AMD Debuts New FirePro Processors With CPU, GPU Capabilities


AMD Tuesday unveiled the first-ever APUs in its FirePro lineup of processors for entry-level and mainstream desktop workstations.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chip maker also grew its traditional family of FirePro GPUs, announcing separately the launch of its new W9000, W8000, W7000 and W5000 workstation graphics cards.

The new FirePro A300 and A320 APUs, however, are unique in the sense that they are the first in AMD's FirePro series to combine the compute performance of both a traditional CPU and graphics-based GPU. This combined APU architecture equips workstation OEMs and integrators with "highly-tuned performance and robust feature support," AMD said, optimized for compute-intensive workflows, such as computer-aided design (CAD).

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"The AMD FirePro A300 Series APUs combines AMD FirePro graphics technology with advanced CPU technology, delivering incredible compute performance, refined design flexibility and outstanding efficiency," said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD Graphics, in a statement.

Both the FirePro A300 and A320 feature four CPU cores and 384 GPU Stream processors. The A320 is the faster of the two, with a GPU clock speed of 800 MHz and a CPU clock of 4.2 GHz. The slightly lower-end A300 has a GPU clock speed of 760 MHz, a CPU clock speed of 4 GHz, and is also locked, unlike the A320.

AMD said it integrated its Turbo Core technology into both APUs to take full advantage of their hybrid CPU and GPU architectures. Turbo Core allows the chips to dynamically scale and balance workstation workloads between the CPU and GPU, a feature AMD said yields an overall smoother and more responsive user experience.

The chip maker's Eyefinity Technology is also included natively in the FirePro APUs, allowing users to display applications across multiple desktop monitors.

AMD manufactures other APUs, such as E-Series of chips, for use in entry-level notebooks and desktop PCs. In June, the chip maker launched its new Brazos 2.0 E-Series APUs, which it said were optimized for PCs running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 OS and Metro-style user interface.

The FirePro A300 and A320 APUs will be available in systems from a number of workstation integrators starting in August of 2012, AMD said, withholding pricing details.

Its new FirePro W9000, W8000, W7000, W5000 workstation GPUs, which AMD said deliver increased memory bandwidth and greater multi-display support than prior-generation FirePro GPUs, are available now through AMD resellers and are also supported in Supermicro SuperWorkstations.

PUBLISHED AUG. 7, 2012