MachStudio Pro V1.4 free 30 day trial - test it out on the new ATI FirePro line

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 22, 2010
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StudioGPU is now offering a Free 30-Day Trial of MachStudio Pro for Windows PC users.

“See how MachStudio Pro can help you explore and refine your creative options in real-time in full cinematic quality within a true non-linear 3D environment. This 30 day trial is a full featured version of MachStudio Pro and has absolutely no financial obligation or commitment.”

If you have an ATI FirePro card, particularly the DX11-optimized new FirePro line (V4800, V5800, V7800 or V8800) or even a high-performance Radeon HD 5870, this is a great opportunity to check out how MachStudio Pro performs for your CG animation, design or architectural visualization workflow.

Tags: MachStudio

Large scale visualization using 3DVIA on FirePro V8800 using Eyefinity - Laval Virtual 2010

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 21, 2010

At this year’s Laval Virtual 2010 virtual reality conference, Dessault’s 3DVia was shown running on a hi-def system powered by an ATI FirePro V8800 using Eyefinity technology. As noted by the presenter, Eyefinity multi-display technology with full OpenGL 4/DX11 capabilities completely changes the way people deploy large scale visualizations - making it simple to deploy and maintain.

Tags: Eyefinity

Hot Hardware’s ATI FirePro Round-up: V7800, V4800, V3800

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 17, 2010
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Hot Hardware adds to their earlier review of the FirePro V8800 with a new round of real-world reviews covering the rest of the new FirePro line: the high-end V7800, the mid-range V5800, an entry-level V4800, and super affordable V3800. 

Takeaway quotes:

“Within the workstation and professional graphics world, ATI is currently dominating the scene. They are providing consumers with a full product line of FirePro cards that span the entire performance spectrum, with prices ranging from $109 all the way up to $1499. Much like the desktop market, ATI is months ahead of NVIDIA in getting products launched and available for purchase.”

“On average, the V7800 consistently performed within 11% of the V8800 in both synthetic and real world benchmarks. That point alone is impressive to us, especially when you look at the cost of each card ($799 vs $1499). But it also finished ahead of the V8750 in 8 of the 11 benchmarks we ran, trumping last year’s flagship model and making it a legitimate high end workstation graphics card. Our SANDRA GPGPU testing put the V7800 ahead of the older V8750 by 65% in Compute Shader results and 40% for Stream processing performance. In many ways, the V7800 delivered and workstation professionals should take note of what ATI was able to do with a single slot cooling solution.”

In reference to the 38800 and 4800: “we expected to compare the two entry level cards to one another, but the results pushed us in a different direction. Why? Because the V4800 outperformed expectations during our real world testing. This affordable GPU did not perform like an entry level product. Looking at our SPECviewperf scores, the V4800 came within roughly 6% of the performance displayed by the V7800. On the other hand, our synthetic OpenGL and GPGPU benchmarks told a different story. Cinebench showed the V7800 to be almost twice as fast as the V4800, while SANDRA scored it over three times faster.”

Read full article…

Video interview from AutoDesk OTC talks about ATI FirePro certification for CAD

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 17, 2010

This video interview with AMD's Allen Bourgoyne, at the AutoDesk One Team Conference back in early March, talks about the new line of ATI FirePro workstation graphics accelerators and specifically mentions the certification process. I often see mention on several graphics sites about modding FirePro drivers to work on their near-spec-equivalent Radeon consumer version, so I thought this might be a good place to talk about what certification means - really.

Both the Radeon and FirePro cards and drivers are tested for AutoCAD and other DCC/CAD application. But only the FirePro gets certified.

Certified means:

  • The card is tested extensively so that it operates as expected in the application using its driver - no unexpected clipping or unusual shading when viewing CAD objects. The driver makes specific assumptions about the board hardware, so even if a Radeon HD 5870 and a FirePro V8800 share 98% of the same hardware, the workstation driver and the certification is based on testing specifically for the professional hardware. So for example, the CAD- tuned performance with the FirePro V8800 assumes 2GB GDDR5 memory checking in at 1150MHz, support for the S400 Synchronization Module, clock differences, etc. With the Radeon card and drivers (modded or shipping), there is no guarantee of the performance - you simply have to accept that wire frames may peek out of shaded surfaces, and clipping can occur when multiple objects are animated. These artifacts simply don't occur when using the certified FirePro cards.

  • You get support. Buy a FirePro card and you have a direct line to support from both the CAD vendor and from ATI. This counts mostly when you are in the middle of a time-sensitive project and suddenly your card is not performing as you expected.

In both cases I think the key point is that for professional CAD, Medical imaging and DCC, the cost of the software and the FirePro workstation graphics card is in-material compared to the cost of the people running the software/hardware. If the modeler or artist is waiting for screen re-draws or experiences unpredictable rendering behavior, or can't get support, that’s productivity lost.

Note: the video interview is obviously pretty scripted, but the specific mention of certification made it worth sharing. The other thing that I found interesting was the use of the word Fusion...

Tags: CAD, Hardware

OpenCL 1.1 announced - to be supported by AMD Fusion APUs (combined GPU & CPU acceleration)

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 14, 2010
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Khronos announced OpenCL 1.1.

OpenCL 1.1 adds significant functionality for enhanced parallel programming flexibility, functionality and performance on the GPU and CPU including:

  • New data types including 3-component vectors and additional image formats;
  • Handling commands from multiple hosts and processing buffers across multiple devices;
  • Operations on regions of a buffer including read, write and copy of 1D, 2D or 3D rectangular regions;
  • Enhanced use of events to drive and control command execution;
  • Additional OpenCL C built-in functions such as integer clamp, shuffle and asynchronous strided copies;
  • Improved OpenGL interoperability through efficient sharing of images and buffers by linking OpenCL and OpenGL events.
Tags: OpenCL, OpenGL

Getting more for less is never a bad thing, especially in GPUs - Icrontic reviews ATI FirePro V8800

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 11, 2010

Icronic reviews the ATI FirePro V8800 and compares it to the FirePro V7800, V5800, V4800, and V3800 as well at the Quadro FX3800, using Cinebench R10, Cinebench R11, and SPECViewPerf 10.

General takeaways:

- ATI has upped the ante of real time OpenGL performance in their newest generation of workstation GPUs

- The lightning quick performance and superb feature set are more than enough to offset the pangs of heat production and power use, so long as you have enough space to house the card. The addition of Eyefinity Multi-Display alone makes the V8800 a perfect solution for artists who spend too much time alt+tabbing through work. I can guarantee if you get a chance to work with the FirePro V8800, you will not be disappointed in any way. This card is spectacular.

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Tags: Benchmarks, CAD

Do you want one large monitor or three small monitors?  Add your vote!

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 10, 2010
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SolidWorks “Lets Go Design” site has a poll running until June 16: Do you want one large monitor or three small monitors?

I have a gigantic 27in screen and I use it to its fullest, but if I could have three screens with even more resolution, of course I would go for it (My vote is obviously “three smaller monitors”). 

Not only is it visually easier to digest, I think it is easier to organize your applications per display.  SolidWorks on one screen,  PhotoShop on another, and my ever-present mail and web browser on a third.  That way I don’t get the overlap problems that I typically encounter with my big screen.  I can of course use workspaces, but that requires set up- rather than on-the-fly adjustments.

Got an opinion?  Vote and then comment here if you want.

Tags: CAD, Eyefinity

AEC Magazine review of FirePro V8800 performance and EyeFinity

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 09, 2010
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Greg Corke (of Develop3D fame) has written a review of the FirePro V8800 for AEC Magazine.

The take away:
“The FirePro V8800 certainly delivers the frame rates, but what many architects and engineers may find more exciting about the product is the potential for Eyefinity. Being able to drive a powerwall from a single machine is an exciting proposition, and one that could help bring large scale visualisation and clash detection into the hands of smaller organisations. But, transforming a desktop into an extended 3D accelerated workspace is even more compelling and with display prices tumbling all the time, well within reach of all companies, big and small. As more and more architect and engineers get involved with simulation, rendering and design direct on the desktop the timing could not be better.”

ATI FirePro V8800 with Eyefinity powering 3 projectors on a curved monitor

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 03, 2010

I wrote about using Eyefininty with a curved monitor with a video example from PC Perspective.  But today I came across this great still image of an immersive display by Scalable for Windows 7 desktops using a single FirePro V8800.  If this display was gesture sensitive, it would be Minority Report!

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Tags: Eyefinity

AMD 2010 Computex press conference video on-demand - demo of Fusion Accelerated Processing Units

Posted by Tony DeYoung on June 02, 2010

At yesterday’s Computex Press Conference, AMD unveiled their first demo of Fusion APU - the integration of the CPU and GPU into a single die.

From AMD’s senior vice president of technology & development, Rick Bergman,  “This explosion in multimedia requires new applications and new ways to manage and manipulate data. Low resolution video needs to be up-scaled for larger screens, HD video must be shrunk for smart phones, and home movies need to be stabilized and cleaned up for more enjoyable viewing. When AMD formally launches the AMD Fusion family of APUs, scheduled for the first half of in 2011, we expect the PC experience to evolve dramatically.”

The first APUs are expected to ship in the first half of 2011,  the 32nm “Llano”  for desktops and the 40nm “Ontario” for notebooks/netbooks.  Microsoft is actively working with AMD for high performance DX11.

The on-demand press conference video is available here.
Bergman starts speaking about the APU at about 44 min into the press conference.  Importantly (to me) he or colleagues mention growing support for OpenGL and OpenCL!

Below is a demo of an early prototype Fusion mobile(?) processor playing a DX11 game.

Tags: DX11, Hardware
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