by Rob Williams on February 3, 2017 in Graphics & Displays
While AMD is keeping busy with the imminent launch of Vega GPUs and Ryzen CPUs, it’s catering to professional users with its brand-new Radeon Pro WX series GPUs. For our first in-depth look, we’re taking the sub-$500 WX 5100 and WX 4100 models for a spin in the workstation market.
Autodesk 3ds Max 2017
Not all 3ds Max projects are going to utilize the GPU by default, but if they’re designed from the get-go with NVIDIA’s Iray or AMD’s brand-new ProRender in mind, the performance and shadow/lighting quality gains can be immense.
At this point in time, NVIDIA’s Iray plugin does not work with competitor GPUs, although AMD’s ProRender can. However, I ran into a couple of roadblocks while testing Quadro on ProRender that ruled out comparisons at this point in time, and I’m not sure whether the exact project was to blame, or something else.
Other testing led me to believe that ProRender is a fair OpenCL benchmark for testing different architectures, although due to the roadblock I encountered, I couldn’t include such results in this particular review. If ProRender does end up proving to run without issue on both vendors’ GPUs, it could become a regular part of our WS GPU testing.
That said, while the WX 7100 wasn’t the focus of this review, I did haul it out in order to get some ProRender results, so that our performance chart is a little more useful. The WX 7100 will get its own review later.
Both projects used for testing come straight from AMD, with one being a render of a Nissan GT-R, and another of a villa. These scenes are rendered at 1080p, capped at 100 iterations (these iterations scale differently from Iray and are not comparable). An example of the Nissan project can be seen below (captured in 3ds Max 2016; but our testing was ultimately conducted with 2017).
It’s no surprise, but the WX 7100 has dominated here, performing a lot better than the WX 5100, and leading us to believe that there could be a gap for AMD to fill later – perhaps with a WX 6100. The WX 5100 is considerably faster than the WX 4100, as well, performing better than its 20% price premium over the 4100 would suggest. As I mentioned earlier, the WX 5100 could become the “sweet spot” GPU, although it’s hard to ignore the major gains a WX 7100 can provide. At least both GPUs do include an 8GB framebuffer – the WX 4100’s 4GB could prove limiting in such rendering scenarios.
Synthetic: Cinebench & LuxMark
To compare our collection of WS GPUs across other renderers, we rely on Cinebench, and LuxMark. The latter is of particular interest as it renders using OpenCL. It also happens to be so good at what it does that we opt to use it for the sake of generating peak temperature and power information.
Before we can even finish our first results page, we have some incredibly interesting numbers to discuss. In Cinebench, the M2000 proved just as fast as the WX 5100, and a fair bit better than the WX 4100. The tables turn in LuxMark, however.
Overall, NVIDIA’s Maxwell-based Quadro M2000 is in the same league as the WX 5100, but in the ray trace-focused LuxMark, the two are nowhere close to each other in performance. Even the lowbie WX 4100 decimated the M2000. It’ll be quite interesting to see the results when NVIDIA decides to release its lower-end Pascal cards.