By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
If you stop a sec and give it a thought, your desktop computer is really a wonderful thing. With it you write snarky posts on some blog, crunch numbers, model and analyze parts, make dinner reservations, record measurements, check sports scores, animate a your vacation slides, visit totally inane websites, control machinery, and, to quote Yul Brenner, etc., etc., etc. Such a malleable device. A masterful orchestration of hardware and software that enlivens your life’s whims, imagination, and needs. They keep getting better. And less expensive. A great example of this came over the wire recently.
AMD announced its new FirePro V4900 graphics card. Now, this is an entry-level card in the AMD pantheon of graphic accelerators for engineering professionals. Still — get this — AMD says that it provides more than double the performance of competitive offerings in many CAD and DCC application tests like SPECviewperf that DE’s David Cohn beats on when reviewing workstations. In other words, it has the oomph to handle your medium to large models.
A neat thing about the FirePro V4900 is that it uses AMD’s advanced graphics technologies like AutoDetect for optimizing performance for multi-application workflows. And it also has AMD Eyefinity technology for panning across multiple displays — the FirePro V4900 can support three independent displays.
Here are some specs: a new generation 1GB GPU, 64 GB/s memory bandwidth, parallel processing architecture featuring 480 stream processors, a 30-bit display pipeline, and 2560×1600 maximum resolution at 60Hz. It has been certified and optimized for applications like Abaqus/CAE 6.11, ANSYS 13.0, Autodesk 2012, EnSight CFD, Patran and SimXpert, SolidWorks 2011 and 2012, SpaceClaim, and a bunch of stuff from Siemens PLM Software. Dell, Fujitsu, and HP will be offering it a range of systems, according to AMD.
But here’s the spec that really caught my eye: AMD says that the FirePro V4900 will be available through select online resellers for $189 (MSRP). Geez, even a lowly writer clicking out words for 30 shekels like me can afford that. All this boils down to is that now you can upgrade that home computer, extend the life of a graying workstation, or get a brand spanking new workstation for that new kid and know that these machines can do what needs to be done — and without you having a second thought about it. (BTW, if you’re thinking of upgrading an existing system, the FirePro V4900’s minimum system requirements are indeed minimum, so no sweat there.)
All in all, this sounds pretty neat. You can learn more about the AMD FirePro V4900 from today’s Pick of the Week write-up. Hit the links at the end of the write-up for full details.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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