PowerColor RX VEGA 56 8GB NANO Edition Review
Published: 20th June 2018 | Source: PowerColor | Price: |
If you're one of the impatient types who skips all of our carefully written content and gets straight to the business end, the "what award" brigade, then you're probably scratching your head seeing our Innovation Award being given to a card which looks for all the world like a reference model that has gone on a diet. To a certain degree your confusion is justified, so let us explain our thinking.
The mining audience has utterly dominated the sales of the Radeon RX Vega GPU cards. No matter where you turn it is impossible to be unaware of some insane systems set up to mine the most amount of whichever pseudo-currency is the best at that particular moment, and those systems require a large amount of the Vega GPUs to handle their compute tasks. Thus the Vega cards are nearly literally flying off the shelves. No sooner does a new shipment arrive than they are sold. Thousands of cards on a weekly basis. All good if you happen to be the owner of the AMD factory, or a partner manufacturing operation, but how does that affect this particular review of this particular model?
The review business is a symbiotic one. By lending us a product for review companies put a lot of faith into their design teams ability to produce a product which is capable of shining amongst some stiff competition, whilst also putting faith into our ability to test it fairly and give you the low down on the plus and minuses of each item so you can make an informed purchasing decision. When a piece of hardware does particularly well and gets one of our higher awards then the manufacturer can use our reputation as free advertising, whilst we can use their linkage to get traffic which helps pay the bills and thus carry on bringing you high quality content.
With so few manufacturers needing to advertise the Radeon RX Vega GPU because the mining community means they have no issue at all producing sales but actually struggle to produce enough to sate demand, we have to doff our cap to PowerColor for not only doing something other than designing the simplest possible card to get it out the door, but opening it up to our testing. After all, whilst it is difficult to be unaware of coin mining it isn't impossible, particularly if you look upon it with disdain and so ignore anything that references it. Those people might feel that the Vega architecture has been abandoned such is the paucity of reviews. The PowerColor Nano solves all those issues in one fell swoop.
It might look fairly simplistic but we got some seriously impressive results from undervolting the card, and indeed managed to obtain a higher level of overclocking performance by undervolting it a little bit first - 100mv - thus cooling the GPU and allowing for higher clock speeds. Okay the card doesn't quite hit some of the heights of the ASUS Strix, but that has a much more serious cooling solution and focus whilst being on a full-size PCB. This is a tiny card, easily capable of fitting in your palm, and yet still can chuck out beefy frame rates in the latest titles at the always popular 1080P resolution. It's quiet enough, fast enough, affordable enough, and perfect if you have a compact system demanding something other than a card which could double as an emergency landing strip.
For that PowerColor should be applauded, and that is why the RX Vega 56 Nano wins our OC3D Innovation award.