PRODUCT: ATI’s Fire GL V7300 and V7350
WEB SITE: www.ati.com
PRICING: The FireGL V7300 is $1,599. The V7350 is $1,999.
- First graphics accelerator with 1GB memory
- Great price/performance at ultra high-end
- New Avivo display technology
SANTA CLARA, CA — A few weeks back I sat in ATI’s offices, here, preparing for what I thought would be a fairly routine presentation on some new mid-range or possibly high-end workstation products. My modest expectations were pleasantly exceeded when I was treated to a demonstration of ATI’s first entries into the ultra high-end graphics market.
Demonstrated for me that day were ATI’s new FireGL V7300 and FireGL V7350 graphics accelerators. These products prove that ATI is quite ready to enter the ultra high-end marketplace. The price and performance of these new products indicates that they are prepared to give their competition a run for their money in this arena. Currently ATI captures about 42 percent of the overall workstation graphics market. With the introduction of these ultra high-end products, that percentage should increase.
Workstation manufacturers have noticed ATI’s serious efforts and achievements. Will Wade, worldwide workstation graphics product manager for HP comments, “ATI has come a long way in the last couple of years and has systematically developed successful products for the different market segments with the performance, features and pricing that resonate with end users. The FireGL V7350 is the latest example of this and we’ve certified it because it meets the needs of our customers looking for an ultra high-end graphics with large memory capability and mission-critical stability.”
By the time you read this, it will be “old news,” but the FireGL V7350 was the first graphics card released and shipping with 1GB of GDDR3 memory. Yep, one full beautiful GB of the good stuff. That’s an incredible amount of memory, but as users doing any kind of work with complex modeling and shading will tell you, they’ll take all you can throw at them. Being the first to bring out a graphics card with 1GB of memory is a strong indicator on how serious ATI is about playing in the ultra high-end market. The FireGL V7300 sports 512MB of memory, which is sufficient for many users, especially since it has the exact same processing power as the FireGL V7350 and can save users some money if they don’t need the extra memory-related performance.
Other features of the FireGL V7300 and FireGL V7350 include eight vertex processors, 16 Pixel Pipes, 128-bit Floating Point Precision, Shader Model 3.0 functionality, DirectX 9/OpenGL 2.0 compatible, 256-bit memory interface and 512-bit ring bus architecture. ATI is also introducing a new feature set of image quality improvements they call Avivo Display Technology. For these products it means a 10-bit rendering pipeline, 64-bit per Pixel Display Output (over one Trillion colors displayed!), Quad-buffered Stereo 3D, two dual-link DVI-I outputs, H.264 up to 1080i, and HD Component Video Out (YPbPr). Both products are also Framelock and Genlock ready with an Advanced I/O daughter card delivered in the second half of 2006. Finally, both products are Windows Vista certified.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
For a taste of what the horsepower inside the FireGL V7300 and V7350 can do, Danny Shapiro, ATI’s senior marketing manager for the workstation products group, gave me a demonstration of their quality and realtime visualization power. The first was a realtime automobile demonstration to be used at automotive sales outlets that don’t have the space to bring in the actual product. Initially it seemed like a nicely-rendered animation, very rich in texture detail, lighting, colors, etc. It was difficult to tell if the automobile on the screen was an HD video clip. Shapiro pointed out that this HD 3D animation was being created by the FireGL V7350 on the fly in realtime. The car moved down a road at ultra-high resolutions, with reflections, textures, shadows and 64-bit per pixel, high dynamic range imaging.
Next was a demo called the “toy shop.” It was a city street scene near a toy shop at night, in the rain. We moved around the street and inside the toy shop. Once more, the scene was created in realtime with ultra-high resolution details. From the texture on the brick buildings, the raindrops in the puddles and rain dripping down the storefront windows, these realistic details were created using over 700 realtime shaders processed by the FireGL V7350.
The advanced technology of the FireGL V7300 and V7350 will eventually trickle down to other ATI products. These new products send a strong message that ATI is here to compete in the ultra high-end market. As Shapiro put it, “We are really excited to add these ultra high-end products to our workstation family because they mean content creators and designers will have absolutely the most powerful graphics and visualization technology at very attractive prices.”
ATI has set a new standard for price-performance at the ultra high-end, and the new competition at this level will only be good for the entire industry.