AMD cuts FirePro prices and talks up quality

Interesting numbers you don’t often see

AMD FirePro LogoAMD just put out a general update for their FirePro lines to go along with a big price cut. Much of the briefing was a general overview of professional graphics but there were some interesting data points in their midst.

The big news today is that AMD is cutting prices on their FirePro workstation products in a big way. At the top end the W8100 is almost halved to $1249 with other prices down the stack less severely hacked up. That said the new models are a screamingly good deal now but not exactly the fastest out there in all categories. If you look at the chart AMD provided below, you can see what I mean.

AMD Firepro Price cut chart

Performance per dollar is handy at times

For performance per dollar AMD wins in most places, you can see that the price cuts were targeted to mainly get them to a 1.5x price/performance ratio. Where they don’t win, AMD has a ‘killer app’ feature like 4x monitors or more memory. Half the price of the competition give or take a bit is quite the compelling marketing pitch but the professional graphics world is all about quality and stability, they matter far more than sheer net performance. Do you want your CAT scan to come back 12% faster or correct? I know what I would choose.

AMD has a long-standing and once deserved reputation for really awful quality drivers. Several years ago they went on a bender to change that and it did indeed change. Purchased game developer shenanigans aside, the drivers are solid but for some the stigma remains. As you can see from the slide below, the units are reported driver problems per million units sold, they did do what they promised about the time SemiAccurate started telling you it was happening..

AMD FirePro driver defect chart

Reported driver problems per 1M units sold

Perceptions do not necessarily reflect reality and the net is a morass of loud idiots without a clue or data on both sides, then again what else is new? AMD still has to combat this and the first step is to get people to try their cards to see for themselves. The quality is there, the cost is there, the performance per dollar is there so getting over that initial hurdle is the key. For that AMD has an offer they call Experience AMD FirePro and it is a pretty impressive deal. Basically the first Firepro you buy is half off be it from AMD, a partner, or somewhere else. (Note: Shoplifting doesn’t count, sorry) Just go here for purchases in the US or replace the /us/ in the URL with in, sg, jp, uk, de, or fr for India, Singapore, Japan, the UK, Germany, or France. Fill out the forms and get a large chunk of cash back.

Professional GPU marketshare numbers

Hard marketshare numbers back up our soft ones

Last up is a final bit of hard data to back up what SemiAccurate has been saying for years, and it validates our numbers almost exactly. We have been saying that AMD has been picking up marketshare steadily since they fixed their driver woes and sure enough they have. One thing though, SemiAccurate is confident these numbers do not reflect this shift even though some disagree. We are quite confident that the numbers would be radically different if the above data point was not excluded by request of a 3rd party. Things look pretty solid for FirePro and things like this ensure it will only get better from here.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate