Asus Strix RX Vega64 Early Hands On Review
Published: 25th August 2017 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
It is probably safe to say that the Vega GPU didn't appear in quite the blaze of glory that we were all hoping for. Certainly it just about matches up to the GTX 1080 in performance, but the pricing issue has been complicated and the power draw was far beyond our worst fears. The reference card was also much warmer than we were hoping to see for a new product, although heat is a by-product of power draw so once we knew how thirsty it was the heat issue was to be expected.
Whilst pricing and power draw are elements that a partner card wouldn't be able to fix they can at least tame the temperatures and noise, something ASUS have managed to do with aplomb.
We've liked the DirectCU cooler since it first appeared many years ago and the gradual evolution of it has kept it at the forefront of high quality 3rd party coolers. If you just looked at the temperature graph then you could be forgiven for thinking than 5 or 6°C cooler isn't much to write home about, but it is the way that the cooler works which transforms the user experience. Rather than sounding like you're sitting next to a Dyson whilst gobs of heat pour out the back of your case, the ASUS Strix is silent below 60°C thanks to the zero speed fan technology, and even when things become demanding it still remains very quiet. There are few things worse than cards either whining away when you're just checking the internet, or deafening you when you're trying to game, and the Strix completely avoids both these issues with some excellent design.
This improved thermal performance leads to an improvement in the performance in games too. GPUz was determined to claim that the average GPU clock speed of the Strix was lower than that of the reference card but the graphs tell a totally different story. The stock AMD card had three different modes, Balanced, Turbo and overclocked. Whilst we could only run the Strix in Balanced mode it comfortably bested the AMD offering at Balanced and Turbo whilst occasionally getting close to the manual overclocked AMD Vega. If this isnt a great indicator of whats coming I dont know what is.
So it's cooler, significantly quieter, looks fantastic and performs better. More than enough reasons for you to choose the Strix if the latest Vega64 cards have got your wallet itching. However, the ASUS has all the additional features one would expect from a ROG product. We have AURA Sync lighting and a RGB LED strip header built into the card. Furthermore there are the system fan headers to help give your intake and exhaust fans a boost to help keep the card running at its optimal state of coolness.
The price and power draw of the Vega cards are something that ASUS can do nothing about, but in every other regard the RX Strix Vega64 is a serious improvement upon the reference AMD Vega card and thus wins our OC3D Gamers Choice for now and we can not wait to get hold of a full retail sample so that we can really see what it is capable of!