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AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Review Leaks Out – Liquid and Air Cooled Models Tested, Tries To Compete Against GTX 1080 FE With Over 300W Power Consumption

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Aug 14, 2017
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The first AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 review has just leaked out over at Hwbattle. The review covers both Radeon RX Vega 64 black (air cooled) and Radeon RX Vega liquid cooled models. Power and performance numbers are very detailed in the review so let’s take a look at them.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Review Shows Up – Reference Air and Liquid Cooled Models Tested

As we know, AMD will officially be launching the Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics card today. The card will be available in three different variants which will include the reference (air), limited (air) and a limited (liquid) model. All three graphics cards will ship with prices of $499, $599 and $699 US, respectively. The reviews that will be arriving today will also cover performance data of the Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card but the card won’t be available until two weeks from now on 28th August.

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AMD Radeon RX Vega Lineup Specifications – 12.5 Billion Transistors on a 14nm  484mm2 Die, 4096 Cores, 256 TMUs, Max Speed of 1700 MHz and 8 GB of HBM2 VRAM

The graphics chip will be utilizing the latest 14nm GFX9 core architecture which is based on the NCU (Next Compute Engine) design and measures approximately 484mm2. The Vega 10 graphics core deploys 12.5 billion transistors. The graphics chip will feature 64 Compute Units or 4096 stream processors and 256 TMUs. AMD plans on increasing the throughput of the chip through increased clock speeds. This will allow AMD to pump numbers better than the Fiji GPU which is based on the 28nm GCN 3.0 architecture and comes with the same number of cores, 4096 SPs.

There’s also 8 GB of HBM2 VRAM which comes in two stacks (4 GB per stack). The graphics card has a total rated bandwidth of 484 GB/s which is lower than the 512 GB/s on Fiji. It also features a pixel fill rate of 90 GPixels/s. Additionally, the cards will feature 4 MB of L2 cache and 45 MB of SRAM across the GPU. AMD will be launching all three variants of the Radeon RX Vega 64 and also the Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics cards at Capsaicin Siggraph so make sure to stay tuned for more info.

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AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Limited Edition – Reference Model Starts at $499 US and Limited Edition at $599 US, 295W TDP

The Radeon RX Vega 64 Limited Edition is very similar to the Radeon RX Vega 64 reference edition in terms of PCB design and clock speeds. While the reference model features a simplistic shroud design with rubberized mesh on the front and plastic finish, the limited edition sports a much more elegant cooler design that makes use of premium materials that look great.

There’s the Vega logo on the top and a Radeon “R” square in the corner which emits LED light, similar to the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition. This model will cost slightly more than the reference edition and since it’s a limited edition, it won’t be available for the entire lifespan of the Vega lineup.

Inside the card, we can see that the card uses a full length PCB and houses the Vega 10 GPU on its interposer along with the HBM2 VRAM. There are two stacks of HBM2 memory that are 4-Hi each and incorporate up to 8 GB of HBM2 VRAM. The card has power phases running around the GPU. The card uses a plastic base plate to provide extra support to the PCB and heat dissipation. There is a single blower fan that pushes air towards a large isothermic vapor chamber and out of the assembly and through the exhaust vents on the I/O which also feature a HDMI and triple DisplayPort connectors.

In terms of clock speeds, both reference and limited edition (air cooled) models will be shipping with out-of-box frequencies of 1247 MHz (base clock) and 1546 MHz (boost clock). The TDPs has been configured at 295W for the air cooled models and power will be provided through dual 8 pin connectors.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition – Faster Clocked Vega Starting at $699 US, 350W TDP

The third model is the Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Edition which as the name suggest will feature liquid cooling. The Radeon RX Vega 64 liquid cooled model looks very similar to the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Liquid which has already been launched and will come with higher / stable clock speeds compared to the air cooled variants and better cooling potential.

Both cards look premium and nicely designed with the whole brushed silver texturing. The Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics cards are powered by dual 8 pin power connectors and will require beefy power supply units to keep them fed under heavy gaming loads. The TDP for the Liquid cooled models will be configured at 350W.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 Graphics Card Lineup:

Graphics CardAMD Radeon R9 Fury XAMD Radeon RX Vega NanoAMD Radeon RX Vega 56 ReferenceAMD Radeon RX Vega 64 ReferenceAMD Radeon RX Vega 64 LimitedAMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid
GPUFiji XTVega 10Vega 10Vega 10Vega 10Vega 10
Process Node28nm14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET14nm FinFET
Compute Units64TBD56646464
Stream Processors4096TBD3584409640964096
Raster Operators646464646464
Texture Mapping Units256TBD224256256256
Clock Speed (Base)1000 MHzTBD1156 MHz1247 MHz1247 MHz1406 MHz
Clock Speed (Max)1050 MHzTBD1471 MHz1546 MHz1546 MHz1677 MHz
FP32 Compute8.6 TFLOPsTBD10.5 TFLOPs12.6 TFLOPs12.6 TFLOPs13.7 TFLOPs
FP16 Compute8.6 TFLOPsTBD21.0 TFLOPs25.2 TFLOPs25.2 TFLOPs27.4 TFLOPs
Memory (VRAM)4 GB HBM18 GB HBM28 GB HBM28 GB HBM28 GB HBM28 GB HBM2
Memory Bus4096 bit2048 bit2048 bit2048 bit2048 bit2048 bit
Bandwidth512 GB/sTBD410 GB/s484 GB/s484 GB/s484 GB/s
TDP275W150W210W295W295W350W
Price$649TBD$399
($499 US Actual)
$499
($599 US Actual)
$599$699
Launch201520172017201720172017

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Air) – Image Credits – HWBattle:

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Liquid) – Image Credits – HWBattle:

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Benchmarks – Requires More Than 300W Power To Clock Optimally and Rival a Stock GeForce GTX 1080

We will first be taking a look at the power consumption numbers which show a really bad picture for the new flagship GPU from AMD. It looks like the power consumption remains on par with what we saw on the Frontier Edition cards. The Radeon Wattman utility will have four modes for Radeon RX Vega graphics cards, these include:

  • Power Saving (-25% Power Limit)
  • Balanced (0% Power Limit)
  • Turbo (+15% Vega 64 / +25% Vega 56 Power Limit)
  • Uber Mode (+50% Power Limit)

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Power Consumption:

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Air Power Consumption Results:

It looks like the power saving mode, while delivering the lowest power consumption reduces the clock speeds on both cards by a big factor, hence affecting graphics performance. The RX Vega 64 air cooled model sips in 327W in default (balanced mode) and maintains an average clock around 1450-1500 MHz while turbo and OC mode deliver the highest clock frequencies around 1550 MHz while consuming over 350W power. The power saving mode reduces clocks below 1200-1400 MHz while sipping 245W power.

AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Power Consumption Results:

The liquid cooled variant delivers slightly better clocks but it requires even more power to remain optimal. In balanced mode, the card requires 380W in gaming while producing an average 1650 MHz clock speeds. To hit the 1700 MHz frequency, the card needs additional power limit and that would push the power wall north of 460W. The power saving mode requires 288W but produces a clock rate that is less than 1600 MHz and averages around 1450-1500 MHz. The Liquid model can consumer over 500W of power with +50% power limit which is shockingly high!

Moving on to the benchmarks, the card was tested in several titles at multiple resolutions which include 4K (2160p), 2K (1440p) and HD (1080p). In 3DMark Firestrike Ultra, the card produced better results than a GTX 1080 Founders Edition while in the performance preset, only the Liquid model bested the GeForce counterpart. In 3DMark Timespy, we once again see the Liquid cooled model delivering slightly better performance for a much higher cost and power consumption than the GTX 1080 FE. The reference model was slightly slower than the rival.

In gaming, the only title where the Radeon RX Vega 64 was able to give a conclusive beating to the GTX 1080 FE was Battlefield 1 while Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Civilization VI, Metro Last Light Redux, Rise of The Tomb Raider and Titanfall 2 showed GTX 1080 as the best solution for gaming at a price that was $200 US cheaper than the liquid cooled model.

Do note that I am comparing the liquid cooling model with the GTX 1080 FE as only it manages to stay on par with the GeForce rival and maintains a more consistent clock rate while consuming over 350-400W of power. There are more reviews coming out in a bit so stay tuned as we deliver you a roundup.

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