The Radeon RX Vega 64 is the enthusiast AMD card we’ve been waiting forever for
The wait for Vega is finally over. AMD today took the wraps off the Radeon RX Vega 64, one of its most highly-anticipated graphics cards in a long while.
Today’s games are increasingly complex, and feature ever larger environments and worlds crammed full of lush detail. AMD set out to design a card that would fulfil the needs of enthusiasts and also keep up with the growing demands of modern games, and it’s hoping that Vega is that card.
Vega 64 is the flagship of the line-up, and it features 8GB of HBM2 memory, or as AMD prefers to call it, High Bandwidth Cache (HBC).
The company also announced a second card, the Radeon RX Vega 56, which features 56 compute units (CUs) to its bigger brother’s 64. It will also offer 10.5 TFLOPS of FP32 performance and cost just US$399.
Here’s a table summarizing the specifications we know so far:
|AMD Radeon RX Vega 64||AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled Edition||AMD Radeon RX Vega 56|
|Next Gen Compute Units||64||64||56|
|Base / Boost clock||1,247MHz / 1,546MHz||1,406MHz / 1,677MHz||1,156MHz / 1,471MHz|
|High bandwidth cache (HBM2)||8GB||8GB||8GB|
|Peak single-precision performance||12.66 TFLOPS||13.7 TFLOPS||10.5 TFLOPS|
|Peak half-precision performance||25.3 TFLOPS||27.5 TFLOPS||21 TFLOPS|
The card will be available in three flavors – a regular air-cooled model with a black shroud, a liquid-cooled model with a silver shroud, and a limited edition version that boasts a solid metal construction.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 Limited Edition is one good-looking card, featuring a 240 grit brushed metal finish and an illuminated Radeon logo in one corner. It also relies on a 30mm blower fan and an isothermic vapor chamber for cooling, where air is dumped out the back of the card.
In terms of sub-US$500 cards, AMD pointed out that the Radeon RX 580 offers just 6.2 TFLOPS, while the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 puts forward 6.5 TFLOPS.
The Radeon RX Vega 64 costs US$499, the same as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The latter debuted at US$599, but NVIDIA dropped the price shortly after launching the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti at US$699.
What’s also interesting is AMD’s decision to make available what it refers to as Radeon Packs, or bundles of AMD hardware with discounts off individual components.
These packs are intended to ease gamers into the AMD ecosystem, and come with US$200 off a Samsung Radeon FreeSync-enabled monitor, US$100 off a select AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and motherboard combo, and free games worth US$120 (the games vary by region).
The air-cooled Radeon RX Vega – either the regular or limited edition model – will be available as part of the US$599 Radeon Black Pack, while the US$699 Radeon Aqua Pack will feature the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled.
The Radeon RX Vega 56 will be offered as part of a pack called the Radeon Red Pack as well, which will cost US$499.
However, you don't have to buy the whole pack if you don't need all the components, and you can pick what you need and still enjoy individual discounts with your Vega card.
AMD didn’t make any specific performance claims in terms of how fast the Vega cards will be vis-à-vis NVIDIA, but it did mention what it called “guaranteed experiences”.
This matters most in the context of select FreeSync displays. For instance, the Samsung CF791 has a 3,440 x 1,440-pixel display that operates between 48 to 100Hz.
Barring AMD’s Low Framerate Compensation (LFC) technology, it’s best that the game never falls below 48FPS, and AMD says the Radeon RX Vega 64 will stay between 53 and 76FPS for popular titles including Battlefield 1, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Gears of War, and Doom.
AMD appears confident about 4K performance as well, and it’s claiming around 60FPS in over a hundred games. We'll have to wait till we get our hands on a review unit to verify these claims, and we sure hope they are better than the performance the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition suggested.
The Radeon RX Vega cards are expected to be available on 14 August. AMD also mentioned that a Nano version of Vega 64 would be coming, so we can expect something for mini-ITX systems in the future.