Last year, AMD launched its WX 9100, a Vega-based Radeon Pro GPU with substantially higher performance and more ROPs than its previous GPUs, but a significantly higher price tag as well, at $2,200. Today, the company is following up that launch with a substantially cheaper WX 8200 at less than half the price.
The WX 8200 packs 3,584 GPU cores instead of 4,096, analogous to AMD’s Vega 56 consumer GPU, with 64 ROPS and slightly faster (2.0Gbps, up from 1.89Gbps) HBM2. Memory capacity is halved to 8GB, down from 16GB. Single and half-precision performance are modestly lower (10.8TFLOPS versus 12.3TFLOPs and 21.5TFLOPS versus 24.6TFLOPS, respectively).
What we have here, then, is an attempt by AMD to capture a more competitive position for its professional Vega cards by coming in well below previous price points. The card should be well-aligned given the competitive market. A Quadro P4000, for example, is based on GP104, but fields just 1,792 GPU cores in a configuration that’s actually a bit below the GTX 1070 as far as cores, texture mapping units, and ROPS. It sells for $800.
Given that the Vega 56 is typically measured as being about 8 percent faster than a GTX 1070 when running at a slightly lower clock speed, the new WX 8200 would be competitive if we were talking about consumer markets — but we aren’t. And in professional markets, performance has tended to favor Nvidia overall, thanks to optimization strategies and long-time professional software optimization expertise. That’s a nut that AMD has been trying to crack for years now, with varying degrees of success.
AMD is claiming that the new WX 8200 is a match for Nvidia’s P4000 and P5000 in applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, Maya, Nuke, Radeon Pro Render (its own rendering software) and the Blender Cycles engine. Its performance in other applications does not stack up as well, though it can be said to generally well with the P4000, with several wins and losses against that GPU.
AMD has been trying to muscle in on the software side, with new partnerships and software investments, as well as making a push into AI and machine learning. The company’s overall engagement on the professional and HPC sides of the GPU business hasn’t historically matched Nvidia, but there’ll be a fresh chance to try again at 7nm, with its first line of Vega products built on that process node and specifically intended for that market. The WX 8200 is expected to be on sale in early September and should be available for pre-order today at Newegg.
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