PowerColor RX VEGA 56 8GB NANO Edition Review

Conclusion

PowerColor RX VEGA 56 8GB HBM2-NANO Edition Review

Conclusion

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.

PowerColor RX VEGA 56 8GB HBM2-NANO Edition Review 

Discuss the PowerColor RX Vega 56 Nano in our OC3D Forums. 

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Most Recent Comments

20-06-2018, 08:44:17

AngryGoldfish
What an odd GPU. I mean, the design of the NANO Edition is very good, but the BIOS seems a bit odd. Then again, Vega is just an odd architecture so I'm not really sure if PowerColor were just trying to pick the better of two evils. Users can still use Radeon Chill (which is excellent) or MSI Afterburner to hit the numbers they prefer. I wouldn't buy one of these necessarily over a 1070 or 1070Ti for a compact system, but it does seem like a cleverly-designed iteration.Quote

20-06-2018, 19:45:12

NeverBackDown
Would be interesting to see how it does under water. ITX cases with small GPUs just makes it 10000x easier to build a loop in. If it's anything like that last nano it's just a few % slower yet at half the power draw.Quote

20-06-2018, 19:51:39

AngryGoldfish
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
Would be interesting to see how it does under water. ITX cases with small GPUs just makes it 10000x easier to build a loop in. If it's anything like that last nano it's just a few % slower yet at half the power draw.
Power consumption with undervolting (but still no OC) in Tom's testing show it's higher than at least one overclocked 1080Ti.

Even if you knew that or weren't referring to it, I still love saying it. It reminds me not to trust even guys as down to earth as Raja who make bold claims about their gear.Quote

20-06-2018, 20:30:07

NeverBackDown
I'm referring to the previous Fiji and fiji nano cards. I want to know if this is the same situation when overclocked. Within few performance difference yet half the power draw when under water(under water that way we don't get thermal throttled)Quote

21-06-2018, 05:18:07

Kei
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryGoldfish View Post
Power consumption with undervolting (but still no OC) in Tom's testing show it's higher than at least one overclocked 1080Ti.

Even if you knew that or weren't referring to it, I still love saying it. It reminds me not to trust even guys as down to earth as Raja who make bold claims about their gear.
Just how much juice are they suggesting it uses? My 56 happily runs ~1670MHz at 1.075V which at full chat seems to use about 240W even with +100% power limit enabled. I can get it to run 1630MHz on 1.025V which ought to put it close to 210W. At these speeds, it matches a GTX 1080. Clocked to the limit around 1730MHz at the full 1.2V with +150% power limit, it’s well past 300W. The boost in performance isn’t worth the giant leap in power consumption.Quote
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