AMD RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 Review


AMD RX Vega64 and Vega52 Review


Given the slightly underhanded way in which AMD launched the Vega at one price point so that the launch reviews were written under the misapprehension that the card was £449 when it's actually £549, we won't do our usual thing of not really taking the pricing into account too much. Too much being the operative word when it comes to 64 prices.

Performance is, as we saw throughout our testing, incredibly consistent. The Vega56 was somewhere above the GTX 1070 in performance terms, and if you are willing to manually overclock it - aka move the power slider up and can keep it cool - then you can attain a similar level of performance to the Vega64. The Vega64 on the other hand generally put itself around the GTX 1080 in performance terms, and saw the biggest increase with a bit of manual overclocking. Not game changing improvements, but enough that we recommend you take the time to squeeze a little more out of your card. There is no doubt that at the very least the Vega absolutely annihilates the previous AMD flagship Fury X card. Oodles more performance. Epic.

Heat and power draw have long been the AMD Achilles heel and the Vega cards are, to some degree, no exception. Certainly the power draw is insanely high. Whatever changes AMD have made to the architecture they haven't improved the efficiency as all but the stock Vega56 draw more power than the already thirsty Fury X. You definitely need to factor your power bill into the cost of owning a Vega. Thermals are harder to judge as this style of cooler has always been terrible at dispersing heat, and nearly everybody will plump for a 3rd party card. This isn't a quiet card on auto-fans, even though the temperatures are a bit north of 80°C. However, at the cost of our long-term hearing we also tried it on 100% fan speed and the peak temperature plummeted to 64°C. Another demonstration of why you really should only consider the liquid-cooled versions of the Vega, because nobody wants to sit next to a hair dryer when gaming, either in heat or noise terms.

Just because circumstances dictated that we fortunately side-stepped this launch-pricing/rebate issue doesn't mean that we aren't annoyed at it. A £500 graphics card with GTX 1080 performance would be great, because the GTX 1080 currently costs around £500 too. But the Vega64 isn't £500, it's £600. And that's the air-cooled one, if you want a liquid-cooled one - and trust us you definitely want the liquid-cooled one - then it's £700. But the performance remains around the GTX 1080, which still costs £500 but will only get cheaper as all hardware does the further you get from the launch date. Heck even if you pushed the boat out and went for the Gigabyte Waterforce GTX 1080 it's currently £650, which is still £50 cheaper than the Vega64 and yet draws 250W less at the wall, making the running costs cheaper still.

That makes the Vega64 a much harder proposition to recommend. It feels like a card from a generation ago. It's toasty, it's extremely power hungry and the performance is good but unspectacular given the pricing. Even if the launch "with a very very limited number rebate" pricing was in place you're talking about a card that's hotter, thirstier and louder than a GTX 1080 card for the same money and performance. At a bigger price those flaws only become more difficult to ignore.

A quote we got from an industry insider last week pretty much says everything "Vega? Its just another AMD GPU. Its too hot, uses too much power and isnt as quick as any of us wanted"

All that being said, we know that some of you are allergic to the idea of owning an nVidia card and if you count yourself amongst those then there is clearly enough polygon shifting power from the Vega - especially in 64 guise - that you'll be satisfied with the performance and thus it wins our OC3D Gamers Choice. For anyone else who just wants the best blend of price and performance ...

AMD RX Vega64 and Vega56 Review  

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Most Recent Comments

22-08-2017, 14:39:35

Great vid, Really miffed at AMD about this, I wanted a full AMD rig i.e CPU+GPU but the lack of power and over the top power draw have killed all fancy of getting a Vega 64 card

Ryzen was a pure win, Fantastic product, Vega is...well...a big fat fail.

As a side note I did a test on the rig I'm currently using, 1800X overclocked to 4GHz, 16GB 3200MHz, 1080 Ti Strix overclocked to 2050/6000, All fans at full and the max I saw was 450 watts, Briefly, Very disappointing to see such terrible power draw from AMD.Quote

22-08-2017, 14:45:22

It really paid off reviewing this a little later, im glad you said what needed to be said about the crappy pricing making it noncompetitive.Quote

22-08-2017, 15:03:06

AMD just struck gold for nVidia. All those people that have been waiting for Vega will now go and buy nVidia cards.

Just complete and utter fail from AMD. If the mining hasn't gone up just before the launch of Vega I really think that AMD graphic division would go bankrupt.

I don't think they can continue like this for much longer. This is their 4th generation of cards that is demolished buy the green team, and the Volta is coming. nVidia will now just refine manufacturing process and continue to rule. In the past AMD offered good budget option, but now they are more expensive, they use 2x more power, they heat up like furnaces, and they offer roughly the same performance. Who in the right mind would buy Vega (apart from the pathological fanboys)?Quote

22-08-2017, 16:02:15

I'm glad I bought a GTX 1080 when I did Quote

22-08-2017, 16:10:28

It just puts AMD behind a bit again, that's all.

It's better than where they were I guess. They do now have an upper tear set of cards. But who will pick these up with the increased power draw and heat? Especially with inflated pricing. It just doesn't line up well on the shelf.

I waited, and waited, and waited, then I bought a 1080.

Hopefully the AIBs can do a bit of fun stuff to the boards and come out with some wins.

No pressure on Nvidia to release the Volta consumer adaptations if AMD's best can't get up to the level of last year's cards. Pascal may be it for the next 6-12 months. That's OK I guess. Maxwell/Pascal is a nice and stable platform for nvidia and AMD can use the time to polish their drivers and software.Quote

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