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By Tom Lansford, January 15, 2013
This article appeared originally on CADplace.com.
Dassault Systèmes annual gathering of customers and partners, 3DExperience, this year in the capital of the European Union, Brussels, provided the perfect backdrop for AMD's professional FirePro line of graphics solutions for workstations, servers, and tablets.
Dassault Systèmes customers are among the most demanding customers. They appreciate the capabilities of the professional graphics solutions which can provide productivity boost in the office, on the road or from the data center. Solutions on display at 3DExperience this year in the Fujitsu-AMD booth included an AMD FirePro equipped Fujitsu workstation, a Fujitsu 1-U remote graphics workstation with an AMD FirePro W7000, and a technology demonstration of a Windows 8 tablet running an AMD FirePro version of an AMD APU. Together, these solutions provide professional workstation graphics performance and reliability for almost any customer scenario.
Dassault Systèmes laid out their unique vision to create a 3DExperience platform which can enable not only design and creation but also enable the experience of your products and ideas. To do this visionary work, professionals need more computing power for the 3DExperience platform marries design, engineering, simulation, and visualization in order to enable a true, 3D experience. While Dassault Systèmes created the V6 platform to enable the software solution side, the graphics and computing experts at AMD have been producing hardware solutions to raise the level of compute and graphics performance which is the complementary side of the Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience vision.
|Matthias Willecke, AMD Senior Business Development Manager, describes the benefits of a multiple display Eyefinity configuration|
Let us see the three specific solutions presented by AMD in Brussels – certainly there are other AMD solutions like the AMD FirePro graphics for mobile workstations. Here, we address multi-monitor desktop workstation graphics, remote workstation / server-based graphics, and the technology demonstration of a workstation-level APU (CPU+GPU) solution for professional tablets.
The Fujitsu workstation was running a new FirePro W series GPU with a 3 display Eyefinity configuration with the monitor setup in portrait mode rather than landscape mode. This slight change was very useful to demonstrate an alternative configuration for engineers which delivers a very high-resolution workspace but is simultaneously more compact.
The AMD FirePro products can support up to six displays from a single graphics card as seen in this CADplace exclusive video. We have pointed out before that a multiple display configuration provides a guaranteed performance increase and is perhaps one of the most cost-effective investments to make in your workstation.
|AMD remote workstation solutions have a small, silent unit in the office|
The recently launched W-Series of professional GPUs sport, of course, the new GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture. Many of the unique features have been spelled out in other reviews, but an oft overlooked feature mentioned at 3DExperience is the ability for the W-series architecture to execute both graphics and compute operations simultaneously.
While many of us haven't paid much attention to this type of limitation in the past, the 3DExperience platform could easily demand it as users will more often need GPU-computing and GPU rendering simultaneously. It's easy to imagine a 3D Experience needing real-time simulation – using OpenCL, for example - at the same moment as the graphics card is called on to task for visualizing the model – perhaps using OpenGL – in order to fully appreciate the 3D Experience. Previously, graphics solutions were blocked while doing one or the other. The W series can execute these tasks in parallel.
|The remote workstation 1U server sits in the data center|
Fujitsu delivers the Celsius C620 1U server-based workstation. In Brussels the system was running with the AMD FirePro W7000 with passive cooling. This solution sits in the data center, secure and available across the company network. In the office, there is only a thin client, displays, keyboard & mouse. The graphics is connected via a Teradici PCoIP (PC over IP) solution.
The immediate benefits : your data is secure, your system management is easier, your work place is quiet, and the performance is guaranteed from a powerful graphics workstation. The 1U workstation can be running any of the same applications you would run on a desk-side workstation
|This technology demo puts a FirePro-capable APU in a tablet|
It even supports Eyefinity multi-monitor configurations on the engineering desktop. The remote workstation configuration is quiet since the interface box on the desktop makes no noise. It is secure as the USB ports can be enabled or locked. And the management of workstation resources is simplified.
AMD presented a unique technology demonstration in the form of a tablet solution from Fujitsu running Windows 8 and using an AMD FirePro-capable APU. AMD's APUs are CPUs and GPUs on the same chip. In this case, the tablet is not only thin and light, but capable of running professional 3D software as well. At the 3DExperience, AMD demonstrated this technology running Dassault Systèmes 3DVIA software.
|Tom Lansford is an analyst at CADplace. He previously managed European workstation marketing at NVIDIA and speaks 4 languages. His professional interests include graphics solutions. More...|