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AMD RX Vega 56 and 64 Radeon Review | Radeon RX Vega Graphic Card Review

AMD RX Vega 56 and 64 Radeon Review | Radeon RX Vega Graphic Card Reviews

by Reynaldo Gonzalez 8/14/17 11:23am

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But The Question is, Will AMD's Radeon RX Vega really Be AMDs Light and Savior? Lets Find Out and Jump right In.

Finally, Vega. Over more than Two years of waiting to reach for the moon in the fastest of graphics video cards is here. Let's be real, this is what we wanted a long time ago, right around the time that AMD was busy launching Polaris for the mainstream market. But Vega wasn't ready, not even close. AMD had to come to terms with 14nm FinFET, and Polaris was the chosen vessel for that. Still, Nvidia managed to launch a full suite of new GPUs using 14nm and 16nm FinFET over the course of around six months. Why did it take so much longer for AMD to get a high-end replacement for Fiji and the R9 Fury X out the door? I have my suspicions (HBM2, necessary architectural tweaks, lack of resources, and more), but the bottom line is that the RX Vega launch feels late to the party.
Or perhaps the Vega architecture is merely ahead of its time? AMD has talked about numerous architectural updates that have been made with Vega, including DSBR, HBCC, 40 new instructions, and more. You can read more about the architectural updates in our Vega deep dive and preview earlier this month. In the professional world, some of these could be massively useful—professional graphics can be a very different beast than gaming. But we're PC Gamer, so what we really care about is gaming performance—and maybe computational performance to a lesser degree.
Right Now, finally, we get to taste the Vega pudding. Will it be rich and creamy, with a full flavor that takes you back to your childhood… or will it be a lumpy, overcooked mess? That's what I aim to find out. And rather than beating around the bush, let's just dive right into the benchmarks. I'll have additional thoughts below on ways that Vega could improve over time, but this is what you get, here and now. Here are the specs for AMD's current generation of GPUs, including the Vega and the 500 series. I don't have the liquid cooled Vega 64 available for testing, but it should be up to eight percent faster than the air-cooled Vega 64, based on boost clocks.
 Specs Chart

Specs Chart

What about cryptocurrency mining?

Given the shortages on AMD's RX 570/580 cards, which are typically selling at prices 50 percent or more above the MSRP, many have feared—and miners have hoped—that the RX Vega would be another excellent mining option. I poked around a bit to see what sort of performance the Vega 56/64 delivered in Ethereum mining, and so far it's been pretty lackluster, considering the price and power use. The Vega 56 manages around 31MH/s for Ethereum, and the Vega 64 does 33MH/s. Overclocking the VRAM helps boost both cards closer to 40MH/s right now. So at launch, that's not super promising.
The problem is that most of the mining software has been finely tuned to run on AMD's Polaris architecture. Given time, we could see substantially higher hashrates out of Vega, and there are rumors that the right combination of VBIOS, drivers, and mining software can hit mining speeds more than double what I measured. Perhaps AMD is intentionally holding back drivers or other tweaks that would boost mining performance, and long-term AMD remains committed to gaming. All we can do is hold our breath and hope that mining doesn't drive prices of Vega into the stratosphere in the future.
 Inside Of AMDs RX Radeon Vega

Inside Of AMDs RX Radeon Vega

AMD Radeon Rx Vega is fast, But will it make us happy? As in fast enough?

Considering the significantly higher clockspeeds, I had hoped Vega would perform far better than what I'm seeing today. It's not a bad GPU by any means, but it's not going to dethrone Nvidia, at least not right now. Maybe in the future, as more DX12 games become common and developers start using larger data sets and primitive shaders, Vega 64 could come out ahead of the GTX 1080. I wouldn't bet on that happening before we're onto the next generation Navi and Volta architectures, however.
What Vega does have going for it are reasonable prices, and AMD users will certainly appreciate having something that's clearly faster than both the RX 580 and the R9 Fury X. But even AMD's own numbers show Vega 64 as only being a modest upgrade over the R9 Fury X. The real target would be gamers who are still running R9 290/290X (or older) hardware. And for Nvidia users, unless you're unhappy with Team Green, there's no compelling reason to switch over to AMD. Similar performance, same price, much higher power use. Watch Out.