It was very quiet around AMD’s Radeon Pro portfolio of professional workstations for quite some time, which also rely on certified drivers and ECC-RAM, because especially in the professional environment such standards have to be met. While NVIDIA has been left almost without a fight for months, the three new graphics solutions presented today finally send new competitors onto the market. NVIDIA had already begun to gradually supplement the Quadro RTX series from top to bottom with RTX-A models parallel to the launch of the new GeForce generation based on Ampere last year.
While the Quadro RTX A6000 has been available for quite some time, the Quadro RTX A4000 is still in short supply (for the time being), which might also be due to the current situation on the hardware market. According to AMD, the now-unveiled Radeon PRO W6000 workstation graphics cards offer “exceptional performance, stability, reliability and a host of innovative features.” AMD, as it sees it, has developed these new graphics offerings to support demanding architectural design workloads, ultra-high-resolution media projects, complex design and engineering simulations, and advanced image and video editing applications.
The following images were taken with a Sony A7R, cropped on the workstation with the Radeon Pro W6800 and Adobe Lightroom Classic and downsized and post-processed with Topaz Gigapixel AI (although there is still a lot of potential in the workflow, which is probably due to Topaz Labs).
Of course, many things in the slides below are a bit cherry-picked, but you can definitely see AMD’s desire to regain a foothold in the margin-heavy professional sector. Of course, all these efforts are also a question of the available resources and priorities, but with RDNA2 the conditions in some sectors are not bad at all, if you take a look at the more detailed data sheets and product information on the following pages.
What and how much of the plans will really arrive in practice is of course first of all up to AMD and the hoped for consistency of the further development, but also up to the acceptance of the customers, who have to be convinced again to buy another product. In my view, this is the most important factor at the end of the supply chain, because often enough, advanced technologies have failed not because of themselves and supposed sacrifices in performance and productivity, but simply because of rejection by users or unfounded reservations.
AMD will have to proactively change that, too, if they want to regain a foothold in the development and planning offices. The large companies and (mostly) sponsored lighthouse projects listed in such slides are only a side note when it comes to broad market penetration, because in the end it is not the individual end customer that counts, but the large manufacturers of finished workstations and the system houses concerned. If you have them all on your side and can convince them, then it will automatically work out with the end user and individual customer. AMD will now have to manage this construction site better than before.
The AMD Radeon PRO W6000 series workstation graphics products are packed with new capabilities and features, here’s a summary from AMD:
- Based on the advanced 7nm manufacturing process, the AMD RDNA 2 architecture introduces a number of advanced features that take professional graphics to a new level of performance and efficiency.
- Enhanced Compute Units (CU) with Ray Accelerators provide up to 46 percent faster rendering than Radeon PRO graphics cards running on previous generation architectures in SOLIDWORKS Visualize 20211.
- Variable Rate Shading (VRS) support delivers photorealistic viewports and real-time rendering.
- Up to 128MB on GPU die integrated load-level data cache (Infinity Cache) to reduce latency and power consumption.
- The Radeon PRO 6800 offers the highest RDNA workstation GPU performance to date.
- Smart Access Memory (SAM) enables higher performance for critical professional workloads by giving AMD Ryzen 5000 Series desktop processors or select AMD Ryzen 3000 Series desktop processors access to all GDDR6 graphics memory.
- AMD Radeon PRO Viewport Boost for professional workloads and compatible software to increase viewport performance (frames per second) with project file size.
- Certified for leading professional applications – AMD continues to work with leading professional software application vendors to ensure AMD Radeon PRO graphics cards are built for demanding 24/7 environments and tested to exceptional standards to deliver the stability and reliability demanded by workstation professionals. The list of certified applications can be found here.