consumer market may be concerned that the W9100 is loud -- the R9 290 and R9 290X are known for it -- but that's not an issue with the higher-end workstation cards. The W9100 is big, though -- AMD ships it with a bracket for stabilizing the card in full-tower cases.

Understanding the Workstation Market:

The first thing we need to talk about is the difference between workstation and consumer GPUs. The GPUs themselves are essentially identical -- NVIDIA's Quadro K6000 is based on GK104 (Kepler) the older Quadro 6000 is a GF100 (Fermi)-based chip, the W9000 uses the same GCN core that powers the HD 7970/R9 280X, and today's W9100 is essentially identical to the Hawaii XT core inside the R9 290X. What sets these workstation cards aside are the amount of RAM they carry (typically 2-3x as much as a consumer card), their validation cycles (workstation GPU cores are hammered on far more than the consumer equivalents) and the amount of backend vendor support and optimization that AMD and NVIDIA both perform.



This optimization process and long-term vendor partnership is what distinguishes the workstation market from the consumer space and the need to pay for some of those development costs is part of why workstation cards tend to cost so much more than their consumer equivalents. Historically, it's a market that NVIDIA has dominated. AMD has begun to reverse this with its high-profile Mac Pro win, but the total workstation GPU market is estimated at 78.8% NVIDIA, 20.6% AMD. Counting strictly Windows and Linux, the market split is 82.8% NVIDIA, 16.5% AMD.  

For our comparison we've put the W9100 up against the newer, Kepler-based Quadro K6000, the older Fermi-based Quadro 6000, and the W9000. 
 

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Comments

Comments
CDeeter 4 months ago

Glad to see such a solid increase in performance from AMD. Competition is what keeps rival companies honest.

kondaments 4 months ago

Please please please include some 'consumer grade' graphics cards as a comparison...

Joel H 4 months ago

That's not really possible. Most of these applications restrict how effectively they run on consumer hardware and neither AMD nor NV warranty or recommend such use. If an application doesn't render properly with a consumer GPU, oh well, too bad.

kondaments 4 months ago

"Most of these applications restrict how effectively they run on consumer hardware"

...yes I know that - but from a sheer statistical numbers point of view it would be very interesting to see how 'restricted' they are.

Joel H 4 months ago

I don't have a way to separate applications that flatly don't run and applications that run terribly due to limited RAM support.

ThomasTaege 4 months ago

It is great to see high levels of competition. Nvidia tends the be the superior company, they need competition to keep improving and giving us new products worth having.

ThaBusDriv3r 4 months ago

I wish that the gaming industry would invest more on AMD graphics cards and work more on them rather than being almost solely Nvidia. Everytime I get an AMD card, I always get some PC guru saying "the game would work way better if you had Nvidia". The cost of the AMD is always what gets me up until recently where the performance was also fantastic. Please Gaming Industry, work with the AMD cards more.

MADSKILLZ412 4 months ago

AMD is really becoming a strong competitor for nvidia. I personally love my gtx 780 ti, but I've used AMD in the past and have gotten many years of enjoyment of their products. It's truly a matter of opinion on which one is better.

potatoos 4 months ago

I am glad to see that AMD is someone competitive in the Adobe applications now. We all love some good old competition.

MADSKILLZ412 3 months ago

I completely agree.

altshep123 3 months ago

Good for AMD. Like CDeeter said, strong competition will be good for all of us. I wasn't sure what the huge differences were between consumer grade GPU's and "gamer" grade. This article made things pretty clear!

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