AMD launches Radeon Pro W5500 workstation GPU

Published 10 February 2020

Posted by greg corke

Article tagged with: solidworks, amd, rendering, nvidia, gpu, quadro, workstation, vr

AMD is pitching its new Radeon Pro W5500 (8GB GDDR6) workstation graphics card as ‘the new design and engineering GPU of choice’.

Launched today at 3DEXPERIENCE World (the new name for Solidworks World), the W5500 is primarily designed for 3D CAD but it can also be used for entry-level VR and GPU rendering in applications including Solidworks eDrawings and Solidworks Visualize 2020.

AMD has given the W5500 an aggressive price tag of $399, significantly lower than other professional ‘VR Ready’ GPUs. The GPU goes head to head with Nvidia’s Quadro P2200 (5GB GDDR5 memory), which is priced similarly, but is not VR Ready.

In terms of specs, the Radeon Pro W5500 features four DisplayPort 1.4 outputs to drive up to four 4K displays, delivers up to 5.25 TFLOPs of FP32 performance and supports PCI Express 4.0, which has twice the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0.

Based on AMD’s 7nm ‘Navi’ RDNA architecture the W5500 offers up to 1.5x more performance per watt than the chip maker’s previous 14nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) Radeon Pro GPUs. The maximum power consumption is 125W and the board requires an external 6-pin connector.

Other features include Wireless VR support with the HTC Vive Focus Plus and support for AMD Remote Workstation. AMD says this allows you to access your physical workstation from ‘virtually anywhere with rich graphics experiences’ using Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops or Microsoft Remote Desktop.

AMD’s internal benchmarks compare the Radeon Pro W5500 to the Quadro P2200 and show it to be 50% faster in Enscape, 19% faster in Unity and 4% faster in Twinmotion. AMD also claims the W5500 is better at multi-tasking (i.e. working in 3D while rendering in the background) and points out that it has 40% more memory and faster memory bandwidth.

Of course, it should be noted that the Quadro P2200 launched in Spring 2019 as an incremental update to 2017’s Quadro P2000. Both GPUs are based on Pascal, and not the current Turing architecture which powers Nvidia’s higher-end Quadro RTX GPUs.

AMD has also launched a mobile variant, the Radeon Pro W5500M, which is not as powerful as the desktop variant. It features less memory (4GB GDDR6), up to 4.79 TFLOPs of FP32 performance and has a max power consumption of 85W.

The Radeon Pro W5500M is expected to be available in professional mobile workstations from Spring 2020. Dell has also planned availability for the Radeon Pro W5500 in the first half of 2020.

Look out soon for a full review of the Radeon Pro W5500.

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