AMD FirePro W8100 002

Having released their flagship GPU the very powerful FirePro W9100, AMD follow up with the W8100 which is based on the same Hawaii architecture. The W9100 has 16GB of memory and could be seen as too much for some CG artists as well as expensive. The W8100 has just 8GB of memory which is ample for the majority of interior and product visualisation to date.

M36H-AW1200 with W8100b
The W8100 as well as the W9100 can be found as part of the specialist workstation range from Armari Ltd.

W9100 and W8100 comparison

AMD FirePro W8100 AMD FirePro W9100
Stream Processors 2560 2816
Core Clock (MHz) 824 930
Architecture Hawaii GCN 1.1 Hawaii GCN 1.1
Price when reviewed £1,424.84 £2,044.34

Stream processors have been lowered to 2560 and the core clock has also been lowered to 824MHz. This makes the W8100 a cut down version of the W9100 that draws less power whilst maintaining a place as a professional workstation GPU that also comes with a respectable price drop.

Rendering performance benchmark in V-Ray RT

In the interior benchmark test the W8100 rendered the scene in 3 minutes and 31 seconds, compared to the W9100 that rendered the scene in 2 minutes 55 seconds. This makes the W8100 only just 17% slower.

V-Ray RT 3.00.07 - AMD W9100 - OpenCL 14.20

In our studio lighting environment the W8100 reached 511 paths per pixel in 3 minutes 39 seconds, compared to the W9100 which reached the same result in 2 minutes 44 seconds.

Bike V-Ray RT 3.00.07 - AMD W9100 - OpenCL 14.20

Interactive performance in Active Shade mode

In the video below we see how long V-Ray RT takes to start up in OpenCL mode and test the viewport frames per second as we pan zoom and rotate. Finally we left RT running for a couple of minutes to see what the rendered result would look like and how quickly it reduces noise in this type of scene.

V-Ray RT takes about a minute to get started with our test scene however this will vary from scene to scene as some will load quicker than others. Once it is up and running the interactivity is smooth as you can see from the frame per second and alterations to the scene update quickly keeping productivity at a high.

Our thoughts

The W8100 is once again a worthy professional workstation GPU from AMD. As a single GPU it offers performance in both the viewport and for final frame rendering. Certainly for CG artists who work on a single workstation this GPU should be considered. Although you may not quite get the rendering speed we see from a gaming GPU such as the NVIDIA GTX TITAN, you can have V-Ray RT running in GPU mode and continuing to work on your scene whilst experiencing no viewport lag which is a task gaming GPUs struggle with when compared to professional workstation GPUs.

With little performance loss between the W8100 and the W9100, you get more performance for your money due to the price drop. As GPU rendering develops and more features are being supported, certainly the need for more memory will increase however for the types of CG scenes we have today the reduced 8GB memory is a more realistic requirement. Like the W9100 the W8100 also supports APP technology so you can run the CPU as an additional OpenCL device.