Radeon RX Vega: Six Things You Should Know About AMD’s GPU
AMD Radeon RX Vega SKUs
AMD invited us to a press event in Los Angeles, California and revealed detailed information and specs on its Ryzen Threadripper CPUs and highly-anticipated RX Vega graphics cards. We’re going to boil down what we learned and what you need to know.
The first thing to know is that AMD is rolling out multiple RX Vega graphics cards that will use the company’s new Vega architecture, which supplants Polaris. The top tier SKU is called Radeon RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled. As you can imagine, it’s a liquid-cooled GPU. The next SKU is the Radeon RX Vega 64 Limited Edition, which is an air-cooled variant that comes in a limited edition metal shroud. Beyond that there is the RX Vega 64, which uses a standard reference chassis and cooling solution. The most affordable option is the RX Vega 56. We’ll explain what the 64 and 56 numbers represent in the next slide on specs.
Update: AMD also teased a smaller Nano version of its RX Vega at its Capsaicin event, but we have no details on that smaller graphics card.
AMD RX Vega Specs
AMD released the following specs on all three RX Vega cards:
RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled
RX Vega 64
RX Vega 56
RX Vega 64 is named as such because it has 64 compute units. As you can imagine, RX Vega 56 offers 56 compute units. The higher-clocked liquid-cooled version is a 13.7 teraflop graphics card. The air-cooled version is a 12.66 teraflop GPU, and the Vega 56 is a 10.5 teraflop solution.
AMD mostly focused on the specs of its air-cooled RX Vega 64 SKU. We learned that it’s a card with 12.5 billion transistors, has 256 texture units, and uses 8GB of second-generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM2). This makes it capable of delivering 484GB/s of memory bandwidth with a 2048-bit memory bus width. The card also has 4MB of L2 cache. AMD asserts that the card’s extremely fast memory and high-bandwidth cache controller will allow developers to create larger game worlds. The company also touts that the GPU features a more complete DirectX 12 integration.
RX Vega 64 features 12.5 billion 14nm transistors and uses 45MB of SRAM across the GPU. While the air-cooled RX Vega 64 features a 1546MHz boost clock, AMD says that the card is designed to run at higher frequencies, and should be able to reach 1.7GHz or higher.
Here are the thermal design power (TDP) ratings of the three cards:
RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled: 350 watts
RX Vega 64 Air Cooled: 290 watts
RX Vega 56: 210 watts
As you can see from the TDP numbers above, these are very power-hungry cards.
RX Vega Performance
In terms of performance, AMD asserts that RX Vega 64 is competitive with Nvidia’s $549 GeForce GTX 1080.
The company conducted several gaming benchmarks on the GTX 1080, and across all tests its frame rate fluctuated between 45 FPS and 78 FPS. The air-cooled RX Vega 64, running the same tests, showed a minimum FPS of 53 and a maximum FPS of 76. While the maximum FPS is two frames lower, the minimum frame rate is eight frames higher.
AMD also asserts that RX Vega 64 will be able to run over 100 modern games at 4K 60FPS or better.
In addition, the company says that the Radeon RX Vega 56 will be competitive with the GTX 1070.
We had a chance to take a look at the Limited Edition RX Vega 64. It features an illuminated logo, isothermic vapor chamber, 30mm fan, and a metal chassis with a brushed finish. The card requires two 8-pin power connectors and features four ports: three DisplayPort and one HDMI.
The Liquid Cooled variant sports a similar body, but has a 120mm radiator and fan attached to it.
The standard air-cooled version of AMD’s RX Vega 64 will launch at $499. This is $50 less than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080.
AMD will release its Vega 56 SKU for $399, which makes it the same price as Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070.
AMD has also announced several bundles, which include two free games (Prey 2 and Wolfenstein II), a $100 discount on a Ryzen 7 CPU, and a $200 discount on a Samsung ultra-wide monitor. The bundle packs are outlined below:
Radeon AquaPack with RX Vega 64 Liquid Cooled for $699
Radeon Black Pack with RX Vega 64 Air Cooled for $599
Radeon Red Pack with RX Vega 56 for $499.
The only way to get the liquid-cooled card is to pay for the $699 pack, which includes the two aforementioned games and discounts.
Update: You can expect the AMD Radeon RX Vega to release on August 14.