About a month or so ago I got the opportunity to test one of the AMD 6000 series Radeon cards. To be honest, the one I tested (W6400) is the type of card that most of us would swap out for much meatier video hardware that usually costs more than the computer it goes in. After a little research, it appears the card is targeted to CAD and light 3D usage.
I’m not exactly in the target group for this card but I knew just the computer I was going to test it in. The HP Omen i7 which currently held the second installation of all my 3D, photo, and video editing software. It’s not my main computer but it held all the tools I use and currently has an RTX Titan in it. A formidable combination that even at four years old was still very capable in terms of creative software demands.
This is not a comparison as the two cards are targeted to different users with different budgets. While the Titan ($2499 at release) is a powerhouse requiring extra power inputs the W6400 sits at the other end of the spectrum with an average price of around $279 (US) with no plug-in power requirement. To me, that would be a workhorse card that goes into a large deployment with many units up to the enterprise level. Not all companies can spend $2500 per unit just for the video card when they are deploying hundreds of systems.
Radeon Pro Software with Performance Monitor and Performance Tweaks
It could also be a good video card for budget-conscious users as not all of us have thousands of dollars lying around for video cards that cost a lot more than the computer it goes into. Some of us are old enough to remember when a premium video card was a small percentage of a computer’s cost. It looks like the prices are falling a bit on the top end but nowhere near the lower price of the W6400.
It has its place, but can it handle the creative side of 3D as most of us know it? The only way to find out was to replace the Titan with the Radeon W6400 and see how far I could make it with real-world applications.
Turns out to be pretty far. Some of the software like Word or Photoshop run on just about anything but the heavier 3D apps and editors ran just fine. The only problem I could tell was that real-time playback in iClone 7 wasn’t smooth at times but again, this card isn’t targeted to real-time animators with only 4 gigs of video memory.
There were times I forgot I was using the W6400 instead of the Titan. Programs like Marvelous Designer, After Effects, and Vegas worked with it just as well as it did with the Titan and there was no visible loss of screen quality.
Here is a rundown of the software I used during the testing with the W6400:
The Radeon Pro software is a nice touch too. When I first tried to open Blender, I got a message I had never seen before concerning the need for OpenGL to start the program. Surprised, I checked the driver and found it was on the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter, so I located, downloaded, and installed the Radeon Pro software. It was smooth sailing after that. The software holds a lot of settings to tweaks too.
While the W6400 is not in the same league as the RTX Titan it replaced it certainly fulfilled its obligations to run creative software to the point of being productive. I don’t know what I was expecting but I wasn’t expecting it to run all the software I used as well as it did. I can see a place in my studio for a card like this as a backup or on other systems to do the work while animating and rendering in a system with something like the Titan RTX.
One of the great things about tech writing is discovering the little jewels that you normally wouldn’t think about using like the Radeon W6400 which is a nice budget-friendly piece of hardware that gets the job done.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.