Electronic Design

FireGL V8650 For Workstations

The hype for video tends to be around the gaming industry, but boards targeted for these applications do not necessarily address the broad range of applications, like high-performance workstation chores. Still, some of the requirements are similar, so it is not surprising that AMD ATI (formally ATI) has a range of graphics processors from the low-end of embedded integration through its Radeon consumer products to the FireGL (Fig. 1). The latter is designed for workstation applications like digital content creation and medical imaging. We took a look at the current top-of-the-line ATI FireGL V8650. The PCI Express-based board pushes parallel processing with 2Gbytes of memory — most high-end consumer boards only have 1Gbyte of memory. A 256-bit ring-bus memory controller provides access to memory. It supports 16-bit RGB component support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering. The board employs 128-bit full floating point. The board can drive Dual Link widescreen DVI-I outputs at resolutions up to 2560 by 1600 pixels, while a single link can handle up to 3840 by 2400 pixels (9 Mpixels). It can also drive dual VGA displays. HD Component Video (YPrPb) output exists, although it lacks the HDMI support found in consumer products. Multiple cards can be employed for multiple display support and stereoscopic 3D display capabilities are standard. This can be very useful in imaging applications that can generate this type of display from captured or computed data. The Unified Shader architecture incorporates 320 processing units. It has full Shader Model 4.0 support for the vertex and pixel shaders. The system has the power to deliver high frame rates but it excels at real-time rendering of more complex and realistic images. Software drivers include DirectX 10 and OpenGL 2.1 with hardware acceleration for more advanced features. Drivers are available for Linux and Windows in 32- and 64-bit versions. There are lower end versions of the board if your compute and display requirements are not extreme. Still, if you are looking for the high-end solution and need the power of the V8650, then it is definitely worth a look. Related Links AMD

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