FirePro W4300

Powerful graphics is hidden inside the half-height packaging of the Firepro W4300. Find out how it passes the performance bar in our Professional Workstation tests. 

 

Yes, there are many cliches about small things, good things, ... and in this case, there is a lot of good news for professional workstation users: small graphics cards fit into small form-factor workstations, and deliver big-bang performance. 

The FirePro W4300 drives 3D modeling and CAD applications to their performance limits. Almost perfectly balanced for these applications, a lesser graphics card doesn't reach this level of performance, and a more powerful, more expensive graphics card doesn't improve on it. 

FirePro W4300 in the HP Z240 SFF
This half-height GPU is a perfect match for SFF workstations like the HP Z240 (image : Author)

That's not a surprise. The AMD FirePro W4300 was announced at the 2015 Autodesk University. And this set of customers perfectly represents the W4300's target user. The board sports a half-height design which makes it a perfect candidate for a small form-factor workstation like the HP Z240 SFF in which we tested the GPU. Despite the small size, it supports four 4K resolution displays thanks to four miniDisplayPort graphics outputs.

The FirePro W4300 is based on AMD's Bonaire graphics chip with over 2 billion transistors, and it uses the company's GCN 1.1 architecture.  The four GB of GDDR5 graphics memory is accessed via a 128 bit interface which delivers a 96 GB/s memory transfer bandwidth. 

And this squirt of a graphics card delivers some major performance. We max-out its graphics speed with Viewperf 12 benchmark testing. Here are the results. 

 

Viewperf 12.0

 
Viewset Composite
36.80
38.87
1.47
30.15
9.46
19.48
42.15
53.31

 

Those numbers are excellent raw graphics performance numbers.  The FirePro W4300's Viewperf 12 benchmark results are usually just ahead of and, once in a while, just a bit behind, the board's main rival, the NVIDIA Quadro K1200 

On application performance, the FirePro W4300 delivered an interactive frame-rate of over 120 frames per second (FPS) in 3DS MAX with our 95,000 polygon Ferrari model.  It also clocked in with a very respectable 12 FPS while running 3DS MAX with the 50 Ferrari PW test file. And in all cases, PW could increase the anti-aliasing image quality to the highest levels and maintain the same levels of interactive graphics performance. The FirePro W4300 sub-$300 graphics application performance matched that of the over $800 Quadro M4000 which tells you immediately which level of graphics makes sense for an interactive, 3DS MAX, 3D modeling workstation or an Autodesk Inventor CAD workstation. The FirePro W4300 is a perfect fit.

The board also performs well with higher-end visualization applications. PW ran our Autodesk Showcase tests and the FirePro delivered excellent graphics performance with our single Ferrari model in Showcase: an interactive frame-rate of 60 FPS and a very respectable 27 FPS in Showcase while running the 50 Ferrari model with nearly 5 million polygons. 

The FirePro W4300 supports GPU-accelerated video rendering. It uses OpenCL in Adobe Premier Pro CC's Mercury Playback Engine. This provides perfectly smooth playback in Premier Pro CC while editing video. Importantly, it delivers faster-than-realtime video encoding for our video rendering tests. The FirePro W4300 can process and render 2 combined, overlaid video streams faster than realtime. One minute of video is rendered in less than 40 seconds. 

4 miniDisplayPort outputs on the FirePro W4300 (image : Author)

Four is a lucky number for the FirePro W4300. It has 4 GB of graphics memory, 4 miniDisplayPort outputs, each of which can drive a 4K resolution display. That delivers a lot of productivity potential along side this GPU's graphics performance numbers. 

 

The PW Perspective

AMD has a tiny graphics power-house in this FirePro W4300. The performance is essentially a perfect match to its Autodesk-University-styled user of interactive 3D CAD and modeling. The half-height design makes it one of the most powerful GPUs that fits into the HP Z240 SFF and similar workstations. The FirePro W4300 is good match for this workstation segment since the small form-factor workstations are compact, efficient workstations for interactive 3D CAD. And in spite of its small size, the graphics board can drive big screen real estate via the four miniDisplayPort outputs.  

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