If you read our Radeon 9800 SE to Radeon 9800 Pro Mod Guide, you should have known ATI's R350 and R360 cores are used in the Radeon 9800 series of graphics cards. In fact, ATI used the same cores in their FireGL X2 workstation graphics card as well!
Yes! The GPUs ATI used in their desktop graphics cards are the same GPUs they use in their FireGL series of workstation graphics cards! They only make some minor changes to the PCB of the FireGL cards. In some cases, it looks like they even use the same PCB used in the desktop cards!
ATI has been using this trick since the release of their Radeon 9500 series, which uses the R300 core. Even NVIDIA did the same thing with their GeForce series, which they turned into Quadro cards with some minor modifications on the PCB board. What this means is these workstation cards are essentially the same as their desktop counterparts.
Why did ATI and NVIDIA choose to do this? Well, as usual, it's all about the money. Designing a different GPU for workstation cards requires a lot of money. And since the market for such cards is relatively small, the cost will cut too deeply into their profits.
By using a desktop GPU in their workstation cards, the cost of workstation cards becomes virtually the same as that of desktop cards. This greatly increases their profit margin and makes workstation cards a very lucrative market. In addition, using desktop GPUs allow great flexibility when it comes to supplying a fickle market.
Now, why should anyone bother to purchase a "real" FireGL card with its premium price when it is exactly the same as the cheaper Radeon card?
Luckily, the similarity between the FireGL and Radeon cards also works to our advantage. This similarity actually allows us to mod a Radeon desktop card into a FireGL workstation-grade card!
The ATI FireGL cards are essentially identical to the Radeon cards, except their display output capabilities. Without making any actual modifications on the card, you can actually mod a Radeon into a FireGL card. The only disadvantage is the modded FireGL card will not have the additional display output capabilities found in some FireGL cards. Of course, this depends on the Radeon card you own.