AMD has RemoteFX capable GPUs that are fanless designs with heat sinks that make use of the air-flow in the server chassis to keep them cool.
The other interesting thing about the FirePro V7800P is that because it is a graphics card, it can support Microsoft's RemoteFX graphics virtualization technology, which debuted with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. RemoteFX is a virtualization technology for graphics and media that Microsoft got through its acquisition of Calista Technologies in January 2008. Among many things that the RemoteFX software does to smooth out graphics and audio processing for Remote Desktop Protocol, it also allows for a single video card to be virtualized to host multiple VDI-driven PCs.
Furman says that a server running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 can drive 16 VDI sessions off of one FirePro V7800P card, and a 1U or 2U server would easily be able to have two of these cards, or 32 VDI users per machine. In a super-dense tray server, you could pack a lot of VMs into a server.
And perhaps more interestingly, you could have a VDI farm during the day and a computational cluster that runs at night, doing risk analysis or some other HPC job.
AMD is really taking the price war to Nvidia with the FirePro V7800, too. And it has to if it hopes to compete.
The FirePro V7800P has twice the single-precision oomph, at 2 teraflops, as the Nvidia Tesla M2050 with 3GB of GDDR5 memory and the M2070 with 6GB of memory, which are both rated at 1.03 teraflops. Nvidia wins on the double-precision front with these cards, at 515 gigaflops compared to the FirePro V7800P's 400 gigaflops. The M2070 takes up two slots and both Nvidia GPU co-processors are rated at 225 watts compared to the 138 watts of the FirePro V7800P. The M2050 costs $2,699 and the M2070 costs $5,489, according to Furman, although technically Nvidia does not supply pricing for it.
Providing that these prices are correct (and they are in the ballpark of what you would expect a list price to be for the street prices that El Reg has seen for the cards), then the FirePro V7800P wins hands down on performance per watt, performance per dollars, and performance per dollar per watt.
AMD and partner Dell will be showing off the FirePro V7800P down at Microsoft's TechEd conference in Atlanta, Georgia, today, with Dell certifying that its full-height PowerEdge M610x blade server can pack two of these cards and support HPC, VDI, or visualization workloads, the latter including CAD, engineering, and digital content creation applications.
The FirePro V7800P GPU card for servers will start shipping on May 24